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When women defined 2014

Militant groups in Syria and Iraq turned women into slaves. A group in Nigeria captured hundred of girls and disappeared with them. But still, 2014 brought many wins for women. Here are some women who fought against all odds, helped changed history and sometimes our perceptions.

1. Malala Yousafzai



Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her the youngest person to ever win it. In 2012, she was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out about girls needing education. Malala’s case won worldwide recognition, and the teen, now 17, became a symbol for the struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan.





2. Malavath Poorna



Malavath Poorna from Andhra Pradesh became the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest. An exultant Poorna said, “The world is very small.” She left a picture of B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of India’s Constitution, on the Everest along with a national flag and a flag of her school. It took Poorna a course in mountaineering and arduous preparation for 52 days to climb her way to fame and success.



3. Emma Watson



In 2014, Emma Watson became the UN ambassador for Women. Her #HeForShe speech, widely shared on the internet, spoke about how men needed to join in and fight for gender equality too.



4. Susie Wolff



Susie Wolff created history when she was announced as the first female practice driver for Formula 1 in 22 years. Not since Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify in the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos for Brabham, has a woman taken part in an F1 event. The last female driver to race in F1 was Lella Lombardi in 1976.





5. Maryam Mirzakhani



Prof Maryam Mirzakhani become the first ever female winner of the celebrated Fields Medal for her work on complex geometry.



6. Saudi #Women2Drive



Women from Saudi Arabia participated in a right to drive campaign using social media in the world’s only country that bans women from getting behind the wheel. An online petition asking the Saudi government to lift the ban on women driving said “The issue is not that of simply a vehicle driven by a woman, but the acknowledgement and recognition of the humanity of half of society and the God-given rights of women.”





7. Women fighting against ISIS



On the front lines of battle, Kurdish female fighters played a major role in helping defend Syrian towns from an onslaught by the Islamic State extremist group.



One said she finds “amusing the idea that the jihadists may have been surprised by coming face to face with women fighters. I think they were more afraid of us than of the men. They believe they’ll go to hell if they die at a woman’s hands”.





8. Mary Kom

This Indian boxer has inspired many young women with her courage and steadfast efforts to flourish in the male-dominated field of boxing. Mary Kom is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. She became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal in 2014 Asian Games. Mary Kom has also inspired a biopic starred by Priyanka Chopra.



9. Laxmi



Laxmi, was 16 when an acquaintance threw acid on her face while she waited at a bus stop in New Delhi’s Khan Market in 2005, disfiguring her permanently. She has been selected by the US for the prestigious International Women of Courage Award.



10. Sunitha Krishnan

If social media can be used by sexual offenders to “flaunt” their acts, why not use the same to “name and shame” them? This was the reasoning that led anti-human-trafficking activist Sunitha Krishnan to start the ‘Shame the Rapist’ campaign. Sunitha uploaded videos of rapists online and soon it became an internet sensation. She is also the founder of an NGO Prajwala which rehabilitates women trafficked into sex trade. She has also appealed to the Ministry that any video of sexual violence on YouTube and WhatsApp should, by default, be passed on to the Home Ministry for a case to be taken up suo motu .

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 12:51:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/when-women-defined-2014/article6741924.ece

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