Look how far we’ve come. Incredible women have fought for centuries to bring us to where we are today, and while we still have a long way to go, it’s always okay to take a look around and be thankful for the strides made thus far.
Female education activist icon Malala Yousafzai started her first semester at Oxford this semester. Malala helped bring the fight for women’s education to the forefront of Western politics, and it is truly inspiring to see the world gather around a young woman fighting in education.
In the States, 56% of students on campuses nationwide are women, almost half of all doctorates go to women, and women outnumber men in terms of enrolling into higher education straight out of High School. It can be hard to believe the times of Dorothea Beale and Helen Magill were only a few centuries ago. Women did not have the right to education without discrimination in the United States until 1972 with the passing of Title IX, and women have excelled in education exponentially in the decades since. What women have been able to do when given the freedom to do so, is truly remarkable. From Françoise Barré-Sinoussi to Toni Morrison, educated women are amazing.
Birth control has had a long and weird history, and it says a lot that women no longer rely on Lysol (really) to have the sexual freedom they have always deserved. The best times for women in history can be marked distinctly by availability of birth control. Flappers popularized the diaphragm in the twenties. In 1923, Margaret Sanger established the first legal birth control clinic in the United States. She also helped with research into developing the first oral contraceptive. And in 1960, the pill went into production and by 1965, over 6.5 million women were birth control converts. Birth control to many women is freedom; women were no longer pressured into marriage to save face. They could go to school to earn an education, begin a successful career path, and yes, participate in some of the same activities that boys were, without risking their entire future.
Today women have more birth control options than ever, and men are starting to take responsibility, too. It has never been a better time to be a mom who doesn’t want any more kids, or a career woman focusing on work first, or just a woman who enjoys sex; and that’s something worth celebrating.
Women are strong, have a voice, and can implement change. It is truly inspiring to see the initiatives that women are working towards in order to lift each other up. Women like Ashley Graham and Leah Vernon crush the notion of a singular body mold for women while entertainers like Amy Poehler create spaces for young girls to blossom. Women in all fields open the doors for more women to enter and every generation will have more opportunities and more ways to change the world.
Now that’s something to be grateful for.