WOMEN'S DAY SPECIAL: THEY MADE THE WORLD STAND AND APPLAUD FOR THEMSELVES
In taking stock of the year, it feels all the more essential to remember the moments in which women held power—when they stole the show, won the game, inspired action, changed the culture, or simply sparked joy in the midst of it all. Let's have a look back at a few of them.
1. Esther Duflo wins Nobel Prize in Economics
Becoming only the second (and youngest) woman to win the award Esther Duflo, 46, became a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, alongside her husband Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. Duflo and her colleagues worked on an approach to alleviate global poverty and explored the causes of poverty, and how those living in poverty respond to education, healthcare, agriculture and other programmes.
2. First-ever image of a Black Hole is made possible scientist Katie Bouman
The world got its first image of a black hole in April, thanks to Katie Bouman, a 29 year-old PhD candidate in the US. Bouman and her team created the algorithm that led to the image of a supermassive black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy. The image will help revolutionize the understanding of black holes going forward.
3. The U.S. Women's National Team winning the Women's World Cup
The U.S. Women's National Team lit up the summer after winning its fourth World Cup in a game against France. What followed was a joyous ticker-tape parade and even more attention paid to the team's suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. Back in March, the team sued for unequal conditions and pay inequity, and fans quickly caught on, often chanting "equal pay" around the team.
4. Greta Thunberg sparks a global movement for #ClimateAction
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist from Sweden, became the face of a global movement for climate change in 2019. Thunberg’s movement started with her skipping school and camping out in front of the Swedish Parliament, demanding action to protect the planet for future generations, and grew to a global strike. In September 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic on an emissions-free boat to speak at the UN Climate Summit in New York, where she condemned world leaders for their lack of action. “You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” she said. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.”
5. NASA completed its first all-female spacewalk
Last October, two American women completed NASA's first ever all-female spacewalk when astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went outside the International Space Station to replace a power controller. The spacewalk lasted seven hours and 17 minutes and even included a call with President Trump, according to the New York Times. While there was an all-female spacewalk scheduled back in March, NASA didn't have enough of the appropriately-sized spacesuits to accommodate the astronauts.
6. Period. End of Sentence. won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short
The documentary, which takes place in rural India, explores the taboos and stigma that come along with menstruation. Speaking about the attention the film received, Zehtabchi told The Hollywood Reporter, "There's millions of stories about menstruation, and I just think that we need to hear women's voices and we need to learn about their experiences."
7. Joy Harjo became the first Native American U.S. poet laureate
Succeeding poet Tracy K. Smith, Joy Harjo was announced as the United State's 23rd Poet Laureate, making her the first Native American poet to hold the position.
8. Women dominated awards
Starting in February, women of color made history at the Oscars when Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler both became the first black people to win costume design and production design, respectively. Domee Shi, the first woman to ever direct a Pixar short, also took home an award for best animated short. Sandra Oh became the first Asian woman to host the Golden Globes, while Rachel Chavkin took home the Tony Award for best direction of a musical. Hoebe Waller-Bridge swept the Emmys, taking home three awards for her show Fleabag, while Kacey Musgraves won the Grammy Award for album of the year, and two female authors, Susan Choi and Sarah M. Broom, earned the top awards in fiction and nonfiction at this year’s National Book Awards.
9. Finland forms government of five parties all led by women, with youngest Prime Minister in the world
Sanna Marin, 34, became the world’s youngest Prime Minister after Finland’s elections. In December, she was sworn in as the head of a coalition of five parties, all headed by women. Marin is the third woman, and youngest Prime Minister in Finnish history.
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