Women: Poets, Game changers and Revolutionaries

Other | Friday 10th March 2017 | Wahida

International Women’s Day has come and gone. But the struggle for equality that many women face, be it in the work place or at home, is still very much present.

Despite these barriers, women are not victims. Every day is not a battle for survival, it’s a new dawn to take each challenge by the horns and make a fool out of the nay-sayers.

It’s a chance for growth, to crush another insecurity and work on our ambitions until the empire we’re building seems a little closer. It’s a chance to live unapologetically not just for ourselves but for the people we love.

March 8th marks a day where women’s socio-political and economic gains are brought to the forefront. Women in politics, science, business in typically male dominated industries!

Mothers, daughters and sisters who work tirelessly to support their families whilst facing discrimination in some form or the other get the credit they deserve after decades of protesting, movements and violence that still keep countless women below their male counterparts.

The West and the East, Muslim, Christian, black and white – women are multi-faceted and no two women are the same. They inspire, they write, they spread love, they're fashionistas, poets and brave rebels.

Here are five incredible women who’ve left their mark on the world:

Malala Yousafzai

A tremendously brave young woman whose stand for education led a member of the Taliban to shoot her in the head in 2012.

But that didn’t stop her, it didn’t even slow her down. In 2014, Yousafzai became the world’s youngest Nobel Prize Winner and the first Pakistani to ever win the accolade.

She’s a staunch advocate for women’s rights and a sincere supporter of education for boys and girls. The incident that was meant to keep her paralysed, ended up sparking the Malala Petition which recommitted the United Nations to Millennium Development Goal 2, which aims to get all girls and boys into school. The petition collected a staggering 3 million signatures.

Maya Angelou

The late African American poet published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

She received several awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. She campaigned alongside Martin Luther King and Malcom X. Angelou’s success is riveting, she was a black woman born in the deep south at a time of great racial hostility.

Her words are moving, inspiring and painful. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is testament to her struggle and her breakthrough.

Tawakkol Karman

Another incredible Nobel Prize winner who defied the status quo. She was also a journalist, politician and human rights activist who established the Women Journalists Without Chains group, which advocates human rights, freedom of speech and democratic rights.

This exceptional quote summarises Karman’s powerful stance “Women have to stop thinking that they are part of the problem and start looking for solutions. We have been denied for a long time, it is now the time for us to stand up and participate actively.”

Emmeline Pankhurst

She was considered a rebel and a radical of her time, because she fought strongly alongside the Women's Social and Political Union (an organisation she founded) for women to gain the right to vote.

Pankhurst was detained on multiple occasions just like many other Suffragettes who followed the cause. Emmeline died in June 1928, not long after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).

Coco Chanel

She was the daughter of a market stall holder and a laundry woman, whose brand grossed around $8bn in 2013.

Coco Chanel liberated women from the constraints of the "corseted silhouette" and popularised a sporty, casual chic style in a time where male designers dominated.

The brand she invented has maintained its status as a fashion giant well through the 20th century and right into the 21st. "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud."- Coco Chanel.