March 8 is International Women’s Day, a holiday dedicated to the celebration of the achievements of women around the world. And boy, oh boy, are there a lot of women worth celebrating right now. From those taking political stands in a tumultuous time, to those pushing social change with their commitment to, well, being themselves, here are some of the women that have inspired us with their work and achievements:
The Activist: Emma González
You know her from her speech, from her school, from the tragic shooting this last Valentine’s Day. You may know her classmates as well: Cameron Kasky, Sarah Chadwick, David Hogg, to name a few, have become outspoken figures in the movement that followed the national tragedy in Parkland, Florida.
After enduring a school shooting that left 17 dead, Emma González and a group of other teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started a movement to push for stronger Gun Control, which they call #NeverAgain. Through social media and now major news networks, these teens went from the funerals of their friends to the political stage, where they are demanding that politicians pass legislation that would make AR-15s (the gun used in several past mass shootings) and other military grade weapons illegal for civilians to purchase.
To get involved in the movement or donate to the cause, check out their website.
The Actress: Daniela Vega
Chilean actress and singer Daniela Vega is in the news because of her performance in the film A Fantastic Woman, which just won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but also because she was the first openly transgender person to present at the Oscars.
Of the film and of herself, Daniela Vega said in an interview with W Magazine, “When I discovered that I was a woman and I wanted to share it with the people around me and with the world, I discovered that women have an enormous capacity for resilience.” In a time of growing resistance toward the portrayal of trans characters by cis actors, it is refreshing and necessary to see a trans woman playing a trans woman on the silver screen.
For more on A Fantastic Woman (and more of Daniela Vega), check out the website for the film.
The Artist: Janelle Monáe
Musical artist Janelle Monáe made waves with the recent release of her music video, “Make Me Feel.” Not only is the song super catchy—and apparently Prince worked with her on this album, so that’s neat—but it’s also being hailed as a “Bisexual Pop Anthem” among the LGBTQ community.
The music video features Monáe and rumored girlfriend Tessa Thompson, who is known for her part as Charlotte Hale in Westworld, with Monáe flirting with both Thompson and a male actor. To quote the Daily Beast, who put it oh so well: “In the video’s most overtly bisexual scenes, Monáe literally ping-pongs between male and female love interests, running back and forth between Thompson and The Dude or grinding up against each of them in turn. There’s also a scene where Monáe appears to grab her own clone’s ass, which is neither here nor there but is highly relatable.”
For more on Monáe, check out her website.
The Athlete: Chloe Kim
As of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which ended only recently, Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win a medal in snowboarding. Naturally, the 17-year-old is not new to snowboarding success: She racked up four gold medals from the X Games in addition to two gold medals from the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Kim was raised by South Korean immigrants, with her dad as her biggest fan. He quit his job to coach her and drive her to training at the start of her snowboarding career, and calls her his “American dream.” Besides snowboarding, she is fluent in Korean, French, and English, and is known for tweeting about ice cream in the middle of one of her Olympic runs.
For more on Kim, check out her U.S. Ski & Snowboard page.
The Entrepreneur: Sarena Bahad
After working in the tech world for years, Sarena Bahad decided to turn her experience into a tool to help other women and girls get inspired and interested in the tech industry. She founded the @WomenInTech Snapchat channel—which recently won Snapchatter of the Year at the 9th Annual Shorty Awards—as a way for women to learn more about the technology field from women actually working in it.
Each week, a different woman in tech takes over the channel and shares her experience, work, and backstory on how she got into the industry. In an interview with Forbes, Bahad said of the project, “Most of the content that is promoted to young girls on Instagram and Snapchat is typically fashion, make-up, or celebrity gossip… I wanted to help build a community where women learn from one another, inspire one another and can connect with one another from a place of heart.”
For more on WomenInTech, check out their website.