5 Unforgettable Feminist Heroes of 2018

This year we have seen some amazingly strong women speaking truth to power and fighting for change, often against powerful odds. So many women, in fact, that it’s hard to choose the most impressive feminist heroes.

Here are my top five choices for 2018′s inspirational women.

1. Emma González

Emma Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On February 14, González was in the auditorium of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when the fire alarm went off. Along with her classmates, she ran out of the room — but was soon pushed back into the auditorium. González hid on the floor between folding chairs.

Later that day she learned that 17 students and teachers had been murdered at her high school during the mass shooting. González did not allow herself to succumb to self-pity or depression. Instead, just three days later she transformed her grief into activism and loudly addressed a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale. González called “B.S.” on Trump, the NRA and other politicians for taking no action to prevent “the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred.”

She founded March for Our Lives, along with other Parkland survivors, and addressed a crowd of thousands in Washington, D.C. on March 24. Her powerful speech lasted six minutes and 20 seconds, much of it in silence — the length of time it took a shooter to murder 17 people at her school.

2. Christine Blasey Ford

Christine Blasey Ford

Photo Credit: Ninian Reid/Flickr

Dr. Ford is a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, and a woman who showed extreme courage in stepping forward to testify against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ford addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27 and alleged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in 1982, when they were both high school students. She agonized over the decision to come forward — knowing that Kavanaugh would probably be appointed regardless of her testimony — but she did so anyway.

“I am here today not because I want to be,” Ford said in her opening statement. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty.” She has been the victim of significant backlash in response to her courage, receiving death threats that forced her to go into hiding.

3. Beyoncé

On a different note, the third of my feminist heroes is Beyoncé, who this year became the first black woman to headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.

This festival, which takes place every April in the Coachella Valley of Southern California’s Colorado Desert region, is one of the largest music festivals in the world, well known for its spectacular performances and also for its famous attendees.

Beyoncé, who first became famous in the late 1990s as part of Destiny’s Child, has performed at numerous venues around the world — but she acknowledged the importance of this moment. “Coachella, thank you for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline,” she told a packed audience of around 100,000 attendees.

4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Also making my list is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. On November 6, she defeated Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes part of Queens and the Bronx.

Ocasio-Cortez previously defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley, in the primary election of June 26 – perhaps the biggest upset victory of the 2018 primary elections. Crowley was expected to become a party leader.

Ocasio-Cortez is a progressive, Bronx-born socialist Latina who was a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her platform includes Medicare for All, gun control, the abolition of ICE and an end to private prisons.

She will take office on January 3, 2019, when Democrats will take over control of the House.

5. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Photo Credit: Charles McCain/Flickr

Number five on my list is former first lady Michelle Obama, who I’ve admired for many years. Her work to improve the nutritional standards of school lunches and to encourage young people to exercise is especially impressive. Obama designed her infamous “Let’s Move!” campaign to reduce childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle in young people.

She even gave us a few new dance moves, and she succeeded in crushing Carpool Karaoke with James Corden.

This year, with the publication of the autobiographical “Becoming,” we have been privileged to see a more personal view of Obama’s world — beginning with her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, where the family lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

But it’s not all pretty, as Obama remembers the “angry black woman” messaging, and the time “a sitting US congressman…made fun of my butt.” 

There are triumphs but also huge disappointments as Obama moves through her years as an executive and a devoted mother, to her time spent at the White House. “Becoming” is a work of great intimacy, amazing storytelling and an integrity which demands admiration.

Photo Credit: VCU Capital News Service/Flickr

53 comments

Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson15 days ago

The first gathering devoted to women's rights in the US was held July 19-20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. The principle organizers were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a Mother of 4 from upstate New York and the Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott. Thank you, ladies and for all the other great Feminists out there. Our lives would have been, drudgery, ignorant and unfulfilled without you!

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Barbara S
Barbara S17 days ago

tyfs

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Emma L
Emma L25 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Sophie A
Sophie Aabout a month ago

thanks very much

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L1 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Paula A
Paula A1 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Sabrina D
Sabrina D1 months ago

Thank you for posting it.

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Gloria p
Gloria picchetti2 months ago

Excellent choices!

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Tabot T
Tabot T2 months ago

Thank you for posting! RBG should be on this list every year

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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