To say the least, 2016 has been a wild year. I am excited for it to e over, finally, but also frightened for what 2017 brings. This is the year that Donald Trump became the president-elect, and a few days ago on December 19th, was confirmed to be our next president. In a time of chaos, where many are thinking pessimistically, it's helpful to look back at some achievements made in 2016. Females, a broad term that encompasses women of all races, ethnicities,and backgrounds, are afraid of being more belittled than they already are. But still, in 2016, some amazing events have happened around the world that have certainly advanced feminism.
1. Zimbabwe Bans Child Marriages
Zimbabwe is one of four southern African countries with the highest rates of girl child marriages. On January 20th, 2016 it was announced that child marriage in Zimbabwe was banned. Two women (Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi) sought to have the legal age of marriage moved to 18 for both men and women. These young women were victims of child marriage, who were just young girls when married and when they gave birth. It was ruled by Zimbabwe's highest court that marriage before the age of 18 is illegal. Now, young girls aren't married off so young, and have an opportunity to have careers and a life based on their wants.
2. Taiwan Inaugurates the First Female President
In May, the first woman president of Taiwan was elected as president. President Tsai Ing-wen is a candidate from the pro-Independence Democratic Progressive Party. At her inauguration, she said Taiwan would help maintain peace and stability with China. Although Hillary Clinton didn't win the American election in 2016, Taiwan got the opportunity to make history in 2016 by electing their first female president.
3. Hillary Clinton Makes History
Hillary Clinton did not win the 2016 election, although she had significant winning numbers for the popular vote. In July, during the Democratic Convention, Democrats made Hillary Clinton the first woman to head a major party. In Women's History, thus far, no woman has made it to this position. I was lucky to see this historic moment, and hopefully will be able to see the first woman president. This moment was extremely significant in the advancement of feminism, Clinton herself calling it the 'biggest crack' in the glass ceiling.
4. More Women of Color in Congress
While only 20% the representatives in Congress are women, these women got a lot more diverse in 2016. A record of 38 women of color will serve in the 115th Congress. Various women of color have become senators in 2016. Kamala Harris of California will be the first Indian-American woman and second and second African-American woman to serve in the senate. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada will be the first Latina. And Tammy DUckworth of Illinois will be the first Thai-American woman. Additionally, Representative Pramilia Jayapal.
6. The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling to protect abortion access
On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic decision denying and rejecting a law in Texas. This law was made to shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics with medically unnecessary restrictions. The decision to deny this law, made in the court case: Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, reestablishes a woman’s constitutional right to access legal abortion. Not only is this extremely historical and powerful on its own, but it will empower women to stand up against anti-choice laws in Texas and beyond.
It is also historical because of the fact it marks the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Court in more than two decades. This definitely lays the way for other denials and reforms of unjust laws around the country.
7. Harriet Tubman is going on the $20
In April, it was announced the Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill. Harriet Tubman was an African-American and a Union spy during the Civil War. Andrew Jackson was a war hero and the seventh president of the United States, but also a white man known for his persecution of Native Americans. This is an amazing alteration. Tubman would be the first woman on paper currency since Martha Washington’s portrait was on the $1 silver certificate in the late 19th century. Not only would Tubman be the first woman on currency in several years, but she's also a woman of color. Moreover, images of women are being added to the back of both the $5 and $10 bills. Feminist leaders including: Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony are women part of this adjustment.
These are just a few of the many feminist actions that have occurred throughout this year. In the midst of upsetting times, some good can come out of it. Let's hope 2017 brings us more girl power!