For those moments when ‘the man’ gets you down
We all have those moments when we doubt ourselves and our performance in the work force. It can feel like nothing is going right and you’re being suffocated by the pressure.
Below are 5 insanely amazing women for when your confidence needs a boost:
- Malala Yousafzai
I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.’
On October 9, 2012, a gunman boarded Malala’s school bus in Pakistan, asked her name and shot her three times in the head. Her crime? Speaking out about education for girls. Fear lost, and bravery triumphed. A figurehead of our time, the shooting of Malala was a watershed moment, propelling a teenage girl into an overnight stateswoman for equal rights. In 2013, Time magazine listed Malala Yousafzai as one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’. On 10 October 2014, Malala co-received the Nobel Peace Prize. Lest us forget, she is only 18 years old and currently studying at Oxford University.
- Nora Ephron
‘I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.’
Journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, director…she did it all. Nora Ephron battled gender inequality in an industry that still misrepresents women in front of the cameras and behind the scenes too. Hitting her stride as a journalist at the Post she soon made a name for herself as a Hollywood screenwriter responsible for, perhaps, the greatest romantic comedy of all-time: ‘When Harry Met Sally’. In a commencement address in 1996, to her old women’s liberal-arts college in Wellesley, she would famously say: ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.’
- Valentina Tereshkova
‘If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?’
In 1963, Valentina, a former textile worker from the Soviet Union became the first woman in space, orbiting the earth forty-eight times. She put the previous four American astronauts – all male – to shame with their combined total of thirty-six. Not only that, she logged more flight time than the total combined times of every American astronaut who had flown before her. She was only 26 years old. Right on, sister.
- Coco Chanel
‘The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.’
Coco Chanel didn’t just challenge the gender norms of the time through her own personal life and career – her clothes set the female body free and redesigned its silhouette. Men’s clothes became women’s too: Breton tops, crewneck sweaters, trousers, flat heels and suits. Her own figure – boyish frame, cropped hair and tanned skin – fast became a fashionable rejection of the traditional feminine ideal. Not only that, her dresses flipped two fingers up to restrictive corsets. Vogue quickly dubbed her little black dress ‘the garçonne’ (the little boy look).
- Aung Sang Suu Kyi
“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.”
Burmese opposition politician Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest at the hands of Burma’s military regime for her pro-democracy campaigning, only gaining release in 2010 following an international campaign to see her freed. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with the committee stating, “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades.”