I am sure many of you have seen the box-office breaking movie called “Wonder Woman.” Although this was a huge step for women’s equality, there is still a lack of acknowledgment towards women leaders today. Take the field of technology: Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates are very well known, but you probably don’t recognize the name Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube. So I’ve decided to help you, the reader, out by listing the wonder women of today whom I have found through research and through people here at Exeter this summer.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: This woman studied biodiversity, and learned how a plant’s function connects to human health. She believes that plants are crucial to the growth of human health and the earth. With her forward thinking, she became the first woman president of Mauritius and is working towards developing the science and technology departments in Africa.
Elizabeth Warren: “She inspires me because she is so strong-willed,” said Allison Kim, an Access Exeter student. Since she became Senator of Massachusetts in 2013, Elizabeth Warren has established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and continuously fights back against the racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination that shadow over the diversity of America.
Cholita Climbers: Mountains in Bolivia just got more colorful. Cooks of mountaineers, 11 women, all aged 42-50 decided to scale up their mountain gear. But there’s a twist: these women take pride in their country and, so they wear their indigenous bright skirts and shiny jewelry. With each step they take, they get closer to overcoming the sexism in climbing.
Hillary Clinton: “She is a fighter for women’s rights and equal rights overall. I really respect her,” said Avery Fratto, an Access Exeter Student. Hillary Clinton wants all of us to know that “no one gets through life alone.” This saying stuck with her throughout her life as she helped out in multiple charities by touching the lives of people in need one by one. She served the United States as First Lady, Senator for 8 years, Secretary of State and most recently ran for president. She preaches that no matter our differences, anyone can be whoever they want to be.
Brenda Chapman: Many of us have seen the animations “Cinderella”, “Snow White” or “Sleeping Beauty”, and have realized that despite the beautiful art, they all give the same message: a princess should wait for her prince to save her. However, when Brenda Chapman pursued a job as an animation artist, she and her coworkers decided to make princesses the strong 21st Century women they should be. That is why Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” was a go-getter, and Belle was smart and fearless. Not only that but, when Brenda Chapman got to direct the Oscar winning animated feature film, “Brave”, she went above and beyond: Merida, the main character, was relatable, but most importantly stood up for herself. Brenda Champna has truly inspired young girls through her movies.
Megan Rapinoe: She competes in the National Women’s Soccer League for the team Seattle Reign FC. Her unique style helped the US Women’s National Soccer team, win gold in the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Rapinoe won ESPN’s 2011 ESPY Award for Best Player of the Year and was the first player in the Olympics to ever score an Olympic Goal, directly off a corner kick without contact by another player. But most importantly, Megan Rapinoe is a strong advocate for LGBT rights and continues to support the LGBT community by giving it shelter and the resources they need.
Manal Al-Sharif: After she discovered that there is no law against driving in Saudi Arabia, Manal Al-Sharif decided to join a group of activists in Saudi Arabia who believe that women should not conform to this “forbidden rule.” To raise awareness about an upcoming event where women in Saudi-Arabia test the driving ban, she took a video of herself driving. After posting her video, she received many threats and was arrested two days later. This raised awareness, and on June 17, 2011, hundreds of women including herself drove in cars and broke the taboo. Manal al-Sharif continues to advocate for women in Saudi Arabia and is willing to do whatever it takes.
The last “Wonder Woman” is not one but many women. Whether it’s moms, protestors, teachers, these people on the sidelines take time out of their lives to inspire young girls in the little ways that they can. From taking a stand in the streets, to just teaching a little girl good morals, can really go a long way.
Well, with that all said, I hope you can remember these names and their efforts to empower girls through their truly inspirational stories. And the next time you hit a rough spot, whatever gender you are, remember these Wonder Women and keep going strong.