Words have power, and powerful people use their words wisely to influence and wield change. It is, in fact, through persuasive poignant language, coupled with the corresponding action, that lives, societies, and worlds are both created and destroyed. One word can be so powerful that it serves as the basis for a nation’s identity, the summarization of an individual’s legacy, or the impetus for a social movement or a kind of revolution (you’ve probably figured out we’re not talking about the expletive f-word. Great!).
It is with that reality in mind that it is easy to understand why Merriam Webster has, in its annual year-end report, identified the most researched word this year as feminism (one of our favorite F-words).
Definition of feminism
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
— feminist play \ˈfe-mə-nist\ noun or adjective
That’s right, 2017, with all of its wildly unprecedented twists and turns, will undoubtedly be marked as the year of the woman.
Whether in America or on the global stage, women of countless ages, interests, vocations, and nuanced backgrounds are walking in their power, standing in their truth, and shifting society.
We’ve created a brief but insightful list of a fraction of feminism’s most fearless champions. These women, either overtly in their work or more subtly by the mere fact that they dare to do whatever it is they do, embody notions, ideals, and a stature of equality that should inspire us all to defy conventional limitations. They represent feminism in its purest sentiment and we salute them here.
Yara Shahidi – Young actor, artist, activist. She has been speaking to millennials about the power they have as artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and social influencers.
Kamala Harris – This newly elected California senator is all about women’s health; she is a strong voice for women in the Senate and on Twitter.
Angela Rye – Attorney and the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in Washington, DC. She is a political commentator on CNN and an NPR political analyst.
Alyssa Milano – Actress and activist with a powerful voice on Twitter. She also helped to spearhead the #METOO campaign.
Ava Marie DuVernay- Award-winning director and executive producer, Ava is the first African American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of $100 million.
Kristen Gillibrand – This New York senator has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of abused women; she was a lawyer before a senator. She also, most recently, made headlines as the target of a (we’ll go ahead and call it was it is: sexist) Donald Trump Twitter tantrum.
Maxine Waters – The most senior of the 12 African American women currently serving in the United States Congress, Maxine is a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district.
Hillary Clinton – is an American politician who was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, and the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election.