Women are thriving.
With the accomplishments of women in 2017 and so far this year, there was much to celebrate on U.N.-recognized International Women’s Day March 8 and more to look forward to. While the list is too long to fit in one column, a few notable accomplishments stand out.
In 2017, history was made Jan. 5 when three women enlisted as the first female Marines. On Jan. 21, an estimated 3.2 million–5.2 million people in 600 cities nationwide took part in the Women’s March, making it one of the largest single-day protests in U.S. history. On March 17, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah became Johns Hopkins Hospital’s first black female neurosurgeon, one of only 219 board-certified female neurosurgeons in the U.S. “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, was the hero Hollywood needed during a historically low-earning summer, bringing in $100.5 million its opening weekend and earning more than $821 million worldwide.
Let’s not forget movements that shook the world, including Me Too and Times Up. An Oct. 5 New York Times article written by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed decades of sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, inspiring women worldwide to share stories of sexual harassment and assault. Soon after followed Times Up, an organization started by more than 300 women with the goal of improving gender parity issues. Equal pay was a major topic of discussion as well, reaching a tipping point in December after Catt Sadler left E! Entertainment after 12 years because of a pay gap between her and co-worker Jason Kennedy.
Celebrations were well-deserved and could be seen far and wide for this year’s International Women’s Day. Freeform launched its #NotSorry campaign March 8 across its platforms, which bleeped out every “sorry” said by a woman, keeping count with a #NotSorry “meter” throughout the day, which the network said amounted to nearly 50. Google created an interactive Doodle celebrating stories of everyday women with visual narratives created by women. Barbie continued its efforts of inspiring women and young girls with the announcement of a Barbie collection based on 17 influential women, including gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas, journalist Martyna Wojciechowska, NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson and artist Frida Kahlo.
Along with our accomplishments, women still face battles. Although NASA announced Jan. 4 that Jeanette Epps would be the first African-American to live on the International Space Station in May 2018, she was replaced by a white astronaut for Expedition 56-57 in a Jan. 18 NASA news release. While NASA did not explain the reason for this decision, Epp’s brother cited racism. Oxford University came under fire on International Women’s Day when an ironic photo taken by a professor went viral showing a female cleaner scrubbing the words “Happy International Women’s Day” off the University’s steps while male security guards stood by. While McDonald’s tried to celebrate the day by inverting its golden arches on signs and logos, it was also criticized for not providing livable wages, equal pay and maternity leave.
Despite these disappointments, we’ve had an incredible amount of success and there is more to come. There is no shortage of strength within us and we have the power to continue to change the world. So let’s continue to celebrate women.