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International Women's Day: 5 Inspirational Women

Selena Khokhar

In honour of International Women’s Day, here is a quote by G.D. Anderson;

“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”

March 8th marks the significance of Civil awareness day, Women and girls day, Anti-sexism day and Anti-Discrimination Day. There is an endless string of history regarding women’s rights and movements that have led to this annual day. In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German socialist champion of women’s and workers rights suggested that March 8th be dedicated to women each year. The purpose of this day is to recognize the endless struggles of women in the work industry, and generally.

Every woman has a story that contains a journey of struggle to self-empowerment and strength. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the inspirational women in our lives.

Here are the five of the many empowering women we have come to know:

Anne Frank - “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

The story of Anne Frank was a heartbreaking and unforgettable moment in history, as a young Jewish girl kept a diary while her family was in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. The diary gives a sense of the unforeseeable struggles and unimaginable times her and her family have gone through. However, her strength is empowering as she persevered through those years and continued to use her voice. The common message that is perceived throughout the diary is the sense of having hope, remembering the small blessings in life, and always appreciating what you have in the moment. Anne Frank is an inspiration to not only women but to all individuals as her courage has influenced individuals worldwide.

Emmeline Pankhurst - “Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us.”

In 1999, Time magazine named Emmeline Pankhurts as one of the 100 Most Important People in the 20th Century. In 1903, Emmaline co-founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Her focus was fighting for the women’s right to vote, in which she organized the UK Suffragette Movement. Pankhurst’ actions shocked many as there were many instances involving violence, and the effectiveness of her tactics were questioned. However, the entire purpose was to fight for equality and to make a point. A co-member of the WSPU threw herself under a horse at the Derby protest due to the government's failure to grant women the right to vote. Emmeline and other members were arrested numerous times. There were many hunger strikes that resulted in violent force feeding. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over the age of 30, to those who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property and graduates of British universities. This was monumental as it began the step towards equality, and a transition into a new society.

Halima Aden - “How boring would this world be if everyone was the same?”

Halima Aden is a 22-year old Somali-American fashion model who is known for being the first contestant to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Halima has also become the first woman to wear a hijab in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit issue to advocate for gender inclusivity and diversity. Halima advocates for equal representation and strives to create a safe environment where both youth and adults can feel represented and seen. She also wants to ensure that everyone can express who they are and receive equal opportunities that are not filtered or unattainable due to someone’s appearance.

Megan Rapinoe - “You are not lesser just because you are a girl.”

Rapinoe led the U.S Women’s National Soccer team during the World Cup Champions in 2019. Megan is a women's rights advocate for equal pay in sports. In 2019, the U.S Women’s National Soccer team filed a lawsuit against the U.S Soccer Federation for gender discrimination, racism and sexuality. There were claims that the U.S Men’s National Soccer team earned a tremendous amount more. Rapinoe’s message to other women: "Don't settle for anything less, go for equal, go for more, don't accept any of these sort of antiquated and BS answers - Especially when it comes to sport there's been such a lack of investment for such a long period of time, so any direct comparison to the men's sports or the men's leagues is just wholly unfair.”

Jennie Trout - “Strength isn’t about bearing a cross of grief or shame. Strength comes from choosing your own path, and living with the consequences.”

Jennie was a physician and a teacher, and was the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada. She received her medical license from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario in 1875. Around 1867, Trout began suffering from nervous disorders and became housebound. Her doctors helped relieve some of her condition using electrotherapy, and her treatment process inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. In Canada, no medical schools accepted female students at the time. She then attended the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Later on, she became the active vice-president and president of the Women’s Temperance Union.

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