International Women’s Day is globally celebrated on the 8th of March to mark the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’, with a straightforward aim- to call out the persisting inequality and bias towards women.
With the power the internet holds, sharing and making an impact on social issues is as easy as it’s ever been thanks to social media. Opening an important discourse, and gaining impact and influence is all up to us.
The following young women have done it well. From starting movements at 15 to performing at the presidential inauguration at 22, from art to activism, these are women’s voices to amplify this 2021.
1. Rachel Cargle
Upon coming across Rachel Cargle for the first time, all I could think of is, where have you been all my young adult life? Cargle is an author, activist, lecturer, and speaker who dismantles racism among many things. Born in Ohio, her activism is rooted in race and womanhood. Cargle’s upcoming book ‘I Don’t Want Your Love and Light’ tackles “feminism through the lens of race and how we are in relationships with ourselves and one another.”
She is one of the leading women voices that is absolutely necessary for all women, young and old. Cargle sparks discourse on many issues, and while some may disagree with her on some things, she will teach you a thing or two. And one of the great experiences involved when following Cargle on social media is the great unlearning you become accustomed to.
Recollecting her experience on sharing a nude image, Cargle wrote about the conflicting commentaries that followed suit. Recalling that while many complimented the image, some rather complimented her “bravery”. She wrote for Harper Bazaar saying, “What is brave about my existing happily in my body? What is brave about showing up for my love of self, instead of for the gaze of white or male beauty standards? What is brave about being seen? Being visible?”
“Telling me that I’m “brave” for simply existing just as I am was a thinly-veiled projection of how people actually feel about a body that looks like mine. You’re what I understand as a body that is not enough, they think to themselves, but you push through with bravery and post that not-enough body anyway.”
2. Greta Thunberg
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg sat alone outside the Swedish Parliament with just the planet in mind, and she has never been alone again since.
At 15, she went from encouraging her family to reduce their carbon footprint to taking to the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading: Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate). She was joined by a crowd the following day and soon after, students took to the streets in their communities in school climate strikes known as “Fridays for Future.”
She was able to influence not only her birth-nation but the entire world. She grew to have millions of backers on her quest to save the planet and is undoubtedly one of the best voices to amplify this 2021.
“We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future,” said Thunberg at the 2019 Global Climate Strike in New York. “Is that really too much to ask?”
3. Amanda Gorman
She is the 22-year old that captured the world when she delivered the poem “The Hill We Climb”, with many acclaiming it as the much-needed triumph encouraging healing.
Amanda explored grief, redemption, and recovery opened her five-minute poem with the question, “When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”, in what made her the youngest ever inaugural poet.
Two black female poets preceding Gorman are the great Maya Angelou, who performed “On the Pulse of Morning” for Bill Clinton’s inauguration, and Elizabeth Alexander who performed “Praise Song for the Day” for Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Gorman is Los Angeles-born and graduated from Harvard University in 2020. Raised by a teacher mom, she got to witness the impact she could have on young people through language.
Albeit her love for poetry stemming from third grade, performing has been a long challenging journey as Gorman grappled with a speech impediment. A great battle has been the letter R. Speaking on this hurdle, Gorman said, “`I don’t look at my disability as a weakness,” said Gorman. “It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be. When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds, when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”
Undoubtedly a burning light the world is yet to witness shine even brighter, Amanda Gorman is one of the best voices to amplify this 2021.
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