International Women's Day: 10 women who started 2014 right
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From schoolgirls to newly emerged Hollywood stars, here are ten women we should applaud so far in 2014. Malala Yousafzai This list was never going to exist without Malala, was it? Here are some of the things that she’s done so far this year: helped Syrian refugees crossing the border into Jordan to safety. Told students that their most effective tool is their voice, whilst addressing crowds at Wembley Stadium alongside Prince Harry. Received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, for the second time. On International Women’s Day, she’s addressing the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival about what she’s learnt since moving to Britain. Yeah, and she’s 16. Proof, if we need it, that we can overcome any barriers if we try hard enough. Fahma Mohamed In February, 17-year-old Fahma, backed by the Guardian, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a quickly viral internet petition, called on Michael Gove to give teachers the resources they needed to be educated about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation before the summer ‘cutting season.’ Maybe even more remarkably, Gove listened – and now the 24,000 girls under the age of 15 in Britain who are at risk of being cut this summer (and their teachers) might just have enough confidence to stop the procedure before it happens. We’d call that empowerment. Lupita Nyong’o No one who witnessed Lupita’s devastating performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave will question her Oscar’s night success. Documentary film maker, Yale graduate, production crew for The Constant Gardener, writer, director, producer, beauty and society commenter, wearer of incredible dresses – and now Best Supporting Actress for her first feature film role? We’re in awe. Sheryl Sandberg The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook has pledged to change the way women are depicted in stock images – which might not seem that huge on the surface, but just consider how many adverts (in magazines, on websites, across billboards), how many television commercials, how many images on product packing, are of slim, attractive, overwhelmingly white women in generic states of emotion? It’s almost as though women exist in one dimensional states – of smiling, happy, sad, depressed, confused, jumping... and nothing else. So, in general, how many images of women that we’re exposed to every single day are pushing these stereotypes? I think you’ll find that the answer is a lot. Also, Sandberg is leading a campaign to ban the word “bossy” – a word once used to shout her down by a high school teacher, and one that we don’t often hear used to describe men who are trying to get things done. So, who’s laughing now, former Sandberg teacher? What a good job it is that she didn’t listen to you. Zosia Mamet She’s just the best thing about Girls, isn’t she? Also, we think she probably doesn’t take any prisoners – if this tumblr is anything to go by.
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