Many women these days have no qualms about pursuing whatever goal they’ve set for themselves. Some are taking charge and are leading diverse and inclusive movements. Some are management leaders within their companies Some are breaking down sporting barriers with their athletic abilities, and others are choosing to stay at home and nurture their families. A woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be – whether it’s in the boardroom, leading a revolution or in the kitchen.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve curated this list of revolutionary girls and women who have inspired and shown us that it is possible for females to expand their horizons beyond socially accepted norms and fight for what they believe in.
Women in combat
Mulan isn’t the only exceptional woman warrior to participate in combat; gun-toting women in history is not new.
According to historical accounts, there were several women who chose to dress up in men’s attire so they could fight wars without detection. Since then, there have been hundreds of thousands of women who have served in the armed forces and were at the frontlines.
The indigenous people of America were known for wielding their weapons and riding their horses in battle and that bravery extended to the Cheyenne warrior known as Buffalo Calf Road Woman, also known as Brave Woman. A mother of two from Northern Cheyenne, Buffalo Calf Road Woman charged to save her wounded brother in the Battle of Rosebud Creek in 1876. That same year, she fought side by side with her husband in the Battle of Little Bighorn and was responsible for knocking General George Armstrong Custer off his horse before he died. Thus, this battle went on to be named as Custer’s Last Stand.
Freedom fighter and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, was an icon for the African-Americans, for women and for humanity. Her determination to fight for equality was what made her one of the biggest heroes today. After escaping her own enslavement in 1849, she risked her life to rescue enslaved Americans until the outbreak of the American Civil War where she served as a nurse, a spy and a soldier.
Aside from being a freedom fighter, Tubman was also a wild forager, herbalist, wildcrafter and naturalist and used her knowledge of plants to heal Black and White soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War. She used her foraging skills to feed everyone during their many journeys along the Underground Railroad and she also dosed breads with homemade herbal tinctures of opium poppies to quiet babies and small children so they wouldn’t attract attention during their escape.
Known as Philippine’s first female general, Gabriela Silang was an anti-colonial Filipina warrior from the province of Vigan, Ilocos Sur in the Philippines. This fearless leader of a libertarian cause was the military general in the resistance to the colonization of Spain in the Philippines where she led the longest sustained revolt against the Spanish colonizers.
The youth of today are no longer excluded in discussions that matter. More and more young people are aware of the many pressing global issues facing humanity and are wanting to get involved. By sharing their values and beliefs, made easier thanks to social media, empowered youth encourage others to shift their consciousness and priorities.
Aside from Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a lot of other remarkable teenagers are using activism to push for social and environmental change.
Co-hosts of an online interview series called Let’s Talk are a couple of young activists who discuss, create awareness and educate listeners on the different global issues that have real and pressing implications today. Each week, they interview guests who make the world safer, cleaner and truly free.
These young ladies grew up in an environment where they were taught that their voice matters. They were raised by families who taught them to be involved, to be more mindful of their actions and to act with purpose.
Olivia Vedder is the daughter of activist and Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and Lella Anders’ dad is on the board of directors for Global Citizen. With their common ground in activism and their close friendship, their chemistry and partnership exude youthful confidence and passion in making a change that result in relevant conversations with inspiring guests.
Women are also at the forefront of the battle when it comes to fighting for the environment, fighting for our planet, fighting for our future.
Ann and Billy Dumaliang
There are dangers of frontline environmental activism in the developing world and being an environmental activist in the Philippines is even more terrifying; the country is ranked number one for the number deaths of eco warriors. However, sisters Ann and Billie Dumaliang are fearless when it comes to protecting the environment.
As managing trustees of Masungi Georeserve (a hidden gem of rock garden in Southern Sierra Madre in the Philippines that is made up of 60-million-year old limestones), they have contributed in the rewilding, conservation and in the protection of it, which forest rangers have been doing for the over the past two decades.
During the pandemic, big quarrying companies have invaded this oasis, fencing off about 500 hectares of the reforestation area. The duo have been unstoppable – facing groups of ruthless men, sending petitions and started an online campaign called Save Masungi which reached the Secretary of the Environment who ordered these companies to cease quarrying operations.
Because of their unwavering efforts in protecting the environment, empowering individuals from the Dumagat tribe and establishing monitoring trails, they were featured in Vanity’s ‘Changing Your Minds Travel Awards 2021‘. These fearless, young women truly are inspiring.
Without the hard work of these listed women and many more around the world, we might not have gotten as far as where we are today. Empowered women know their place – and it is where important decisions are being made.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Feature image via Liberation School.