Women's history month will soon come to a close, but the celebration of feminism doesn't have to — read: shouldn't — end on March 31. In fact, after nearly a month of reflecting on how far women have come and how much we've accomplished, it's time to shift the focus to what work is still being done to support the cause of gender equality. Whether it's a group, a campaign, a program, or a hashtag, several vibrant feminist movements are making the fight for women's rights all the more relatable and mainstream.
Last year was a great year for feminism. Two female soldiers became the first women to ever complete the U.S. Army's prestigious Ranger School. Hollywood's awards season was dominated by empowering acceptance speeches. The first female African-American attorney general was sworn in under the Obama administration. This year, those same themes have already continued. Earlier in March, President Obama nominated the first female combatant commander of the U.S. Air Force. Not to mention, there's currently a woman leading the Democratic race for the White House.
It's not just about firsts, though. To this day, there are impressive women paving the way for their counterparts in all kinds of roles and industries. But there are also the everyday women — and men — who are adopting the feminist label for themselves, starting conversations in their day-to-day lives, and transforming the movement into a commonplace, mainstream cause. It's the wide range of movements, ultimately, that makes today's feminism noteworthy.
Emma Watson's Book Club
Emma Watson as a feminist icon is nothing new, however, she's constantly finding ways to incorporate more women into her activism. In January, Watson announced that she'd lead a feminist book club, called Our Shared Shelf. The book club has attracted such high-profile ladies as Karlie Kloss and Sophia Bush. In March, the club started reading All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks.
In 2014, Discwoman launched as a two-day music festival in Brooklyn, New York. Two years later, Discwoman is a "platform, collective, and booking agency" focused on supporting women in the male-dominated world of electronic music. Since 2014, Discwoman has grown significantly, hosting events in 15 cities and working with more than 150 DJs and producers.
Her high-profile father may be running a wild campaign for president, but Ivanka Trump has a campaign of her own. #WomenWhoWork celebrates the progress that women have made by highlighting the modern working woman. It's a role that Trump herself knows well: She's executive vice president of the company that bears her family's name, as well as the founder of her own aptly named Ivanka Trump brand, and a mother of two (soon to be three) children. The #WomenWhoWork campaign features content about career advice, healthy eating, professional style, and the impressive female role models who work across a wide variety of industries today.
If you've ever wondered where to get a shirt that says, "You do uterus," then this one is for you. Originally launched by 26-year-old Candace Reels as an Instagram account, Female Collective has grown into a source of inspiration and action for feminists. Female Collective still provides the witty feminist voice women need on social media, but the movement has now expanded to include an online store and a campaign to collect undergarments for women in homeless shelters.
Hollywood's Fight For Equal Pay
Last year, Jennifer Lawrence gave Hollywood a reality check when she wrote an open letter in Lena Dunham's feminist email newsletter Lenny, highlighting the fact that she was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle. Bradley Cooper, one of those co-stars, came out in support of Lawrence's letter, urging male actors to do their part in making sure pay is equal in Hollywood. The conversation will likely continue throughout 2016, as Ricky Gervais commented on it in his Golden Globes monologue.
Women's history month may be ending, but feminism is a year-round sort of thing, isn't it? Aside from these campaigns, there's a presidential election to take place this year that could have a "YUGE" impact on women's issues. Perhaps the most feminist act that women can take this year is to cast a vote for the candidate who they think will represent them best.
Image: Female Collective/Instagram