In the land of eternal options nearly at hand’s reach and the endless strive to finally wipe those glass-ceiling sheds off our working clothes, 2017’s International Women’s Day tells the tale of four strong, dynamic women. How have they all influenced us, and what do they all have to say?
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has long ago been placed on the pedestal of global achievements: she is the first woman elected as head of state for the entire continent of Africa, and is the world’s first elected black female president.
Commonly referred to as the “African Iron Lady”, Ellen was granted the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her “nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Tip for the future: “if your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
Madonna Louise Ciccone is a quadruple threat: as a singer, songwriter, actress and businesswoman – Madonna rues numerous spheres. Known for her sultry voice and groundbreaking, boundary-pushing lyrics and music videos, Madonna trumps the mainstream pop music industry and has done so for over 3 decades.
Madonna bathes in controversy, which explains why her public image is so polemical (to say the least) – but one factor is irrefutable – her charitable work for “Raising Malawi”, a non-profit organization she founded, is beyond virtuous. “Raising Malawi” supports orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through health, education and community support.
Tip for the future: “poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another”
Madonna has adopted twin sisters from Malawi (photo: official Instagram)
Malala Yousafzai, a 19 year-old activist for female education, doesn’t just so happen
to be the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate – having grown up in northwest Pakistan, she was denied an education justified by the local Taliban solely for being
of the female persuasion, and decided to fight for her and other girls’ right. Unaccepting the ban from attending school, Malala had become a world-known phenomenon, advocating on various international platforms.
This dimpled, brown-eyed teenager is anything but plain – in 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala in the head. Despite what many may refer to as common sense, Malala refused to be intimidated by the clear death-threat circling above her and claimed she will not back down until her very basic demand is met – to allow girls an education worldwide.
Tip for the future: “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Aung Sang Suu Kyi
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is vastly known as the Burmese human rights champion, a title not granted easily, considering Burma was a country dominated by a military government since 1962. Once graduated Oxford University, Aung returned home to find the Burmese junta violently suppressed a mass uprising, killing thousands. Aung answered her calling, dedicating her life to fighting for freedom in Burma. Consequently, she was placed in custody for 21 years, yet eventually her voice was heard and she had become the First and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. She is also the first woman to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar.
Beyond her ongoing efforts which have won her the Nobel Prize for Peace, Aung’s revolutionary strategic ways at conflict solving matters prove she perfects at giving the people what she knows they need, not necessarily what they think they want. Carrying the message of non-violence and freedom to all, Myanmar, once a land of many conflicting ethnic minorities and held together only by dictators, is now slowly opening its gates to the promise of tomorrow.
Tip for the future: “you should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”