It’s International Women’s Day today, and the 2016 slogan is Pledge for Parity. I went down to the official International Women’s Day website today (and you should to) for my pledge on helping women and girls achieve their ambition. I think that this is the first step in improving the status of women in my country, where the female gender is often assumed as the submissive gender and the oppressed one as well. Yet again, I’ve seen many cases where girls overthrow other girls for selfish reasons, and to be honest, if you won’t support your fellow girls, who will?
Here are my favourite female fighters of my generation (except for the first one, of course).
1. Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn is known as the most graceful, captivating actress in Hollywood history through iconic movies like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, and my personal favourite, Funny Face. Hepburn’s humanitarian work as the Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF began in the 1950s. She dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the poorest nations. Among the countries Hepburn had contributed are Ethopia, Venezuela, Turkey, Ecuador, Sudan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Somalia.
She was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the US president George Bush, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, and UNICEF honoured Hepburn by unveiling a statue, The Spirit of Audrey at UNICEF’s New York headquarters.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is one famous gem. Even Kang Gary pretended to be on the phone with him on one of his Running Man challenges. Her first directorial film is a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner. Her adopted children were from Asia and South Africa (and she very well made sure that they learn about their original roots and cultures). She underwent preventive double mastectomy and oophorectomy after learning that breast cancers and ovarian cancer runs genetically in her family. She’s one strong woman.
Jolie’s humanitarian work begins after the filming of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and she went with the United Nations High Comissionner of Refugees to refugee camp visits, donates USD 1 million for the cause, and later became a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR. Jolie also established Jolie-Pitt Foundation in order to contribute towards wildlife conservation and community development.
Jolie is also the energy of human rights campaigns, and have founded Jolie Legal Fellowhsip to advicate the development of human rights. They have facilitated child protection efforts in Haiti in the 2010 earthquake and promoted the democratic process in Libya in 2011. Jolie co-launched the UK’s first academic Centre on Women, Peace and Security to promote for global women’s rights issues.
3. Emma Watson
Hermione Granger is more than her scary-brilliant methods of jinxing, solving, sneaking, and time-travelling. Today, the famous Harry Potter actress is well known for her fights on feminism and women rights all around the world. July 2014 marks the month she was appointed the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and has promoted education rights among girls. She launched the HeForShe campaign, an advocate for men to support gender equality. For her fights on feminism, Watson was dubbed TIME’s top 100 most influential people in 2015.
4. Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate to date. She was well-known for standing up towards the Taliban when was denied education rights as a girl. Her experience in the oppression against girls had inspired her to be a politician instead of her original ambition as a doctor. At the age of 18, she has already obtained Honorary Canadian Citizenship, a honorary doctorate from University of King’s College in Halifax and has given speeches and talks on female education all over the world.
5. Miley Cyrus
Before everyone goes saying “what the hell is she celebrated for”, Miley Cyrus’ philanthropy work goes under the shadows of her image of a quirky experimental pop star. Cyrus is an advocate of helping homeless youth and is perhaps the John Lennon of the modern world. Throughout her career, she had participated in charity singles, and supported more that 50 well-known charities, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, NOH8 Foundation and many others. Her most current and notable work were her launch of Happy Hippie Foundation, where she fights to give love and home to homeless youth, as well as stop judgement. To date, 1,539 youth were provided with programs and services and 450 workshops were provided to youth to help them develop life skills and engage in creative arts under her Happy Hippie Foundation.