From the unafraid Malala Yousafzai who became the youngest person and the first Pakistani woman to win the Nobel Prize to Arunima Sinha, world’s first female amputee to scale the lofty Everest; women from around the world became the show-stealers of the passing decade.
In 2016, the Democratic Party leader Hilary Clinton set a landmark by becoming the first woman to become a presidential nominee in the USA.
And boldly breaking stereotypes, an Australian MP named Larissa Waters moved her motion in the Parliament while feeding her baby. Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg rose up the standards of activism by becoming the youngest climate activist and Time’s Person of The Year.
2016 saw thousands of Polish women taking to the streets protesting against their government furthering ban on abortion, thus infringing their agency over their own lives and bodies. Similar protests took place in the USA as well in 2019. In 2015, Argentinian women fiercely demanded an end to gender-based violence in their country and raised their voice against the murder of a young pregnant girl by her boyfriend.
And not to say, these powerful women did succeed to bend their respective authorial agencies to listen to their demands. For instance, very recently, Saudi Arabia eased several age-old restrictions on women, enabling them to travel and drive around on their own, without the ‘supervision’ of male guardians.
Similar lifting of archaic bans and ‘breaking-the-silence’ was seen in India too.
The Indian Women Who Reigned:
Despite the unfortunate rise in rape-incidents and several other gender-based crimes, Indian women set up brave resistance and fought back against it all. From the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape to innumerable others, every time violence spread its claws, women solidarity grew only stronger.
A landmark victory was the Triple Talaq Verdict in 2017, which declared the Islamic practice of divorce by stating “talaq” triple times as unconstitutional. Equally enthralling was the Supreme Court verdict on Sabrimala issue, which struck down the ban on menstruating women’s (10-50 years) entry into the temple, calling the custom almost like “untouchability” and allowed women of all age groups entry.
The decade also saw outstanding women who made the country proud. Amongst them are- Gita Gopinath, the first woman to become the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund; Hima Das, popularly known as the “Dhing Express” won gold at the IAAF World Under 20 Athletics Championship; Mary Kom won her sixth Boxing World Championship; Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Renuka Jagtiani and Nirmala Sitharaman, the first full-time Finance Minister of India made it to the prestigious ‘Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women’ list.
There hardly remains a field that remained unconquered by Naari-Shakti this historic decade. Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman fighter pilot to fly solo. And Sub Lieutenant Shivangi became the first woman pilot of the Indian Navy. Also, the Army will be commissioning the first batch of women soldiers in 2021.
And not to say, the #MeToo Movement, that began in the West with the American film producer Harvey Weinstein facing several rape allegations, paced in India too, leading up to a number of women openly speaking against sexual offences by men, several of whom are famed figures.
The passing decade, thus, was witness to the ‘Women-Wave’ taking over the world, one whose flame will not cease with the close of 2019, but only grow stronger and brighter with the birth of the new decade!
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