The 26 best moments for women in the last year

March 7 2015

Happy International Women’s Day, lovely things! Regular readers know we love acknowledging fabulous women and those in our facebook family have had a double-dose in the lead up to IWD!  So it will come as no surprise that this is a post I’ve been excited about writing for a long while!

IWD is about celebrating the achievements of women and raising awareness for gender equality. Today we plan to do both by taking a look at the 26 best moments for women in the last year! These moments, these achievements, these acknowledgements are sublime finds; every one.

So what’s happened in the last year? Lets recap!

‘Feminist’ got some (much needed) good PR 

The ‘feminist’ title is unfortunately one that has carried with it some negative and extremist stigma, making it a word many females feel uncomfortable claiming to describe themselves (ahem, Julie Bishop – this section is for you).

1. Beyonce ensures the world knows she’s a feminist 

If there’s one person in the world that can make something cool – it’s Beyonce. At the VMA awards in August, Bey rocked an incredible 18 minute set, in which this moment happened:

Best Moments for Women: Beyonce is a Feminist

Best Moments for Women: Beyonce is a Feminist

2. Chanel embraces feminism as oh-so-chic 

Best Moments for Women: Chanel Riot

Best Moments for Women: Chanel Riot

Chanel is to fashion was Beyonce is to celebrity and this year they were both singing from the same sheet. At the conclusion of Chanel’s Spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection, Karl Lagerfeld led a feminist riot down ‘Chanel Boulevard’. While the finale had some critics voicing their cynicism, it was unquestionably powerful to have Chanel and feminism in the same headlines.  #feminismissochic

3. Taylor swift learns about feminism, comes out as feminist 

In an interview in 2012, Tay was asked if she was a feminist. Much to the frustration of many, she answered the question by saying “I don’t really think about things as guys verses girls”.

Best Moments for Women: Tay is a Feminist!

Best Moments for Women: Tay is a Feminist!

She’s since been schooled on what feminism is (by Lena Dunham no less!) and in August explained she was ready to embrace the title:

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means.”

4. Emma Watson owns at the U.N.

Perhaps one of the most important moments for feminism and equality in a long time, Emma Watson knocked our bloody socks off with her speech to the United Nations. Emma stated “I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me” before formally extending men an invitation to participate in the gender equality conversation and launching the #heforshe campaign.

Best Moments for Women: Emma Watson slays at the U.N.

Best Moments for Women: Emma Watson slays at the U.N.

 

We recapped this one as it happened in a separate post here. (Including a video of the speech!)

 

Then the fellas got involved… 

The second half on 2014 saw a bunch of high profile men come out in support of gender equality giving us a whole lot of warm fuzzies!

5. The blokes rolled out in support of #heforshe

Let it be known, when Emma Watson speaks, the world listens. A swathe of celebrities showed up on the web with the #heforshe hashtag.

Best Moments for Women: Fellas embrace #HeForShe

Best Moments for Women: Fellas embrace #HeForShe. Yes that’s Russell Crowe! And Neville Longbottom!

6. Aziz Ansari dishes up Feminism 101 on Letterman

Funny-man Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation fame talked feminism with David Letterman on the iconic talk show. He offered the following feminism litmus test:

“You’re feminist if you go to a Jay Z and Beyoncé concert and you’re not, hmm, I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 percent less than Jay. Also, I don’t think Beyoncé should have the right to vote, and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing? Shouldn’t she make Jay a steak?”

Treat yourself to some lols with the whole interview:

7. Joseph Gordon Levitt takes to YouTube to explain why he is a feminist

Joseph Gordon Levitt started getting press as a feminist after Ellen asked him if he was a feminist on her show. JGL said yes. He took to his youtube channel to explain why:

He says:

“To me it just means that your gender doesn’t have to define who you are, that you can be whatever you want to be, whoever you want to be, regardless of your gender.”

8. Lean In launched the #LeanInTogether campaign

This week, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organisation has launched #LeanInTogether – a campaign that encourages men to help women in the fight for gender equality.

The website (leanin.org) offers a bunch of tips for men to support their partner, kids and push back against gender bias, like this one:

Best Moments for Women: Fellas embrace #HeForShe

Best Moments for Women: Fellas embrace #HeForShe

Better yet – Lean In have paired with Getty Images (a leading source of stock photos worldwide) to bring realistic stock photos of men to online editors and readers. Be gone endless pics of white guys in suits! Check out some in the collection:

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty #LeanInTogether

We celebrated women in non-traditional contexts

9. Laverne Cox raised awareness for transgender people

Best Moments for Women: Laverne Cox does Time

Best Moments for Women: Laverne Cox does Time

Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black fame became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine and the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. She says:

“If someone needs to express their gender in a way that is different, that is OK, and they should not be denied healthcare. They should not be bullied. They don’t deserve to be victims of violence … That’s what people need to understand, that it’s okay and that if you are uncomfortable with it, then you need to look at yourself.”

10. Mo’ne Davis became the first girl to pitch a ‘shutout’ in the Little League World Series 

Best Moments for Women: Mo'ne David becomes hits it out of the park at the Little League World Series #notliterally #butdefinitelymetaphorically

Best Moments for Women: Mo’ne David becomes hits it out of the park at the Little League World Series #notliterally #butdefinitelymetaphorically

Mo’ne is a seriously badass pitcher. During 2014’s Little League World Series, at 13 years old, she pitched a ‘shutout’ (where the pitcher pitches the whole game and the opposition doesn’t score any runs). Her team won, Mo’ne was a sensation, Sports Illustrated put her on their cover. #bringonmajorleague

11. Female Superheros are coming soon! 

Best Moments for Women: Female Superheros coming to our screens soon!

Best Moments for Women: Female Superheros coming to our screens soon!

In July, Marvel Comics announced that a woman would be takin’ over the role of Thor and in October, they announced Captain Marvel will get her own movie in 2018! DC were also on the bandwagon, confirming the Wonder Woman movie is happening, due to hit our screens in 2017.

12. Getty Images paired with Lean In to fix lady stock photos 

Before Getty Images Leaned In Together to fix stock photos of fellas, they fixed the supremely sh*t stock photos of women; salads, sunshine and stuffy pant suits. Nearly one year ago exactly, Getty Images launched their first partnership with the Lean In organisation to develop a library of over 2,500 images of women in contemporary work and life. And they rock.

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Best Moments for Women: Lean In and Getty fix stock photos!

Some amazing women were recognised 

13. Malala Yousafzai wins a Nobel Peace Prize

Best Moments for Women: Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize at 17

Best Moments for Women: Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize at 17

If you didn’t know Malala Yousafzai at the start of October – you did by the end. The 17-year-old Pakistani campaigner for women’s equality and equal access to education became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala first earned the attention of the public when BBC Urdu published her heartfelt diary chronicling her desire to remain in education and for girls to have a chance to be educated. It wasn’t appreciated by everyone. A Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and opened fire, shooting Malala in the head and wounding two of her school friends. She survived the dramatic assault and was greeted with international fame. Three months later she was discharged and continued her plight.

After winning the prize she joked with reporters that she was probably “the first winner that still fought with her younger brothers” and said the Nobel Prize “is not going to help with exams” then promptly went back to chemistry class. #likeaboss

14. Maryiam Mirzakhani became the first female to win the Fields Medal in it’s 80 year history

Best Moments for Women: Maryam Mirzakhani wins the Fields Medal

Best Moments for Women: Maryam Mirzakhani wins the Fields Medal

The Fields Medal is described as the Nobel prize for mathematics. Maryiam, an Iranian maths professor at Stanford University, describes maths as full of “beauty and elegance”. Sir Tim Gowers, a fellow Fields medalist and mathematician at Cambridge University said “I am thrilled that this day has finally come, although women have contributed to mathematics at the highest level for a long time, this fact has not been visible to the general public. I hope that the existence of a female Fields medalist, who will surely be the first of many, will put to bed many myths about women and mathematics and encourage more young women to think of mathematical research as a possible career.” #weloveyouTim

15. Rosie Batty was named Australian of the Year 

Best Moments for Women: Rosie Batty is Australian of the Year

Best Moments for Women: Rosie Batty is Australian of the Year

Rosie Batty gave voice to the thousands of domestic violence victims when she spoke out hours after her 11-year-old son Luke’s murder. Australia listened. Rosie’s remarkable courage has put domestic violence on the national agenda.

16. Elizabeth Broderick wins 2014 Women of Influence Award 

I had the incredible privilege of hearing Elizabeth Broderick speak a couple of years back in her capacity as Sex Discrimination Commissioner. She had not long launched the Male Champions of Change initiative – gathering a group of extremely high profile male CEOs to progress the agenda of women in leadership.

Best Moments for Women: Elizabeth Broderick wins 2014 Woman of Influence Award

Best Moments for Women: Elizabeth Broderick wins 2014 Woman of Influence Award

Incredibly no-nonsense and hitting the perfect balance of strategic and humble Elizabeth’s work had gone from strength to strength. Seeing her recognised by the Australian Financial Review and NAB in this award is incredibly satisfying.

The definition of ‘beautiful’ continued to expand 

17. Lammily launched their Barbie anti-dote 

Best Moments for Women: Lammily release their 'real' doll

Best Moments for Women: Lammily release their ‘real’ doll

The Lammily doll hit the market in 2014 as a result of a crowd funding project – more than 13,000 people signed up to support creation of the ‘first’ doll on the market to be reflective of real women. The doll comes complete with reusable stickers that show scars, stretch marks and acne.

This week the Lammily doll has starred in a new advertisement aimed to highlight the pressures on women to look good. In the ad she realises that everyone has flaws and you just have to be yourself.

18. We saw difference in fashion week

The Fall 2015 shows are still continuing in Paris, but this season has given us some reason to take faith in the fashion worlds very slow but very real attempt to show diversity in their models.

Best Moments for Women: Bianca Balti walks for Dolce and Gabbana

Best Moments for Women: Bianca Balti walks for Dolce and Gabbana

Best Moments for Women: Winnie Harlow walks for Desigual

Best Moments for Women: Winnie Harlow walks for Desigual

Best Moments for Women: Moda uses a blend of big name models and gorgeous women with disabilities in their AW15 show

Best Moments for Women: Moda uses a blend of big name models and gorgeous women with disabilities in their AW15 show

19. Tracy Spicer ditched the makeup.

Best Moments for Women: Tracey Spicer gives encouragement to real women everywhere.

Best Moments for Women: Tracey Spicer gives encouragement to real women everywhere.

Home grown Tracy Spicer called bullsh*t on living life as a ‘painted doll’ and decided to claim back 2 hours a day by going cold turkey on her beauty routine. Prompted by her daughter asking her why women wear makeup, Tracey took the very brave step of un-making-up herself during a TED talk.

She’s also shared the thinking behind her change in this article on The Daily Life.

 

We are talking about sexism and violence targeting women

At first glance this might feel like a strange thing to include in a ‘best moments for women’ post and while these are issues we all truly wish didn’t exist, they do. Until they’re not, they need to be talked about, and in the last year they have been… which is progress.

20. #YesAllWomen was tweeted more than 2 million times in 4 days 

After a 22-year-old man’s misogynist killing spree in Santa Barbara, an emotional, organic campaign started online highlighting that #NotAllMen may be rapists or abusers, but #YesAllWomen deal with the threat of being hurt every day. Using the hashtag, women spoke out about their own experiences sexism, discrimination, objectification, sexualization, street harassment, fear of sexual assault and anecdotes about what it means to be a woman today.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 10.56.02 pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 11.00.35 pm

21. Jennifer Lawrence fought back against leaked photos.

Best Moments for Women: J-Law fights back against leaked online photos

Best Moments for Women: J-Law fights back against leaked online photos

In October 2014, nude photos belonging to Jennifer Lawrence were leaked online. Arguably one of the most famous actresses to be targeted in what she called a “sex crime” when J-Law broke her silence on the photos taken during her 4-year long distance relationship, it was with outrage. She told Vanity Fair:

“I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for. I can’t even describe what it feels like to have my naked body shot across the world like a news flash against my will. It just makes me feel like a piece of meat that’s being passed around for profit… Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting.”

22. It seems that finally domestic violence is in the spotlight.

One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and almost one in five will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. As I’m writing this, I have goosebumps thinking about how many of you who read this will relate to that statistic.

Through the work led by Rosie Batty, the stance taken on social media, people calling on politicians for a Royal Commission and organisations harnessing opportunities to disrupt the conversation – it seems that momentum is building to genuinely uncover the epidemic that is domestic violence around the world.

One organisation has this week has put the topic in the headlines again; South Africa’s branch of the Salvation Army has harnessed the power of the dress that took over social media in a campaign launched to coincide with IWD:

Salvation Army Black and Blue

We must keep talking about this issue until we see our statistics change. Keeping silent only helps serve the perpetrators.

We saw signs of progress for women at work 

23. Apple and Facebook cover costs for women to freeze eggs

Best Moments for Women: Facebook and Apple offer female employees egg-freezing as employee benefit

Best Moments for Women: Facebook and Apple offer female employees egg-freezing as employee benefit

In October, Facebook and Apple announced they will cover costs for employees to freeze their eggs, even if they don’t have health problems. This giant leap forward means that female employees will have much more flexibility when it comes to planning for family in a way that works for their career. The practice is reportedly beginning to spread as a hook to attract smart female employees.

24. Women dominate the Queensland State Government Cabinet

Love them or loathe them, the Labor Party’s stacking their newly elected cabinet with female faces was a win for women.

Best Moments for Women: Women dominate the Queensland Government's new Cabinet

Best Moments for Women: Women dominate the Queensland Government’s new Cabinet

25. AFL gets it’s first female coach

Best Moments for Women: Peta Searle is the AFL's first lady coach

Best Moments for Women: Peta Searle is the AFL’s first lady coach

Peta Searle was appointed as development coach at St Kilda football club in June. As a five-time premiership-winning coach of Darebin in the VWFL and former assistant coach at Port Melbourne, there’s no question the position was awarded on merit.

26. US Businesses with female CEOs are shown to do better than those run by men 

Last month on the ABC news, Alan Kohler shared a graph at the conclusion of his finance report. The graph looked at the S&P 500 (a diverse index that includes 500 American companies that represent over 70% of the total market capitalization of the U.S. stock market) and compared performance by those run by men against those run by women. As you can see below, the graph shows the businesses run by women outperform those run by men.

Best Moments for Women: female CEOs' businesses perform better than those run by men.

Best Moments for Women: female CEOs’ businesses perform better than those run by men.

And then came the kicker: Alan says “I can’t do that graph in Australia because the sample is too small here.”

 ______________

Over the years, I’ve had moments where International Womens Day makes me uncomfortable. ‘Is there an international day for men?’, ‘I don’t feel like I’ve been directly discriminated against.’ Perhaps I haven’t. But an unconscious bias against women is still deeply imbedded in the Australian psyche… unconscious being the key word here – it’s not done on purpose or with ill intent; it’s done without any realisation its happening.

I’m choosing to finish on this note with the hope of demonstrating irrefutably that we still have distance to travel. Women in Australia earn an average of 18.6% less than men. Our representation on boards and at top levels of management is actually reported to be going backwards. The last year has seen some of the most progressive and fantastic accomplishments for women ever… but we’re not there yet.

So what can you do? Celebrate the wins, let the men-folk hang out the washing (even if they’re doing it wrong), give your sons and daughters every opportunity to embrace equality, keep talking about things that aren’t right and lean in. Riiiiight in. I’ll see you there. x

18 Comments

  • Jenna says:

    Fantastic article Andrea! Well researched and a great collection of events leading to a giant step forward for womankind in 2015!

  • Kate says:

    Really enjoyed this read Andrea! Emma Watsonshas been my personal favourite but so much more I didn’t know so thankyou for sharing! Kate, Wondrous

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it Kate! Emma Watson is my fave too, with Malala a close second – I can’t believe her story! I’m so glad for their courage, both of them. Thanks so much for visiting! x

  • Samantha says:

    Awesome post! I Love that you’ve gone into detail to cover all facets of feminism and the issues behind it. Let’s hope for 27 great moments next year, #smallstepstoequality

  • Adore this post – great work, A!
    Elizabeth Broderick has also become a personal hero of mine too – always love hearing her speak and I wish someone would record all of her talks as podcasts etc so that everyone gets to hear her words.

    • How AMAZING is she!? I’m so impressed with her ability to keep out of politics too – eye on the prize, get the job done, and earn the respect of so many along the way! x

  • What a fantastic article and a fantastic year for women. I’m personally so excited that feminism is getting the recognition it deserves and that we might start making some tracks towards genuine equality. xo

  • Melissa says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing. You have a new follower 🙂 Cheers, Mel

  • stephie says:

    I have been meaning to comment on this post. Well done though. Last year was a great year for Women but like you said we are not there yet. I already told you about my raise situation which was utterly crap. However, it is post like these and sharing and raising awareness that creates change. So inspiring and loved this. Also loved Archie Poo’s interview…what a character. Love how he brings whoever he is mad at shoe in your living area. Too cute

  • Vanessa says:

    “I don’t feel like I’ve been directly discriminated against”

    I wrote a post around that theme for IWD a few years ago and it was badly accepted.

    In the post, I acknowledge issues around the world and in society, but in the end it was a *personal* post about how *I* felt about it, from *my* experiences.

    I’ve always wondered if I should write a follow up but frankly I feel like I shouldn’t have to – I feel like people just got reactionary about the post and some of them clearly didn’t read my acknowledgement of issues outside of me.

    Personally, I think it’s great if I’ve never noticed discrimination and that should be a sign of a step forward.

    • It’s an amazingly emotional topic for some people isn’t it? It took me a long while to realise we have some of the issues and challenges we have. Do what feels right – thanks for swinging by x

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