The Women That Made 2017 Our Year
There is no turning back now
Without an ounce of bias, it’s safe to say that the gender line is still skewed, uneven and tips in favor of men. You can tell by the way women’s outcries are muffled. You can tell by the way in which “justice” tips away from their favor. You can tell by looking at a woman’s payslip. But ever so slowly, the scale is becoming balanced – thanks in large part to some very courageous, passionate and intelligent women.
Earlier this year, a Filipina artist by the name of Alleluia Panis was awarded the first ever Artistic Legacy grant award from the San Francisco Arts Commission for all the years she has helped keep a platform for Filipino folk and contemporary dance. Her competition was multi-faceted and definitely worthy of recognition, but Panis’ application thrilled the panelists and staff of the SF Arts Commission.
Ever since she was thrust into Hollywood’s blinding light thanks to Fresh Off The Boat, actor Constance Wu has been very vocal about the lack of representation in her industry. She’s made it a point to differentiate the difference between an Asian experience and an Asian-American one. “We are told that you should be placated by [stories like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Mulan], even though they aren’t our stories,” she said. “We’re not all just talking Taoism and kung fu – some people are just trying to get over their breakup with their boyfriend and they’re Facebook-stalking.”
As the first openly transgender state lawmaker in America, Danica Roem has made strides not just for women but for the LGBTQ+ world in general. She beat 13-year incumbent Del. Robert G. Marshal, a conservative republication who authored a bill that would have restricted transgender people from using the bathrooms of their identified gender identity.
It was a long and tireless journey to self and body love, but Demi Lovato is finally in that comfortable space with herself – and she has not once tried to simmer down how difficult it was to get there. Demi herself battled an eating disorder when the pressure to look “great” became too much and came out of it much stronger and more understanding. Knowing firsthand how difficult it is to see real beauty in a world of Photoshop and airbrushing, she’s an advocate for positive thinking, which she constantly shares with her millions of followers.
When she was just 23, Katherine Kendall was convinced to go into the apartment of Harvey Weinstein. There, the industry veteran stripped off his clothes, stood between Kendall and the door and asked her to show him her breasts. Her voice and her personal story helped make that first push on a domino effect that had other A-listers speaking out about Weinstein.
Experiences were shared, interviews were seen in a new light and Hollywood was never the same.
Dr. Jacquiline Romero
In October this year, a Filipina scientist was granted the L’Oreal Australia For Women Science fellowship for her breakthrough experiments and vital research in quantum physics. That scholar, an alumnus of the University of the Philippines, Dr. Jacquiline Romero, was granted $25,000 to further her work. Her goal? To unlock a new physics of information that is currently unavailable and unknown to mankind.
Dr. Sayeba Akhter
At the start of the millennium, Dr. Sayeba Akhter saw a trend in the hospital she was chair of: An alarming number of women were dying from too much blood loss from giving birth. Seeing this, she figured out an inexpensive way to treat postpartum hemorrhage, which only needs a condom, a catheter, some string, a saline set and saline solution. But while she pioneered what is called Sayeba’s Method more than a decade ago, it wasn’t until this year where it was widely practiced and shared in medical journals.
Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa
Some people may not believe in #FriendshipGoals, but even the biggest hater had to give it up for Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa. At the height of Gomez’s battle with several health problems including arthritis and lupus, she needed a kidney transplant. Matters were made worse when family members were not matches and the donor list was seven to ten years long – but that’s when Raisa stepped in and volunteered herself after finding she was a match.
Serena Williams has been representing women in sports for decades – and kicking butt while she’s at it. She’s been a true inspiration to girls and women everywhere, each of who needed someone to look up to in a world dominated by men. This year, 99 male atheletes made it to Forbes list of 100 Highest Paid Athletes – Williams was the sole woman, ranked 51st.
Though it gained a lot of traction this year, the #MeToo effort was actually started by Tarana Burke in 1997, when she sat across a 13-year-old girl who narrated her experience of sexual abuse. Ten years after, Burke created Just Be Inc., a non-profit that helps victims of sexual harassment and abuse – and the movement was called Me Too.
When it became a hashtag earlier this year, #MeToo became a quickly-spreading fire that was powerful, heartbreaking and painful to the touch.
Who run the world? Girls.