Saturday, March 8, 2014

#IWD2014

Happy International Women's Day! Today is a day for celebrating the women in your life, the women you look up to, women in positions of power, and yourself. It's also a day to be cognizant of the strides we still need to make to close the wage gap and increase percentages of women working in certain industries. A number that really hits home for me as an aspiring comedy writer? Women make up only 14% of television directors, and in the 2011-2012 TV season, women accounted for a mere 30% of writers. This is just one industry in dire need of more female representation.

But because I believe my generation is full of strong, ambitious women who won't stand for those kind of numbers, I am optimistic that we'll see big changes in coming years. I hope that on International Women's Day fifteen or twenty years from now, the landscape will be different. As women, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are just as capable of achieving success in these male dominated fields. Because if you don't believe in yourself, who will?
So today's post is dedicated to some women I find inspirational in my everyday attempts to close the gaps and make a better world for myself and for the young girls coming into the working world behind me. 

In case you missed Davis' filibuster this summer, Wendy stood for over 11 hours in an attempt to block Senate Bill 5, an bill attempting to further restrict abortion access in Texas. The bill ultimately passed in second session, but the filibuster wasn't just a moment for Davis, or for Texas. I watched the livestream from my couch in Illinois, and I would be lying to you if I said I didn't tear up at the end, when other politicians like Laticia Van De Putte jumped in to help Davis achieve her goal. In spite of the end results, Davis' pink sneakers became a sign of inspiration and perseverance for women everywhere who demand the ability to make their own decisions about their body and health. 

You've probably heard Malala's story: she spoke out against the Taliban, and in favor of access to education for women and girls, and ended up being shot for her bravery. Thankfully, and in spite of all odds, Malala survived. She's gone on to continue her push for women's education, and has been called "the world's leading advocate for educating girls." In America, we have the privilege of believing education for all children is a right. But in Malala's life it isn't, and she's fighting the injustice of that with intense bravery. She said it best when she spoke to the United Nations: "One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world."

Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler could have just made this list by being a smart, funny woman who's constantly pushing the boundaries. Comedy has generally always been a male dominated field, yet when I start to name women who have changed the face of comedy, the list is far too long to name here. But Amy Poehler doesn't just stop at TV, or movies, or SNL. She started "Amy Poehler's Smart Girls," an organization devoted to empowering young girls and women. Not only does the site encourage them to pursue their dreams, but it covers issues of self-love and reiterates to girls that it's not only okay, but good, to be yourself. 

The news is another industry that has been traditionally run by men, yet Arianna Huffington managed to found one of the most successful news outlets of today: the Huffington Post. As a woman who currently does work in journalism, Arianna is personally inspiring. Women like her, who have unprecedented success in their field, show younger women like me that the sky is the limit and anything can be made possible with hard work. We need Arianna Huffingtons and female entrepreneurs like her to pop up in every field, if only to show girls that it is in fact possible to break those barriers. Talent and determination can get you anywhere. 



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