Top 5 Female Activists - Part 3: New Wave
Posted on March 27 2019
For the concluding chapter of this series, we take a peek into the work and accomplishments of some of the women we affectionately refer to as “new wave activists”. They are the women who inspire us and who we aspire to be; the Wonder Women of our generation. They have used their strength and voices to break more barriers and further forge the path to equality for all women. Here are our top 5 New Wave Female Activists to know and follow:
She’s the youngest on our list but nothing short of remarkable! Malala is a 21-year-old Pakistani woman who advocates for human rights with emphasis on education for women and children in her home country. Her accolades are impressive as they are numerous and include the Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice as well as the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize at age 17. She has gone on to secure education opportunities for girls and young women through her not-for-profit Malala Fund, co-authored several books and has been the subject of a number of award-winning documentaries.
Not only did she create the #MeToo Movement, Tarana Burke has made it her life’s work to improve the lives of girls who have endured hardships of all types, including those who were victims of sexual violence. She is also the creator of Just Be Inc. and is the Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equity, both of which are focused on the welfare and development of girls and young women. For her work in raising awareness about the prominence of sexual abuse and assault in society, she was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2017.
She is a human rights lawyer who defended dozens of Iranian women condemned to death either by stoning or hanging. Her continued efforts to protect victims of these circumstances resulted in her own imprisonment on numerous occasions eventually ending in exile to Europe in 2009. Here she co-founded Justice for Iran, an organization which seeks to address and eliminate human rights violations towards her fellow Iranians. Her efforts have since been honored through documentaries as well as various prestigious human rights awards such as the International Women of Courage Award in 2010.
This Ethiopian beauty used her fame as a successful model to bring awareness to the issue of maternal mortality in her home country. As a result, she was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health by the World Health Organisation in 2005. This appointment has since allowed her to create her own foundation, the Liya Kebede Foundation, which funds advocacy and awareness-raising projects for her cause. She also continues to spread her message through her work as a writer for the Huffington Post. In honor of her philanthropic endeavours she was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year in 2013.
Born and raised in a rural farming village in China with minimal opportunities for education, Nanfu Wang literally worked her way through her obstacles to become the documentary filmmaker she is today. Her most successful work to date is her film Ye Haiyan (Hooligan Sparrow), a film chronicling the movements of the Chinese sex worker and female activist after whom the film is named. The film sought to highlight the discrimination meted out to these women who are victims of a discriminatory education system which ultimately made them victims of circumstance. During filming, she became a target for the Chinese Government with herself, her friends and her family constantly being surveilled and sometimes interrogated by government officials. The film has since been screened at numerous festivals in over 25 countries including the Human Rights Watch Film Fest. Wang and her work have been recognized across many platforms and has won several accolades including the Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking.
These 5 heroines epitomize what it means to be a woman: fearless, resilient and compassionate, all wrapped up in a charming package. They prove that the tenacity of feminine energy comes from all walks of life and transcends the confines of age. This power knows and has no bounds, and it goes to show that we all have our own version of Wonder Woman inside of us. We just need to remember that as women, no matter what we do, the smallest acts make the biggest impacts.