I have to be honest: there are so many women I’m grateful for this year.
The Year of the Woman might have ‘officially’ been 1992, but each year, women continue to top themselves in the areas of grace, positivity, power, determination and leadership. This truly is an amazing time to be alive and be a woman. And I’m so thankful I get to exist at the same time as these seven powerhouses of feminine energy. They remind me that we can all get out there to make our own unique contribution toward changing what power looks like in the world – and we don’t have to do it alone!
I am grateful for this first woman for so, so, so many reasons. From the giant inflatable booty that (almost) upstaged her at the MTV Video Music Awards to her fierce lyrics of self-celebration, this woman tops herself time after time in the body positivity category. Just when we think we can’t learn anything more from Lizzo about loving ourselves just the way we are, she wows us with the even louder, more powerful, message of “you got this.” And then she shows us how to OWN what we got. Bam.
She’s a vocal activist for women’s rights and radical self-acceptance. And she works hard – she famously began touring before she ever recorded an album. Talk about crashing through a glass ceiling. She destroyed it.
Oh, and she also plays the flute. Like a boss.
(Yes, I just referred to Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a ‘femme fatale.’)
Media for women of all generations have paid homage to this supreme court justice who played a major role in creating equal opportunities for both sexes. Kate Mckinnon further cements her role as an icon for power, grace, and sheer “chutzpah” on SNL most weeks with her catchphrase, “You just got Gins-burned.”
This year, she’s been battling cancer for the fourth (fourth!) time, yet still works out every day. She has not missed a day! Her dedication and perseverance is legendary. Oh, and did I mention she’s barely taken off a day of work to recuperate? Instead, she’s been working from home and communicates via conference call when needed – still in the game, but on her own terms.
And I thank her almost every day for it.
#3 Melinda Gates
Any fan of the Emerging Women blog knows we are a big fan of this powerhouse philanthropist and women’s equality activist striving to change the future of work in America.
What I love the most about MG? Is that she seems to be evolving along with the movement. She is emerging right along-side all of the women she is inspiring to rise, showing us that we are all in this together. For reals.
What else do we love about Melinda Gates? Let me count the ways…
- She taught us how to raise feminist sons *chills*
- She led a feminist fight from the homefront by demanding equality with her husband in their relationship
- She reminds us that until all women around the world are free, none of us are free
- She’s brave enough to be vulnerable about her own toxic masculinity battles in the early days of Microsoft
- This year she committed $1 billion to help create equality in the workplace
- She committed $1 billion to help create equality in the workplace, which was so nice (and fierce and necessary), we had to say it twice!
#4 Nancy Pelosi
Regardless of where you land politically, you can’t deny that Nancy Pelosi is one of the fiercest women in (and out of) politics right now — and has been for decades!
This woman is the epitome of class — and badass.
She knows when to speak up. And boy, when she speaks up, she demands attention. But what’s so special about her is that she knows when to stay silent, too. She gets that sometimes the biggest things happen when we create space – for others and for ourselves.
And while we all know age doesn’t matter, let’s take a moment to talk about her passion. She’s in her 80s (long after many of us will have retired), and she’s still vibrant, still so committed.
I am so grateful we have women with this kind of fire in our political system! More of this, please!
#5 Greta Thunberg
YOWZA! When I said “Age doesn’t matter,” this was the woman (not girl, because let’s be honest, she’s one of the most mature people in politics right now) I was talking about!
She’s done so much in her short life and even shorter career.
Greta has shown us what it means to be a leader: overcoming obstacles, standing up for others, speaking truth to power and demanding action.
The next time you’re feeling hesitant about leaning in, just consider Greta Thunberg your spirit animal, and ask yourself, “WWGTB do?” You’ll be moving mountains and people with your every word — and reshaping the world in the process.
#6 Michelle Obama
Former first lady, Michelle Obama, is another woman on this list who I admire for her elegance and dignity — especially for her lyrical use of the English language.
She emanates strength through each word. Her vulnerability jumps off the pages in her memoir, “Becoming.” She proved she really was the typical American working mom when she relayed stories of taking Malia on a job interview and ‘breaking out’ of the Whitehouse to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage (also with Malia).
And who can forget the strength that resonated in her speeches? Her catchphrase, “When they go low, we go high,” became an anthem for the power of positivity. It still serves to keep me out of complaining mode when I am faced with challenges!
Not to mention that line in her final commencement speech (that still floors me):
“It’s the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, black young women — head off to school, waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to American — to America for the same reasons as many of you: To get an education and improve his prospects in life.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library
#7 Megan Rapinoe
Were you also glued to the TV coverage of the World Cup for women’s soccer this year? If so, you were likely like me: screaming your head off at the marvelousness of it all. High stakes, close games, excelling athleticism — all combined with the articulation of a vision much bigger than any one-made goal. And Megan Rapinoe at the head of it all.
Talk about equal pay triumph!
Her elegance in her speeches is only matched by her fierceness on the field. The woman is an inspiration and a symbol of heart-centered leadership and dependability.
I feel so fortunate that young girls and women can look to Megan to understand that you don’t need to sacrifice elegance for power, teamwork for individuality.
The women’s soccer teams work just as hard as the men’s team, it’s about time they got paid equally!
All of these women are clearing the path with a new power for a paradigm that emphasizes connection, grace, empathy and fire. They all draw this power from authenticity, consciousness and real connection — which also happens to be the Emerging Women ethos.
It’s difficult to forge a path ahead when you’re the only one holding that machete. Luckily, we all have these leaders to look to when we need a leg up to continue on our own brave path forward. We GOT this!