Women’s History Month 2020 has officially kicked off! Almost 100 years after white women were granted the right to vote in the United States, women worldwide continue to fight for equal pay, bodily autonomy, and other rights. This fight can certainly be daunting, especially if you focus on all the progress we have yet to make. But history teaches us that the impressive resilience of women is a force that can move mountains, and that’s why it’s also important to take time to celebrate each moment of victory. That’s what Women’s History Month is all about, after all: honoring the many achievements that women have already made. In 2020, women are still in the midst of making history as we speak.
In that spirit, let’s take a brief respite from this incredibly hectic 2020 presidential election cycle to celebrate the recent achievements of women in politics, from the US to worldwide.
Women are breaking records in the US presidential election
Women are making game-changing achievements as presidents, presidential candidates, and prime ministers. In the US, more than one woman participated in a presidential debate for the first time ever in history in 2019 when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Tulsi Gabbard took the stage together. This has happened many times over since then, to the point that it now feels completely normal. Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues to kill it on the debate stage, joined by fellow candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Women are making strides as international world leaders
Greece elected its first female president in January 2020, while Slovakia elected its first female president in June 2019. In Finland, Prime Minister Sanna Marin is the youngest person ever to hold office in the country, and she heads a coalition of four women-led parties. This woman-dominated government has already made amazing strides toward gender equality, including a new policy to offer both mothers and fathers the same amount of paid parental leave.
Young women are changing the face of climate activism
In September 2019, 17-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg stunned the world with an incredibly moving speech about how climate change affects youth at the UN Climate Action Summit. Though that video helped bring attention to the issue, Thunberg is just one of many amazing young women who are making their voices heard in climate activism, including indigenous water protector Autumn Peltier, Flint water crisis activist Mari Copeny, and the amazing women of the indigenous-led group Guardians of the Forest, who are protecting the Amazon rainforest.
Young women activists are fighting for gun control, education, and more
Young women activists are also taking the lead on other political issues. Malala Yousafzai has been advocating for women’s education in South Asia since the age of 11; Emma González has fought fearlessly for gun control since surviving the Parkland shooting at age 18; and Marley Diaz started the #100blackgirlbooks campaign when she was just 11 years old.
Women are killing it in US state and local politics
From the “Pink Wave” to two “Rainbow Waves” in 2018 and 2019, women are making major progress in Congress and in local politics. A record-breaking number of women are in Congress at the moment, and several of those women made history with their elections. Rep. Danica Roem of Virginia was the first trans woman to be elected twice to a state legislature. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were the first Muslim women to be elected to their state’s Congress. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland were the first Native women elected to Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the youngest person to be elected to New York’s Congress. Similar victories have happened in local city politics — Indianapolis elected its first openly LGBTQ+ women to city council, Alison Brown.
Women are making history in space
NASA reached a major milestone in October 2019 when the first spacewalk conducted entirely by women was completed. Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch completed the spacewalk, repairing a battery charge/discharge unit on the exterior of the International Space Station and simultaneously inspiring young women in STEM everywhere.
Women are demanding equal pay
The relentless fight for equal pay in all industries is beyond inspiring. The US women’s soccer team filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation to fight for equal pay with the men’s soccer team, and they’ve been tirelessly continuing the battle ever since winning a much-celebrated World Cup in 2019. Recently, they finally got the men’s soccer team to publicly endorse equal pay too. Solidarity!
Women are rising rank in the military
Regardless of how you feel about the military, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the least women-friendly institutions out there. Women have historically been barred from many prominent positions in the military, but those barriers have slowly broken over the years. Finally, in February 2020, a woman passed Special Forces Training for the first time ever. Similar accomplishments have also been made in other countries — in India, Sub Lieutenant Shivangi recently made history as the first woman navy pilot in the country.
The year is just getting started, and if there’s anything history teaches us, it’s that there’s nothing that women can’t do. Happy Women’s History month, everyone!