January 2nd, 2015

Women who ruled 2014


By Caroline Davenport

Female professionals and activists have raised the global conversation on gender equality to a new level. Here are just a few of the outstanding women whose work has helped advance the mission worldwide in 2014.

Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for her work on universal education. She became widely known in 2012 when a member of the Taliban shot her in the head on her way home from class. She survived the attack and went on to write two books and found an organization that helps girls around the globe fulfill their dreams of going to school.

Maryam Mirzakhani

Mirzakhani is the first female recipient of the Fields Medal, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. Born and educated in Iran, Mirzakhani moved to the United States to get her doctorate from Harvard University, later becoming a professor at Stanford University. Mirzakhani specializes in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces. At a young age, she won gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad–the first female Iranian student to do so–by landing a perfect score.

Michelle Howard

Admiral Howard became the first female four-star admiral in the Navy in July. Howard has consistently broken down barriers; in 1999, she was the first African American woman to command a naval ship. Howard coordinated the rescue of the commander of the ship Maersk Alabama–the story that inspired the movie “Captain Phillips.” She is now the highest-ranking African American woman in the military.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, the second woman to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice, continues to advocate for women’s rights. This year she penned a scathing dissent in the Hobby Lobby decision, which gave the craft store Hobby Lobby a religious exemption from provisions of the Affordable Care Act that mandated providing birth control to employees. “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage,” she wrote.

Mo’ne Davis

Baseball: Little League World Series-Mid-Atlantic vs West
Davis is a 13-year-old baseball pitcher who pitched a shutout in a Little League World Series. Armed with a 70 mph fastball, she inspired many to “throw like a girl.” Davis was the first Little League player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the youngest-ever “Female Athlete of the Year” named by the Associated Press.

Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz 630
Sulkowicz began carrying her mattress around the Columbia University campus last September to protest the fact that her accused rapist had not been expelled. Her actions incited an international movement known as “Carry That Weight,” bringing light to the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.

Laverne Cox

Actress Laverne Cox speaks after winning a Glamour Woman of the Year award during Glamour Magazine's annual awards ceremony in New York
Cox rose to fame as an actress on the hit show Orange is the New Black and is now a transgender icon and role model. She is the first transgender person to appear on the cover of TIME.

The Women of #WhyIStayed

NewsHour Extra WhyIStayed Tweets Screenshot Editted
Survivors of sexually abusive relationships united on Twitter to share their stories and draw attention to the prevalence of domestic violence. The hashtag created an open dialogue where survivors could be honest about the trauma they experienced, and increased awareness of the reasons people may stay with abusive partners.

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