Top 10 Women Fighting For Equality On International Women’s Day

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March 8 (today) is International Women’s Day, and in honor of the holiday, The Inquisitr would like to highlight the work of 10 women who are fighting for equality on this special day.

Malala Yousafzai

The 21-year-old Pakistani women’s rights activist, who has been blogging about women’s rights in her native Pakistan since she was around 11-years-old, is most famously known for being the victim of an assassination attempt. On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot into her bus, injuring the teenager and two other girls. Though shot in the head, she recovered from her injuries. She is now an advocate for the right of girls to be given an education

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”

Tarana Burke

Although the #MeToo movement may seem like a recent thing, having gained national attention in the wake of sexual harassment scandals against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men in the past couple of years, it actually dates back to 2006.

Now the senior director of Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, according to Biography, Burke says she came up with the idea for the name of her movement when she was counseling a young victim of sexual abuse. Not knowing what to say, Burke simply told the young lass, “me too.”

“When one person says, ‘Yeah, me, too,’ it gives permission for others to open up.”

Amber Tamblyn

The actress and poet told Bustle in 2017 that being a women’s rights activist wasn’t a choice; the role was thrust upon her simply by being a woman. In addition to her acting career, she’s an advocate for women’s reproductive rights, women’s access to health care, and a supporter of Democrats whom she believes can advance women’s rights.

“There’s no such thing as non-activism in the life of a woman… that’s a privilege that you get to have if you don’t need to be fighting for either your life or art or body.”

Wagatwe Wanjuki

The problem of sexual assault on college and university campuses across the United States is largely underreported and, even worse, often swept under the rug by officials. So says Wagatwe Wanjuki, herself a survivor of campus sexual assault, according to Huffington Post. Since her ordeal at Tufts University in the late aughts, Wanjuki has become an advocate for victimized women to come forward, and for universities to take their allegations seriously.

“At the end of the day schools need to do their ethical and legal duty to prevent and properly respond to rape on campus.”

Grace Campbell

Across the world, many women and girls are either too poor to afford menstrual care products, don’t have access to them, or have to pay sales taxes on them the same as they would any other “non-essential” product. Campbell, founder of The Pink Protest, says that menstruation denies girls the opportunity to attend school for several days out of each month, as well as leads to social stigma for the girls themselves. The problem is called “period poverty,” and it’s bigger than anyone thinks.

Campbell’s movement is multifaceted. Its goals are to provide free or reduced-cost menstrual products to women and girls who cannot afford them, to lobby governments to provide free menstrual supplies in schools, and to lobby governments to eliminate taxes on menstruation products.

Ann-Marie Wilson

You may have heard of Female Genital Mutilation; it’s the act of physically removing the clitoris of a pubescent or pre-pubescent girl. The tribal practice is believed to limit a woman’s sexual pleasure and make her more “pure” for marriage, and it’s been universally condemned by human rights organizations worldwide.

Wilson says that, though the practice is largely limited to Africa and the Middle East, it goes on in developed countries, too, such as the United Kingdom. Through her organization 28 Too Many, she’s working to get the practice taken more seriously by police and family services professionals in the U.K., as well as working with victims in the 28 countries in which the practice is most prevalent.

Malika Saada Saar

Saar, according to a 2015 MSNBC report, is something of a women’s rights activist at-large, spending her career advocating for women’s and girls’ human rights through a variety of advocacy issues. For example, though her work with the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, she lobbied for a federal ban on the jail/prison practice of shackling pregnant mothers.

“Every child has the right to come into this world free and every mother, regardless of who or where she is, possesses to the right to a healthy, dignified childbirth, unencumbered by the harm and shame of shackles.”

Susan Still

After enduring over a decade of horrific domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, Still hired a lawyer and eventually got her husband locked behind bars for 36 years, which at the time was the longest prison sentence ever given to a domestic abuser excluding those who killed their victims.

These days, Still is a traveling speaker, teaching women about the problem of domestic violence and encouraging them to seek help.

Blessing Okoedion

Like FGM and period poverty, human trafficking is an issue that doesn’t get discussed as much. And though it affects men and women, women bear the brunt of it. Across the world, untold numbers of women and girls are sold, forced, or tricked into human trafficking, usually forced to work as sex slaves.

Blessing was one such woman. According to Crux, at a young age, she was lured to Italy with a promise of a job working at a computer shop. However, it turned out she had been lured into human trafficking, and she was forced to work as a prostitute before she was rescued by an order of nuns. These days, she works as an advocate against human trafficking, trying to convince governments of the need to take the problem seriously.

She says that her advocacy against human trafficking is what keeps her going.

“This is how I endure.”

Nancy Mereska

In certain communities in the United States, particularly in rural areas of the Southwest, girls as young as 11 are forced into marriages to older men (and sometimes young boys), in certain fundamentalist Mormon sects.

The problem isn’t limited to the U.S.: it goes on in Canada, too, and through her organization, Stop Polygamy In Canada, she vows to stop it.

“In 2003 I saw the stories of [child marriage victims] on different shows on television. I was totally shocked that Mormon polygamy exists.”