This blog post was written by HOYFC staff member Kayleigh for International Women's Day 2020.
In a slight departure from our usual Six Things posts, today we are highlighting six amazing women who are doing great things to fight social injustices, educate, and generally just make the world a better place.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is the Congresswoman for New York's 14th congressional district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. She was only 29 when she took office in 2019, making her the youngest congresswoman ever.
In 2018 she challenged the ten-term incumbent, a member of her own party, in the Democratic primary and won, despite having no major financial backing. She continues to shun funding from lobbies, something that has become the mainstay of career politicians.
One of the things that has helped her to succeed has been her use of social media to get her ideas across to the electorate and call out injustice where she sees it. She is a vocal critic of Donald Trump, particularly on the treatment of immigrants arriving the US. Trump, in return, tweeted that she should "go back to where [she] came from" - clearly he did not realise that, despite her Puerto Rican background, she was in fact born in the district that she now represents in Congress.
If you believe in:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 4, 2020
healthcare as a right,
a living wage,
that working class & marginalized people deserve power,
that climate action should be on the scale of the crisis,
that racial justice is key in all this & more,
Then we are on the same team.
Let’s accomplish it together.
The MP for Birmingham Yardly, Jess Phillips is another amazing outspoken woman in politics. She cares deeply about the plight of her constituents and is known for being a staunch feminist.
Every year for International Women's Day, she reads out the names of all the women killed by male violence, in order to highlight the need for stricter laws regarding domestic violence, as well as greater funding for charities providing help and refuge to women in need.
It is with great sadness that ahead of International Women’s Day I have once again reminded Parliament of all those women murdered by men over the past year. pic.twitter.com/d4Z6PbhUxR— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) March 5, 2020
Readers in the UK will likely remember Jameela Jamil as being one of the presenters on T4 back in the day; however, she is now probably most well known for playing Tahani in The Good Place.
She is also very active on social media, and founded the Instagram account @i_weigh, which aims to promote inclusivity and encourages people to focus on more than their physical appearance when determining their self worth.
Love thine arms. I bloody love mine. pic.twitter.com/rPYQyotfNj— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) March 1, 2020
Mary Beard is an absolute badass! Not only is she a Cambridge Don, broadcaster, author, and Newsnight regular, she also refuses to be cowed by criticism or, in some cases, threats of violence.
When she first appeared on our TV screens, she was lambasted for her looks, with one critic suggesting that she should be kept away from cameras altogether.
She has often been on the receiving end of threats of rape, violence, and, on one occasion, her house being bombed; however, she can always be counted on to deal with the trolls in a no nonsense manner. She is very much a proponent of naming and shaming the trolls. In one instance, this tactic worked so well that, not only did she receive a grovelling apology, the troll in question actually took her out to lunch, giving her the chance to make him see the error of his ways.
Like all of the women on our list, she is not afraid to voice her opinions in a male-dominated society.
Danica Roem is the first openly transgender woman to serve in any US state legislature. When campaigning for election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017, she was running against Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, a man who happily described himself as the 'chief homophobe' and who refused to use Roem's preferred pronouns or engage in debate with her.
What makes her so inspiring is that she is able to take the high ground when faced with those who want to make her gender identity a stick to beat her with.
Yes, she campaigns for greater inclusivity for the trans community and has recently been campaigning to change the laws surrounding health care in Virginia to make it fairer for transgender people; however, Roem does not want to be solely defined by her gender identity. As her Twitter bio states, she is looking to "Fix roads. Feed kids. Achieve equality." Can't say fairer than that.
It seems only appropriate that we include a fellow Scot in our list of inspiring women, and Mhairi Black certainly fits the bill. Mhairi made history in 2015 when she became the youngest person to ever be elected as an MP at the age of only 20 years old. Indeed, the SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South hadn't even finished her degree at the time of her election victory.
Since taking office, she has been a vocal critic of the current government's policies. Her constituency contains some of the most deprived areas in the UK and she uses her platform to hold the government accountable for the way it is failing these communities.
She is also a strong supporter of LGBTQIA+ issues and is a role model to young people across the country.
So what do you think of our list? It was so difficult to whittle it down to just six amazing women and there are so many more that we would have loved to include. Who would make it onto your list of women that inspire you?
While you think about it, why don't you celebrate IWD 2020 with something from our Feminist Killjoy range? We have badges, stickers, stress balls - not to mention, with HOYFC, you can literally play the Feminist Card.