A woman’s contribution to society is always overlooked despite them carrying the biggest burden and sacrificing the most. In every success story, you will, more often than not, see a man hogging all the glory. That has always been the norm, and fortunately, it is changing.
Women are more than stay at home mothers. They are more than the little cages that society forces them into. Being a woman is more than just beauty and tinkering with makeup made using a Ginghong mixer. Women are their own people, independent with their own stands.
Here are the most influential women who have defined the last decade through their achievements and contributions.
When Prof. Wangari Maathai died in 2011, the world lost an icon who had single-handedly fought to save vital forest covers in Kenya. Wangari faced a lot of hardship ion the hands of a government that was seeking to destroy the environment for monetary gains.
Her resilience in the face of physical and psychological attacks finally got the recognition she deserved in 2004. She became the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize. She changed the course of history for all the women on the African continent.
Living in a patriarchal environment that tells women that they are there to be seen and not heard is disheartening. When the punishment for daring to speak up as a woman is death, then you have very little options left. But that was not Malala Yousafzai. She stood up to the Taliban for denying freedom and education to girls in Pakistan. She almost paid dearly for that with her life.
She survived and went on to become the youngest Nobel Prize laureate at 17. She has transformed the lives of many Pakistani girls with her courage.
It is very easy for a woman to be swallowed up by her husband’s shadow even when she does not want to. It is even harder for a woman to stand out when their husband is the most powerful man on the planet. Unless you are Michelle Obama.
Being the wife of the first black president of the United States never took away the shine from Michelle. Not even the title of FLOTUS could define her. She has always been herself, and that has made her an icon.
Michelle Obama is the most educated First Lady in history.
Serna Williams, alongside her sister Venus, has redefined the game of tennis. Women’s tennis can be split into two eras. The pre-Serena era and the Serena era, that’s how big her influence has been. She has the most Grand Slam titles of anyone in the spot, both male and female. Simply put, she owns the game.
Serena’s achievement has opened up tennis doors for many girls of African descent. Before here, there were very few black women in the sport, not anymore.
Holding the title of Chancellor for 15 years without breaking any sweat is no easy fete. Angela Merkel has been leading Germany since 2005 and is widely considered the best leader they have ever had. She has steered the country through countless crises like the Eurozone debt crisis better than her male counterparts in other countries.
Her brand of leadership is going to inspire future female leaders who are watching and learning from her right now.
In the corridors of the American Supreme Court, she is best known as RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not your average law woman. At 85, she is the oldest Supreme Court Justice, and do not let her age fool you. She is a force defender of the law and has held her current docket since 1993. Justice Ruth has been at the center of big cases that redefined America’s view of women’s rights.
At her age, she still has not lost any of the sharp wit that has made her a household name. A true inspiration for women pursuing careers in law across America.
Sexual harassment and violence against women by men has been going on, unabated, for years. Any woman that has tried to speak up about it has always been met criticism or worse, silence and death. The lack of a voice and platform was what gave birth to the legend that is Tarana Burke.
Tarana Burke is the founder of the #MeToo movement on social media. A movement that has helped women find the courage to call out their abusers. To assert that it has been successful would be an understatement.
It is thanks to Tarana Burke’s efforts that many prominent figures in society have been brought to justice. She continues to fight for women every day.
At a time when women were looking for a voice and platform to vent out all that is pent up within them, Adichie appeared. Feminism has been a controversial topic, and it has been easy to misconstrue what it represents. Chimamanda’s literature pieces have unapologetically shed light on feminism and what it stands for.
Her book, Americanah, is considered among the best Americanah books ever written. Chimamanda has shown women that it is in their best interest to stand for themselves no matter the consequences.
‘Behind every successful man stands a woman’ does not cut anymore. Women have grown tired of being hidden away by a world that cannot seem to run without them. The more spaces they create for themselves, the more their plight gets the attention it has been clamoring for.
The world will never hear the last of them and every day, another powerful and strong woman is made. It is a brand new age.