You might have noticed that 2017 has become a banner year for awareness when it comes to women's rights and female empowerment. After up to 5 million participated in the worldwide Women's March (an estimated 4 million in the US alone, making it the largest political demonstration in US history), women around the globe are creating innovative ways to make their voices heard and help empower others. There are far too many fabulous, fierce females to count, but here are 10 women we love who are changing the game in 2017.
1. Elizabeth Warren – Senator from Massachusetts
You may have heard a little saying floating about town: “nevertheless, she persisted”. The “she” in that sentence? Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts. The quote came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who silenced Warren on the Senate floor for explaining why she did not support President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General. Subsequently, “nevertheless, she persisted” became a symbol of the ever-growing gender equality movement. Senator Warren has worked tirelessly for decades on everything from consumer protection law to women’s reproductive rights. She is a prominent figure in the democratic party and many believe she may run for President in 2020.
2. Sophia Rossi- Founder of Hello Giggles
‘Hello Giggles‘ is an online platform geared towards girls and women that just sold to TIME for $30 million last October. Former TV producer Sophia Rossi partnered up with Zooey Deschanel and writer Molly McCleer after lamenting that there weren’t any positive news or entertainment sites meant just for women. At first, it was just the three of them in Rossi’s apartment, trying to find funding to spread their message. Five years and $30MM later, Hello Giggles has become a female online haven, boasting about 1500 contributors writing pieces on everything from frenemies to debating whether to have kids.
3. Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman; Co-Founders of Lola
Chances are, if you’re a lady, you’ve probably heard of LOLA, and if you haven’t, you should look it up! After learning that the FDA doesn’t mandate that tampon companies release what chemicals or ingredients they use in their products (because it’s a “medical device”), Dartmouth grads Jordana and Alexandra decided to take matters into their own hands. They created the all-organic cotton tampon company LOLA that delivers monthly right to your doorstep. LOLA has become hugely successful and is one of the most innovative companies out there! It’s about time someone got to work on this subject- thanks, ladies!
4. Zendaya- Actress, Singer, Activist
You might know her as a beloved star of the Disney Channel, but Zendaya Coleman is oh-so-much-more than that. At the young age of 19, she has used her fame to contribute positively to the world around her. She speaks out frequently on body image, civil rights, and the importance of building each other up. She has helped people around the globe by having people donate to their cause instead of buying her birthday presents. In particular, she has lent her voice to the UNAIDS cause, encouraging young people to get tested for AIDS and helping to erase the stigma of the disease. If she’s done all this at 19, we can’t wait to see what the coming years bring!
5. Malala Yousafzi- Education Activist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
19-year-old Mala Yousafzi is the youngest ever Nobel Prize Laureate for speaking out on behalf of a girl’s right to an education. After her school shut down, Malala (then just 12 years old) spoke out against the Taliban in her native country of Pakistan for forbidding girls from attending school. She received death threats but continued to spread her message by writing for a BBC blog under a pseudonym. When her identity was revealed, the Taliban sought her out and attacked her, shooting her and leaving her in critical condition. Her assassination attempt created an uprising in Pakistan leading to overwhelming support and the swift passing of Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill. In 2013 she established the Malala Fund to empower girls to raise their voices, and in 2014 she received the Nobel Peace Prize. She donated the entire prize amount of $500,000 to build a school in Pakistan.
6. Sonja Rasula- Founder of Unique LA
Sonja is best known for creating Unique Markets, the largest made-in-America shopping events in the world back in 2008 after the financial crisis. A huge proponent of the maker movement, Sonja has continued to focus on fostering creativity in the workplace. In 2013, she started her creative business conference CAMP which was so successful that it led her to create The Unique Space; a huge space in the Arts District of Downtown LA that houses offices and creative community workspaces.
7. Lindsey Day- Founder of CRWN Magazine
Lindsey Day created the incredibly gorgeous and inspiring CRWN magazine after being frustrated with how Black and natural hair was portrayed in the media. You won’t find any stick figure fashion models or high profile celebrities in these glossy pages; CRWN features real women rocking real do’s for every variety of texture, style, and personality. But it’s about WAY more than just hair. CRWN celebrates black women and women of color writing thoughtful pieces and commentary on black culture and the current landscape they face.
8. Isabella Springmuhl – Designer With a Cause
Isabella Springmuhl Tejada is a Guatemalan fashion designer. She is most known for being the first fashion designer to have Down syndrome, but that sure doesn’t stop her! Her designs have made international news for their beautiful color and artistry and were recently showcased at London Fashion Week in 2016. She runs her fashion line xjabelle with her fashion-designer Grandma and is currently creating a line of clothing specifically made for people with Down syndrome.