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March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a day we like to celebrate all year long, but especially today. Commemorating all the progress that has been made in the women’s rights movement, today is a celebration as well as a reminder that we still have far to go before women are treated as equals.
To inspire women and allies to keep fighting for equality, today we’re looking at women, movements and organizations that are leading the charge in making the world a better place not just for females, but for all people.
In October 2017, the hashtag #MeToo began spreading on social media, with thousands of women and some men sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse. Spurred by the dozens of women who came forward with allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the phrase was coined by activist Tarana Burke back in 2006, who attended this year’s Golden Globes and Oscars in support of the movement. Following Burke’s use of the term, actor Alyssa Milano encouraged others who had ever suffered sexual abuse or harassment to use the hashtag as a way to visually display the universality and magnitude of the problem. In the first 24 hours after Milano used the #MeToo hashtag, it was used by 4.7 million people on Facebook alone. The movement has helped sparked conversations around the world and encouraged many to report their perpetrators in their schools and workplaces.
Following the #MeToo movement, many women in Hollywood banded together in January 2018 and launched the Time’s Up movement, a fund dedicated to supporting women achieve equality in all industries. As of February 2018, the fund has raised $20 million for legal defence and is working with 200 lawyers who have volunteered their time and expertise to help women in every industry who have suffered sexual abuse and assault in the workplace.
Following the horrific school shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, the high school students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas have shown the world what millennials can do. Fighting for stricter gun laws in Florida and throughout the US, the students have largely banded together, with a small group breaking out as the unofficial spokespeople for a safer US. One student in particular, Emma Gonzalez, captured the attention of the world when she gave an impassioned speech only a few days after the deadly shooting on February 14.
Taking the stage to accept her Oscar for Best Actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand first called upon all the female nominees at the 2018 Academy Awards to stand up and be acknowledged, reminding Hollywood big wigs that women have stories to tell. She then ended her speech by schooling the world on the term ‘inclusion rider,’ a contract that big-named actors can demand when signing on for a movie. The rider stipulates a certain level of diversity when hiring both the cast and the crew. That means more women, more people of colour and more people with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera. With the success of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, studios can no longer hide behind the argument that audiences won’t pay to see women and casts made of mostly of people of colour. They will and they have been.
Mattel has been steadily debuting more dolls in their Shero line since launching 2015, including creating dolls of director Ava DuVernay, country singer Trisha Yearwood, and ballerina Misty Copeland. Just in time for International Women’s Day, Mattel is now debuting their largest line up of Sheros from around the world, including artist Frida Khalo, director Patty Jenkins, Polish journalist Martyna Wojciechowska, U.S. Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, Australian conversationalist Bindi Irwin, and scientist Katherine Johnson, who was made famous by the 2016 film Hidden Figures.
This #InternationalWomensDay, @Barbie is shining a light on more female role models than ever before. Introducing the largest addition to the Barbie Sheroes line to date – meet the new Global Sheroes that have been honored with one-of-a-kind dolls. Share your role models with us to help inspire more girls using #MoreRoleModels. #IWD2018
There are a lot of women in music who are constantly merging art and activism in support of others. Kesha, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Pink, Halsey, and Janelle Monae are just a few that come to mind. One person who is continually pushing for acceptance and assistance for those struggling with depression and mental health is Demi Lovato. The pop star launched Healing and Education Through the Arts (HEART) with Global Citizen and Save The Children to bring arts education to young people in Iraq. Kicking off her tour with DJ Khaled this month, Lovato is also trying a new program that allows concert goers to sign up to hear celebrities and specialists discuss their battles with mental health before each concert. Each tour date will also include Lovato partnering with a local wellness charity to raise money for the organization.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and though it represents a huge industry, only 22 per cent of people working in STEM are women. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Much has teamed up with Canadian Science to showcase women who are leading the charge in the STEM field and sharing their knowledge to help inspire the next generation of women looking to change the world. Check out more amazing Canadian women in STEM here.
To celebrate, we’re airing an all-female playlist in honour of International Women’s Day. You can listen to the playlist on Apple Music here.