From 2010 to 2020: Notable Moments in Women's Rights
Happy International Women's Day! Here at La Petite Écolière, we think it’s incredibly exciting to look back and reflect on the major milestones we have accomplished and the movements we have formed during the past ten years. This goes double for the progress that has been made in women’s rights.
From the #MeToo movement to strides in filling government seats, women have been making waves this past decade - collectively and individually. So let's take a walk through each year's most notable victories for women.
2010 – Elena Kagan appointed to the Supreme Court
The decade started off on an extremely high note for women as Elena Kagan was nominated and appointed as a Supreme Court Justice in 2010. This was after Kagan was placed as the first female solicitor general in 2009.
Kagan was able to add an incredibly diverse point-of-view to the Supreme Court as she was not only the youngest sitting justice but also the only one who has not had prior judicial experience. While this seems like it would put her at a disadvantage, this allowed for there to be a much more pragmatic view within the court. Finally, Kagan had also made a name for herself as the justice most in touch with pop culture and technology, due to her extensive love and knowledge in comic books, and the work that she put into the Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment case.
"Law matters because it keeps us safe, because it protects our most fundamental rights and freedoms, and because it is the foundation of our democracy." Elenga Kagan
2011 – UN Women is formed
As a conglomeration of the multiple sectors within the United Nations, UN Women was created in 2011 as an entity whose purpose is to empower women globally and push for gender equality worldwide. This organization's creation has served as a milestone in working with multiple government and civil powers to create laws, policies, programs, and services to make sure all are being carried out correctly and are genuinely beneficial to women and girls worldwide.
The creation of this organization was not only a win in 2011 but also a factor that continues to make positive changes for women and girls for years to come.
2012 – The UN outlaws Female Genital Mutilations
On Thursday, December 20, 2012, The UN General Assembly unanimously decided to pass the resolution banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, a practice that was surprisingly still practiced till this decade. This particular decision was a massive step in the fight to end harmful and unethical practices against women and girls.
As a practice that affected about 100 to 140 million women, and girls in the world, outlawing genital mutilation signified a step forward in women's rights and a change in cultural practices and attitudes that are contrary to the health and well-being of women globally.
2013 – The Ban Against Women in Military
In 2013, the 1994 Pentagon decision to prevent women from serving in combat roles in the military was overturned, and the ban was lifted to allow women to take up these positions in the military. This lift on the 90s ban has been able to open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs fro women.
This decision came after many women spoke up about the military needing to catch up to the already present conditions for women on the field as well as realizing the places that they can achieve. Even General Martin E. Dempsey spoke up and stated: "the time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."
2014 – Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize
Although young, Malala made an incredible impact on all of us with her continued initiatives and pushed to preach the need for education for girls and to show how this can contribute to improving their lives. Through her heroic endeavors, survived assassination attempt, and her willingness to continue these efforts in the face of much danger and hate, she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ educational rights. Because of this, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai.
2015 – Saudi Arabian Women Vote
2015 was an incredible high in the achievement of women, from companies stepping up on their paid leave policies to Serena Williams being named Sportsperson of the year by Sports Illustrated, we have had a lot to be excited about. Still, the most winning thing of 2015, is the fact the Saudi Arabian women were able to cast their votes in an election for the first time ever - and the right to stand for election.
Women-only polling stations were set, and Saudi women began to exercise their new right to vote, as they hugged one another in joy and also took pictures of the occasion. While the turn out was not huge, this still marked a considerable step forward in this conservative government system and their ideals of citizenship and women.
2016 – Hilary Clinton’s Presidential Nomination
While Hilary Clinton did lose the 2016 presidential election, her run was no less historic for the decade, as she was the first U.S. woman to lead the ticket of a major party in a presidential election.
While this was not Clinton's first push for presidency, as she ran against Obama in the 2012 election, she started off strong in her 2016 campaign. The iconic phrase "I'm With Her," was even created, as many supported Clinton during her presidency. Again, while she did not win the presidency, Clinton swept the popular vote by receiving 2.9 million votes, which only helped her push for changing the fundamental system of voting.
"Human Rights are women's rights and Women's Rights are human rights." Hillary Clinton.
2017 – Women in the House…and the Senate
After what felt like a loss in women's rights with the election of Trump, women came back in a big way with the creation of the Women's March, now a yearly occurrence that marks the continued efforts to put women's rights at the forefront. But there were also big changes in the House and the Senate.
As of 2017, Congress introduced 104 female House members and 21 female Senators to their ranks, which included the chamber's first-ever Latina, Nevada Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto.
2018 - The #MeToo Movement
While the Me Too Movement truly gained traction and media attention with the popularization of the Weinstein case, it's actual start was in 2006 as a foundation to assist survivors of sexual crimes and violence, with its main focus being on women of color. The hashtag that rose up in the fall 2017 and all of 2018 caught the attention of many celebrities and sparked a conversation of women's rights not only being a focus on the abuse that occurs to affluent white women, but to the women and girls of color who are most at risk for this violence every day.
The Me Too Foundation, and the movement that has dawned from it, further expand the conversation of women and girls' rights, and how we can protect all who face sexual violence.
2019 - The Climate Change Fight led by Greta Thunberg
This past year, we saw not only an increase in talks of climate change, but we saw that young girls were leading this push for global climate action. Who was the head of this campaign? Greta Thunberg, a young 16-year-old Swedish activist, has led the voices of young women in bringing forth the reality of climate change.
As well as Thunberg, young women of color also make up much of the campaign, such as 17-year-old, Helena Guainga from the Ecuadorian Amazon, who has called out officials for the unacceptable negligence of the climate.