Column: Women dominated 2017

"Wonder Woman" was one of 2017's top grossing movies. The movie empowers women and fights for equality. Image source: Wonder Woman.

Sexual violence, the wage gap and gender equality are only a few of the challenges women face today. Women still have work to do to shatter the glass ceiling, but rarely do I see our world celebrating the accomplishments women have already made.

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for women. Reaching new heights in politics, entertainment and humanitarian work, women have dominated this past year more than ever before. Women broke invisible and physical boundaries, some easier than others, all throughout this tumultuous year.

As 2018 begins, I would like to take this column to appreciate and applaud the amazing accomplishments women crushed last year.

Patty Jenkins

We all know the empowering movie, “Wonder Woman,” which came out in 2017. It starred Gal Gadot, and it shattered box office records, grossing over one billion dollars. The critically- acclaimed film is a portrayal of a courageous female superhero that exhibits kindness, valor and ambition. She acts as a role model and show girls what women are capable of.

The amazing director behind this film is Patty Jenkins, a beacon of hope and empowerment for women everywhere. Not only is she the highest paid female director of all time, securing an eight million dollar pay check for Wonder Woman 2, but more importantly, she believes in the importance of being a female mentor to other girls.

In an interview with Variety, Jenkins said “I feel a real obligation to be open to help everyone. I really think that ‘Wonder Woman’ is a loving character to all.”

Jenkins is breaking boundaries for future female directors and making it more plausible for women to be treated equally in Hollywood.

Catherine Pugh

Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh removed all confederate statues in Baltimore overnight after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.

Not only did Pugh risk backlash and violence directed towards her from Confederate sympathizers, but she made a brave decision that other government leaders have been too afraid to make. 

Nadia Murad

Nadia Murad is part of the Yazidi community in the Middle East. She was abducted and enslaved by ISIS along with thousands of other Yazidi women. Murad was forced became a sex slave and watched her family slaughtered in front of her eyes.

Nevertheless, Murad was able to escape her captivity and became a public advocate for Yazidi women and all women still in ISIS captivity. With Murad’s fight to help survivors of war crimes, the United Nations Security Council approved an unprecedented resolution to open an investigation into the war crimes committed by ISIS against Yazidi people.

Murad bravely said in an address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, “I will go back to my life when women in captivity go back to their lives, when my community has a place, when I see people accountable for their crimes.”

Jodi Kanton, Megan Twohey and “Silence Breakers”

Fearless female “Silence Breakers” have held wrongdoers accountable throughout 2017. These “Silence Breakers” include actresses in Hollywood, who have courageously spoken out about being sexually victimized by major Hollywood businessmen including Harvey Weinstein

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Not only have many actresses spoken up with valor to end sexual assault, but two female reporters for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, were the first people to write an article exposing Weinstein, as well as other perpetrators.

“This story had the potential to make a big impact, and we had the ability not just to expose people, but to have them face consequences as a result,” Twohey said in an interview with Marie Claire about the duo’s exposé.

By revealing decades of assault and hush money that Weinstein and other Hollywood businessman used, Kantor and Twohey sparked a conversation that finally held Weinstein and powerful people like him accountable.

Women still have work to do to reach full equality in this society, but we need to take a moment to appreciate the goals women have already achieved. To all the women who marched in D.C. this past year, spoke up for others that could not speak themselves or who decided that time is up — thank you for making 2017 one of the most powerful years for women.