Each year, International Women’s Day takes place on March 8 and celebrates “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” This year’s theme is “accelerating gender parity.” #PledgeForParity encourages people to take a stand for equality by using the hashtag and making a pledge. Since March is also declared Women’s History Month in the United States, there is a sense of unity and empowerment for women, all they have done and all they continue to do. Here are some women Buzz staffers want to remember and cherish on International Women’s Day.
Zoya — Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is inspirational beyond words. She lived a life of activism and ran a blog for BBC News years before she was attacked. Since the Taliban shot her in 2012, she has come a long way. She used her newly-formed international platform to bring attention to human rights issues around the world rather than call for revenge. At 17-years-old, she became the youngest ever Nobel Prize Winner. As a self-proclaimed feminist, she continues to advocate for human rights, with a special focus on children’s education. On her 18th birthday, she opened a girls’ school for Syrian refugees. Malala recognizes that the pen is mightier than the sword. This International Women’s Day, I recognize that Malala is a mighty Pakistani woman we all can learn from.
Angela — Gina Rodriguez
Gina Rodriguez made a name for herself by giving a voice to young Latina women. She stars in the CW comedy “Jane the Virgin” as Jane Villanueva, a pregnant virgin. Through the role, she won her first Golden Globe in 2015 for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. Her acceptance speech moved the audience to tears as she said, “Today I can, and I will.” Gina has spoken about her experience of being told she is not Latina enough by other Latinos since she does not speak Spanish. Through social media platforms such as Instagram, she has begun a campaign called #MovementMondays that highlights Latinos in Hollywood. Rodriguez has also started the We Will Foundation to empower young women through the arts. This International Women’s Day, I remember that Gina Rodriguez is a woman who speaks her mind about topics that affect everyone, not just her Latino community.
Natalie — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 21 years old, she informed her supervisor that she was pregnant and was demoted three pay levels. Ginsburg soon found that, despite her degree from Cornell University, she and many other women faced gender-based discrimination in the workforce every single day. While attending law school, she took care of her two children and husband, who was suffering from cancer. Ginsburg graduated from Columbia University with an exceptional academic record. She fought for success as a Jewish woman and mother in an overwhelmingly male profession. As the second woman ever be nominated to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg continues to fight vehemently for women’s rights. She is not afraid to call out nonsense and flaws in logic. Ginsburg speaks with intelligence and wit. Her passion for the job will allow her to go down in history as one of the most dedicated Supreme Court justices of all time.
Jacqueline — Oprah Winfrey
Not only is Oprah one of the most prominent African American women, she also is one of the leading ladies to break through cultural, gender and racial barriers. Her humble roots, which include growing up on a farm, running away at 13-years-old, living in a juvenile home and being a victim of abuse, have given her the strength and purpose behind the woman she is today. She inspires women, reminding us that no matter the circumstances, we can succeed with determination and perseverance. She has never allowed her success and wealth to change her, and has remained a genuine person throughout her career. She has donated millions to charities along with founding organizations of her own. She has touched the lives of many as a successful, influential woman.
Xyclali — Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman
As one of Disney’s biggest stars and one of today’s youngest and brightest millennials, Zendaya Coleman has become a significant figure of female empowerment. After her dreadlocks controversy at the 2015 Oscar Awards Red Carpet, she has become well-known for her bold statements on diversity. Barbie made a Zendaya doll after her look from the Oscar Awards in honor of her standing up for her culture. She continues to speak her mind on social media about individuality. Zendaya believes that we should embrace our beauty because every woman is beautiful in her own way. She has been named the newest face of COVERGIRL, where she will have her own beauty campaign. Zendaya is a role model for women all over the country, inspiring us to be bold and speak out for what we believe in.
Emma Whalen — Amy Schumer
It’s 2016 and yet people still act surprised when a woman is funny. Amy Schumer is a prime example of the supposedly elusive comedienne. Her stand-up acts gained popularity for their self-deprecating yet empowering reflections on struggles with patriarchy. Her comedy has a unique style that makes it accessible to men and women while providing the opportunity to open up difficult conversations about sexism and femininity. She further explored these ideas in her sketch comedy show “Inside Amy Schumer” on Comedy Central, and in “Trainwreck,” the semi-autobiographical film she wrote and starred in. She is unapologetically confident in herself and her body, despite not fitting the “Hollywood” mold. Not only does Schumer fiercely defend women’s issues, but she also uses her fame to advocate against gun violence. Schumer’s sharp humor and outspoken personality make her an inspiration to women who all to often find their opinions disregarded.
Rochelle — Lady Gaga
Lately, Lady Gaga has stood stood out as an empowering role model. The gruesome reality of sexual assault is at the forefront of her industry. With Kesha’s terrible legal battle with her abuser, it’s easy to see why rape is one of the most grossly underreported crimes. Not only has Gaga stood in solidarity with her fellow performer by pointing out the massive, misogynistic flaws in the way sexual assault is handled by society and the judicial system, she’s changed the narrative with her own story. She shared her own experience with rape, and similar to Kesha, she was unable to open up about it until recently. Her Grammy performance of “Till It Happens to You” was moving, to say the least. She reminded us that a survivor’s experience should never be belittled or made irrelevant. She reminds us in interviews time and again, that one in five college women will be sexual assaulted during their time at university. I look up to Gaga for reminding us that as a society, we need fight the rape culture that turns its back on survivors. Her activism makes me realize that true bravery is speaking up for those who may not have had the chance to be heard.