Words by: Sarah Arturi
To the women of today: you are nothing short of unstoppable.
You’re fearless, empathetic and strong.
Women are shapeshifters. Gone are the days when the role of a woman was restricted to ‘mother’ or ‘wife’, and when human shapeshifters were considered a ‘fictional element’. In fact, women have been shapeshifting for years — adopting the many roles expected of them and more to keep the world moving.
The difference between now and then, is that today we seek to celebrate and embrace the beautiful power of women – both past or present, recognised or unrecognised, businesswoman or stay-at-home mum, fashion icon or STEM student. So, here’s my small list (derived from a never-ending list) of big achievements by women who have spent their lives breaking glass ceilings every single day.
Consider this article my cheer squad of words dedicated to every woman in existence:
Kamala Harris: Vice President of the United States
On the 20th of January, 2021 Kamala Harris became the first African American woman, the first Indian-American woman, and the first graduate of a Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) to be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States of America. This was definitely not the only barrier Kamala had to overcome, as her life was full of similar inspiring achievements. Amid the challenges of successfully becoming a lawyer and senator, Kamala proved to the world that anything is possible no matter where you come from or the colour of your skin. Her Vice Presidency acceptance speech captured the attention of the world when she said that she “may not be the first, but [she] will not be the last”. This sentence alone has allowed women and girls of all ages and backgrounds to envisage a world where any dream can be reached, even if society expects otherwise. Here’s to you, Kamala.
Emma Watson: actress and activist all in one
As an astounding actor and activist at the age of 32, Emma Watson’s childhood was like no other. When she wasn’t on the big screen playing the academically gifted, headstrong, Muggle-born witch Hermione Granger, Emma had a passion for learning from a young age. She always wanted an education, even when her successful yet challenging acting career kick-started at the early age of eleven. As such, she completed her studies in between takes (quite literally) and completed a degree in English Literature after finishing the Harry Potter series. Her natural-born leadership and love for feminism prompted her to begin the ‘HeForShe’ campaign to encourage men to support the feminist movement and validate their expression of feelings just the way women do. In her speech as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, she expressed feminism as “not a stick with which to beat other women, rather it’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, and it’s about equality”. Emma’s inspiring words and raucous ambition has empowered so many men and women across the globe, and she continues to make her mark as a true role model for all. Here’s to you, Emma (you’re not a mudblood to us <3).
The Women of Ukraine: war stricken yet standing strong
Many people around the world watched in horror as Ukrainian civilians faced severe persecution as a result of political motives – destroying homes, displacing families, and experiencing unthinkable violent antics. However, what tugged at people’s heartstrings in particular was how the women of Ukraine displayed both courage and hope, as they proved that men alone cannot save a country. The shock of war has seen many Ukrainian women refuse to leave their homeland and instead bravely pick up arms in its defence. This show of strength has trickled down from one of the best-known female leaders in her country — the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska — who has stood firmly to fight for her people. Yet Ukrainian women have simultaneously demonstrated that a true leader does not need a job title or position of power to leave a mark on others. To the many women in Ukraine who have chosen bravery during a time when their country was stripped of its innocence, the world sits in awe over such a heartbreakingly powerful event of solidarity.
To conclude, it is safe to say that our world is full of opportunities and choices thanks to the incredible women who have walked before us to fight for equality, and the women who continue to lead the way. Here’s to you, all.