The Future is Female – Celebrating Inspiring Women for IWD 2021

By Lauren Hunter

International Woman’s Day was celebrated on the 8th of March but here at the Strathclyde Telegraph we are celebrating it all week long. In 2021 it’s possibly more important than ever to recognise the achievements of women in our own lives and beyond. The last year has seen society divided in so many ways and it is so important that we all take the opportunity to come together and celebrate amazing women who are making huge impacts on the world. Here are just some of them:

Kamala Harris

She’s probably the most famous woman of the year, but it’s for a good reason. In the 2020 Election, Harris became the first ever female US Vice President, as well as the first African American and Indian American one. It’s incredibly powerful that she has taken this position within the current climate, given the blatant inequality the world has seen in terms of misogyny and racism recently. Clearly Kamala Harris is serving to be a massive beacon of female rights and power this International Women’s Day, and the magnitude of this shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of female representation in politics and other high-profile areas.

Greta Thunberg

This one hardly needs introduction, because Greta Thunberg has basically become the face of climate change activism globally, but it’s because of this that she deserves to be marked as an inspiring woman. The 18-year-old began school striking in her home country of Sweden in 2018, which eventually led to similar internationally recognised protests as part of the ‘Fridays for Future’ campaign. Since then, Thunberg has become a figurehead for environmental activism, meeting and challenging many world leaders on climate change. Her impact is particularly resonant in Glasgow, given that the global COP 26 conference will be held in our city later this year. Thunberg has marked a serious change in attitude towards climate change in people of all ages – because, in her own words, ‘no-one is too small to make a difference’.

Malala Yousafzai

Arguably there’s no better representative of what International Women’s Day stands for than Malala Yousafzai. After being near-fatally shot by the Taliban in 2012 for her outspoken activism on women and girls’ right to education in Pakistan, Malala has gone on to become a very prominent figure in representing female rights worldwide. Most notably, she is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize laureate. Malala is a woman who makes us realise how privileged we, as women living in a country where there is equal access to education for all, there’s no doubt that her impact on women and girls who don’t have the same access to opportunities as us is extremely profound.

Mhairi Black

Regardless of political view, Mhairi Black is a distinguished figure in Scottish, and indeed UK, politics. Elected to Westminster in 2015 as the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South at only 20 years old, Black is vocal on issues affecting women, LGBTQ+ and working-class people. Sexism and male dominance in politics can be acute at times, so to have outspoken women like Black representing citizens’ views in Scotland, the UK and around the world is such a necessary presence to inspire the next generation of women to step up and make their views heard. 

The women I’ve discussed are obviously famous in their own rights but being an ‘inspirational woman’ can take many other forms besides. In celebrating International Women’s Day this year, we should focus on the amazing things women achieve every day, often without recognition, and shine a light on that so they too can inspire the next generation of women and girls in doing the same.