The 5 women who inspired us most in the last decade

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Since the UN declared March 8th International Women’s Day, the need to reassert the role played by women in society and history has spread gradually all over the world  

If we think back on everything we’ve experienced over the last decade, the faces of numerous women who have made valuable contributions immediately flash before our eyes. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to summarise them all in one sole blog post, so we’ve decided to focus on 5 stories of women we should all remember.

Of different ages, creeds and origins, they all share one trait: their will to leave their mark on the world.

Are you ready to meet them?

Michelle Obama

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Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.

Michelle Obama is far more than the first Afro-American woman to reach the White House. This lawyer and writer transformed the role of president’s wife, and earned her own place in the public arena. 

Michelle’s parents, of humble origins, were always clear about one thing: they wanted their children to enjoy the opportunities they themselves never had. And Michelle took that philosophy of effort on board from a young age. Intelligent, competitive and solution-oriented, she graduated as a lawyer from Princeton and Harvard. 

She and Barack Obama met in the law firm she worked at in Chicago, though Michelle would later give a twist to her career to concentrate fully on politics and education. 

Her speeches are a veritable source of inspiration, particularly for those groups that are victims of discrimination. It’s impossible to hear her without becoming infected with the optimism and ambition her words convey. 

Her book Becoming, published in 2018, has been a major bestseller, as well as one of the most popular autobiographies of the decade. 

We’ve already got it on our reading list!

Malala Yousafzai

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One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.

When the Taliban took control of Swat Valley in 2008, the life Malala had previously known changed forever. In addition to rules banning her from wearing coloured clothes or going to concerts, education for girls was also prohibited.

Malala, who loved school, decided to protest against this injustice. In collaboration with a BBC journalist, she began to write a blog to let the world know what was happening. 

Her face ended up becoming public and represented a threat to the Taliban. In 2008, an armed man assaulted the school bus Malala was travelling on and shot her on the left side of her head. She almost lost her life in the attack. 

Following a long period of recovery, Malala moved with her family to the United Kingdom. Together with her father she created the Malala Fund, a charity organisation that fights for all girls in the world to be able to go to school.

In 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as a human rights and women’s education activist. She is the youngest person ever to have received this prestigious distinction. 

And the fact is that it’s never too soon to fight for what you consider unjust. 

If you’d like to know more about the Malala Fund project, visit the official website.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Supposedly, women like me aren’t supposed to run for public office.

A millennial woman, of Puerto Rican origin, raised in the Bronx, who succeeded in becoming the youngest democratic congresswoman in the history of the United States, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born to break moulds. 

From her father’s death due to cancer in 2009, Alexandria was forced to juggle wildly to be able to study while working to keep her family from bankruptcy. 

She was already very politically active as an Economics and International Relations student: she worked as an assistant for Ted Kennedy and led the Alianza Latina movement that fought student debt and inequalities.

Following the defeat of Brie Sanders to Clinton, the democratic party was crying out for change. Trump’s victory in 2016 was the final push that led her to run for the New York primaries. 

Her candidacy was based on a budget 18 times lower than her opponent, Crowley’s, a very studied campaign design and an unsurpassable management of the social media.  

Among the measures most strongly advocated by Alexandria are guaranteeing free education at public universities, fighting climate change and regulation of the international finance system.  

In 2019, Netflix published the documentary Knock Down the House, where you can discover all the details of the Alexandria phenomenon. 

So crack open the popcorn and get ready to enjoy! 

Greta Thunberg

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 You all come to us, young people, for hope? How dare you?

Greta’s life changed completely when her teacher showed some videos on global warming in class. The terrible images submerged the teenager in a long depression that would cause her to lose 10 kilogrammes. 

One August Friday, Greta sat herself in front of the Swedish parliament for seven hours with a placard reading “School Strike for Climate”. And after that first Friday came a second. And then another. Until a wave of students from around the world decided to take up her chant, giving birth to movements such as Fridays for Future.

Greta’s convictions on climate crisis led her parents to change their lifestyle: they stopped eating meat, travelling by plane and started supporting their daughter’s activism wherever she went. 

The awareness-raising work done by Greta has received world-wide acknowledgment, although she has gone so far as to reject enormously prestigious awards because “the environment does not need awards, it needs action”.

For better or worse, we are certain that Greta’s speech in 2019 at the UN climate summit will go down in history. 

Amal Clooney

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Every conflict reminds us that there can be no lasting peace without justice.

In spite of dominating the headlines for being “the woman who won George Clooney’s heart”, the fact is that Amal Clooney had already stood out for her career as a lawyer, writer and activist.

Far from simply becoming “Mrs. Clooney”, Amal has taken advantage of the media interest caused by her marriage to raise the visibility of the causes she defends. 

This British lawyer specialised in international law and human rights has left us with more than a few remarkable appearances over the decade. 

She represented Nadia Murad, a young Iraqi girl kidnapped and held as a sex slave by the Islamic State in 2014. Nadia’s cause led her to appear before the UN, where she turned up accompanied by the young woman to call for social justice against ISIS crimes. 

In 2018 she returned to the UN to defend two journalists arrested in Myanmar for reporting on the massacre of the Rohingya muslims. 

On the other hand, she also formed part of the team charged with judging Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian president, for crimes against humanity in the Kosovo genocide. 

She currently lives in London, where the headquarters of the lawyer’s law firm are located. And against all the odds, George Clooney has become Amal’s escort at events where she is the star. 

So what about you, do you know other stories of women who have inspired you in this decade? 

Share them with us!

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