14 Times Women Won In 2014
Leave it to these heroes to show how amazing girls and women were this year.
2014 was an eventful year for women. While there were setbacks, there were also gains that deserve to be celebrated.
Here's a look back at just a few of the accomplishments – big and small – made by badass women this year.
1. The woman who contacted the mothers of the boys who sent her rape threats.
Alanah Pearce, a game reviewer from Brisbane, Australia, became a hero among women on the internet when she revealed that she had been contacting the mothers of the boys who had sent her rape threats on her Facebook page.
2. Malala Yousafzai, for tirelessly campaigning for girls and women's rights worldwide.
Let's not forget she was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (shared with Kailash Satyarthi), nominated for a Children's Nobel Prize, and was one of Time magazine's "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" – all while studying at school.
3. The woman who confronted anti-abortion protesters outside an abortion clinic and told them exactly why they shouldn't be there.
"It's so wrong to make other women feel guilty. So wrong," she said when confronting the anti-abortion protesters, winning the hearts of pro-choice women everywhere.
4. The women in Nigerian villages who repelled an attack from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
According to local media reports, women in the villages of Attagara and Kawuri in Borno State disarmed ten Boko Haram terrorists and stopped them from terrorising their communities.
Nigerian activist Hadiza Bala Usman then started the #BringBackOurGirls movement that travelled worldwide, demanding the release of 200 schoolgirls girls captured by Boko Haram.
5. The women in France who plastered anti-sexual harassment signs on Paris trains.
The feminist group Osez le Féminisme (Dare Feminism) hopes the posters will "expose the insecurity of women in public spaces and especially on public transport" and symbolically reclaim the spaces.
6. The campaigners who fought against misogynistic men who made money from abusing and ridiculing women.
It was all down to the thousands of women who campaigned, signed petitions, and protested against Vine star Dapper Laughs and 'pick up artist' Julien Blanc that meant their creepy, sexist acts were put to an end.
Speaking of misogynistic men, Robin Thicke's latest album bombed this year, reportedly only selling 54 copies in Australia.
7. The geochemist who got LEGO to introduce a set of three female scientists into its collection.
Dr Ellen Kooijman wanted to show girls they could be scientists, and so after launching campaign, she successfully convinced LEGO to launch female astronomer, paleontologist and chemist toys.
8. The doctor who sadly died after overseeing a patient with Ebola – but whose efforts stopped the disease from spreading.
Some claim that Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh saved Nigeria from an Ebola catastrophe. In a Guardian article, reporter Tolu Ogunlesi describes the selfless and life-saving work she did:
According to an account by Ada Igonoh, a young doctor who treated Sawyer – and upon whom it fell to certify him dead – Adadevoh vehemently turned down a request by Sawyer's employers to have him discharged so he could catch a flight to Calabar, a coastal city 750km from Lagos, where he had been due to attend a conference (we are left to imagine what would have followed had Sawyer been allowed to leave Lagos for Calabar).
Igonoh says that from the moment Adadevoh suspected Sawyer might have Ebola – the Liberian had denied contact with an Ebola patient, even though his sister had died of the virus barely two weeks before his arrival in Nigeria – she quarantined him, made contact with the authorities, and ensured the provision of protective materials and Ebola educational material to hospital staff.
9. The mother who wore her daughter's dress to graduation after the teenager was sent home from her prom for wearing it because it was "too short."
Slut-shaming and body-shaming is sadly commonplace for girls and women, but Amy Redwine stood up for her daughter, Violet in this awesome way. She said: "If I thought this dress was inappropriate, I would have never allowed her to wear the dress," and rocked that dress at the graduation ceremony.
10. The lesbian couple who finally got to marry after 72 years together.
11. The two teenagers who convinced the UK government to take action against female genital mutilation.
Thanks to activists Fahma Mohamed and Muna Hassan and a petition they set-up that collected 250,000 signatures, the UK government contacted every school about female genital mutilation (FGM) to raise awareness and bring the issue that harms girls and women to the forefront of politics.
Hassan also told the prime minister to "grow a pair" on national TV, so there's that too.
12. The woman who posed with her colostomy bag, inspiring hundreds of others to do the same.
Bethany Townsend snapped a photo with her colostomy bag – and it went viral. Soon, hundreds of other women felt empowered by her photo and proudly snapped themselves with their bag, too.
13. The women who became political leaders and ran countries.
Women are still vastly underrepresented in politics, and according to UN data, only 21.8 per cent of national parliamentarians were female as of 1 July 2014, a slow increase from 11.3 per cent in 1995.
Having said that, there have been some great strides made by women. Here are just a few: Chile elected Michelle Bachelet president for a second term; Indonesia elected their first female foreign minister, Retno Marsudi; Catherine Samba-Panza was elected interim president of the Central African Republic (the first woman to hold that post); and Kathleen Wynne, the first elected female and openly gay premier in Canada, was reelected in June.
14. The girl who made boys wish they could "throw like a girl."
The incredible Mo'ne Davis, a 13-year-old pitcher from Pennsylvania, became a hero to girls and women across America during the Little League World Series after she became the first girl to win and to pitch a shutout in the history of the series.
Not only that, but young girls could then look up to her as she became the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.