We at Levo continually looked up to different women last year for their actions that were courageous, inspiring, and straight-up awesome. We would discuss it amongst ourselves, think about writing a story on the subject matter, (sometimes write a story,) and give our thanks to these women silently for helping us do what we do. Although it was very tough, we managed to select the top 10 most incredible feats by women in 2014. If you can only remember one thing from last year’s news, let it be these outstanding accomplishments by females.
- Malala Yousafzai and Maryam Mirzakhani Win Big.
Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman ever to win the Fields Medal, also known as the “Nobel Prize for mathematics.” Mirzakhani, who is a professor of mathematics at Standford, won for her “contributions to fields such as geometry and dynamical systems.” Her work focuses on understanding symmetry in surfaces that curve, like spheres or doughnuts.
17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in October. In 2012, global attention was drawn to Malala’s fight for women’s and children’s education in Pakistan when a gunman attacked her on the way to school. She has since partnered with UN Global Education First Initiative and even has her own holiday.
- Women Take Twitter by Storm.
After Elliot Rodgers committed his misogynistic killing spree at UC Santa Barbra, the hashtag #YesAllWomen started trending on Twitter. Users were sharing their personal stories about the everyday harassment and violence they experience as women, which brought a lot of awareness to the issue. After the Ray Rice scandal, women took to social media to share their own stories of abuse with the hashtag #WhyIStayed. Their experiences humanized a significant issue and reminded us that victim-blaming happens all too frequently.
- Emma Watson Launches the HeForShe Campaign.
Emma Watson’s September speech at the UN both announced HeForShe and caused quite a stir online. Some people supported the campaign, which aims to get men to stand up for women’s rights, while others did not. No matter what you think of Watson’s brand of feminism, she brought important issues into the spotlight and got everyone talking and that can only be a good thing.
- Beyoncé’s VMA Performance Features Fierce Feminism.
Beyonce’s self-titled album, although released last December, has become this year’s feminist anthem. With tracks like “Flawless,” “Jealous,” and “Pretty Hurts,” Bey reminded us of the importance of womanhood and owning our identities as strong women. Her VMA performance in August not only reinforced key messages from the album but also flashed excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, “We Should All be Feminists.” If you haven’t watched it yet, you definitely should.
- The Fight Against Campus Assault Goes National.
In January of this year, President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, and since then campus assault has gained more attention. 74 colleges currently have active sexual violence investigations, with many schools taking steps to implement affirmative consent laws. This year has seen a significant increase in media coverage of campus assaults, bringing visibility and momentum to the movement against sexual violence on college campuses.
- Mo’ne Davis Wins the Little League World Series.
In August, thirteen-year-old Mo’ne Davis became the first girl ever to pitch a shutout game in the Little League World Series. In fact, she’s only the 18th girl to play in the World Series overall. Her impressive feat landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated and earned her their prestigious ‘Sports Kid of The Year’ title–and we couldn’t agree more.
- Women Authors Take Over.
This was a great year for female authors. Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, and Roxanne Gay all released memoirs that received critical acclaim and sparked debate. Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Goldfinch. Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed both saw their work adapted to film in Gone Girl and Wild respectively.
- Facebook and Apple Cover the Cost of Egg Freezing.
Since October, when Facebook and Apple announced they would cover the costs of female employees freezing their eggs, there has been intense debate about whether this helps or hurts women. Regardless of which side you stand on, let’s hope that this paves the way for future healthcare perks specifically designed for women.
- Female Marvel Superheroes Get Their Moment.
Fun fact: Approximately 47 percent of comic book fans are women, according to Facebook data. After considering this data, Marvel made a large effort to increase its female presence this year. In October, it announced that its Captain Marvel movie would feature a female lead. Also, throughout last year, 13 new series with female leads were launched. Additionally, ABC TV’s Agent Carter showcases a strong woman as the main character while The Woman of Marvel Instagram account displays various women superheroes and employees working for the company daily.
- Shonda Rhimes Takes Over Television.
We’re fans of Shonda Rhimes, best known as the executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, especially because September was a good month for her. Not only did a new show of hers, How to Get Away with Murder, premiere that same month making Thursday officially “Shonda night” on ABC (something that hasn’t happened since 1982 when three shows by the same producer aired back-to-back-to-back) but she also received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and gave an empowering speech about how other women laid the groundwork for her success.