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Female Trailblazers of 2017: Recognition of Innovation

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Although 2018 is a new year and there are certainly plenty of room for improvements in the fight for women’s justice, 2017 was a year full of advancements towards this eminent goal. From inclusive makeup lines to marching to demand human rights on the streets of Washington D.C., women made powerful moves this year that shook the globe and deserve to be noted. Here are just a few of the female trailblazers of 2017:

  1. Feel as you may about Hillary Rodham Clinton, but the former Secretary of State and Senator remained one of the most talked about women in 2017. Although she lost the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump, she remains the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party. By doing so, Hillary Clinton brought women just one step closer to breaking the glass ceiling that prevents women from achieving the same economic job opportunities as men. Hillary Clinton said in her final 2008 campaign speech for President, “Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.” Clinton took a huge step in breaking one of the remaining societal barriers for women, and one day, someone will pick up from where she started and finish the job.
  2. Rihanna, a Barbadian woman renowned as a fashion icon and one of the best-selling artists of all time, launched her own makeup line named Fenty Beauty. Not only did Rihanna seek to inspire others to “take chances and dare to do something new or different” as she does with her style, but she also wanted to fill a void remains unrecognized in the beauty community: the lack of diversity. Many women color have been unable to participate in the mainstream beauty community because companies do not cater for their skin tone. She wanted to provide all women with light-weight, well-performing makeup that anybody could use. The launch of Fenty Beauty on September 8, 2017 was massively successful, her products seemingly disappearing from the store shelves. Listed by Time Magazine as one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2017,” Rihanna’s determination to make an inclusive makeup line certainly paid off as Fenty Beauty is a smash hit, earning her a spot on the female trailblazers of 2017.
  3. Although you may not know the significance behind the names Bob Bland and Teresa Shook, you certainly know the movement they founded. On January 21, there were mass rallies across the globe protesting women’s rights, immigration rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and a plethora of other issues facing the world. It is estimated that between 3.2 million to 5.2 million people participated in what is dubbed the Women’s March in the United States. This march invigorated not only women, but people worldwide to sight for the causes that they believe in and not sit idly. Bob Bland told the Washington Post“We are deeply, profoundly divided as a nation and in order for us to heal those wounds we need to basically take all of the different groups that were not given a platform, were not given a chance to speak, and ensure that there voices are heard.”
  4. Wonder Woman, a D.C. Comics classic, was released as a superhero film on June 2, 2017. This film’s release was a momentous occasion because it marked several milestones, one of which is the first superhero blockbuster with a woman lead with a female director (Patty Jenkins), both of which are highly absent in the Hollywood film industry. Wonder Woman, a powerful woman who is often denoted to fight alongside iconic heroes such as Batman and Superman, is a figure of women empowerment. Actress Gal Gadot, known in the film as Wonder Woman, acts as a media outlet to show women of all ages that women can be and are powerful. This movie negates the stereotype that women cannot be these superhero figures, who are associated with power, which breaks away from yet another barrier that women face: portrayal in the media. Both Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot took the first steps in creating a movie to break the mold that Hollywood classically portrays women in.
  5. As Time Magazine person of the year, the #MeToo Movement, although containing the voices of millions of silence breakers across the globe, was founded by Tarana Burke. Inspired by the absolute speechlessness that she felt while listening to the story of a 13-year-old rape victim, Burke created Just Be Incorporated to help victims of sexual assault; she named this the Me Too Movement. Later popularized by actress Alyssa Milano, this movement successfully garnered the sexual assault stories of over 12 million women just within the first day.

These are only a few of the notable women who made strides towards equality in 2017, and hopefully the list will only get longer in 2018!

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Female Trailblazers of 2017: Recognition of Innovation