13 Women Who Are Already Making 2018 A Better Year For Us All

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Doesn’t it feel as though an eternity has passed since the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2018? Since then, there have been countless mind-boggling and, at times, offensive tweets sent by the president, a mass shooting that brought the gun control debate back into the spotlight, and TK. But a lot of good things have happened so far in 2018, thanks to countless women changing this year for the better.

Back in December, Marianne Schnall, the founder of Feminist.com, predicted that 2018, not 2017, would be the year of the woman. In an op-ed for CNN, she offered reasons to be "optimistic about what 2018 has in store — to remind us that we are living in a watershed moment in our history, one we can broaden and deepen."

So far, this year has many people thinking positive thoughts about the future of the women's movement. Whether it’s the solidarity that was shown by the countless Hollywood women that wore black to the Golden Globes, or the bravery of Moira Donegan’s coming-forward as the author of a list outing “shitty men in media,” or Emma Gonzalez taking the national stage to stand up for gun control, there are a lot of reasons to feel good about 2018. Here are just some of the women who are already making this year a better one for all of us.

Serena Williams

Months after giving birth to her baby girl, Alexis Olympia, tennis star Serena Williams opened up to Vogue about the complications that arose following her pregnancy. In the candid interview, Williams recounted experiencing blood clots and receiving improper treatment from the nurses and doctors caring for her at the hospital.

Although Williams didn’t address race specifically in the article, her account prompted honest dialogue and debate on social media about the struggles that African American women face when seeking proper treatment in the United States.

Maame Biney

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While the Olympic games are always chock-full of inspiring stories, Maame Biney’s stood out at this year’s speedskating trials. The 18-year-old skater, who was born in Ghana, became the first black woman to make the U.S. speedskating team. Biney, who first started skating after moving to the United States with her father, Kweku, at age five.

In a sport that lacks diversity, Biney powered through to get where she is. Although she didn't make it to the podium in this year's Olympics, she will serve as an inspiration for young athletes of color for years to come.

Moira Donegan

In October, a shared list titled “Sh*tty Media Men” started circulating among members of the journalism industry. While the author of the list stayed anonymous until the end of the year, in January, rumors started circulating that Harper’s was set to publish a piece outing her.

Instead, Moira Donegan came forward, penning a powerful essay for New York Magazine’s The Cut. In it, she recounted how, in creating the list, she quickly realized that far more individuals in media had experienced this kind of behavior than she ever could have imagined.

“This is what shocked me about the spreadsheet: the realization of how badly it was needed, how much more common the experience of sexual harassment or assault is than the opportunity to speak about it.” She said the list had showed her "that it is still explosive, radical, and productively dangerous for women to say what we mean."

Meghan Duggan

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The captain of the U.S. women’s hockey team has big goals for this year’s Olympic games. Meghan Duggan, who has represented America at the past two winter Olympics games, recently told Bustle, "I’ve wanted to win a gold medal in the Olympics since I was 12 years old, and that drives me every single day. It’s where I live and what I eat and how much I sleep."

Twenty years after the last U.S. women's hockey took home Olympic gold, Duggan was more determined than ever — and it paid off with a nail-biting win in PyeongChang.

Even more impressive than her determination to bring home gold, though, is Duggan's continued support of female athletes. She and her team fought to receive fair pay from USA Hockey last year, and Duggan has tweeted in solidarity with women fighting these fights across all industries.

Oprah

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No matter what Oprah gets up on stage to speak about, it’s likely she’ll leave audience members feeling inspired. Her speech at the Golden Globes brought the house down, and had everyone chattering about the possibility of Oprah 2020. Whether or not the media mogul has presidential aspirations, it’s worth holding onto her words.

Upon accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award, (the first African-American woman to do so), she triumphantly said,

I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again.

Emma Gonzalez

After a mass shooter took the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day, students knew they had to speak out. Senior Emma Gonzalez gave a moving speech about politicians and gun control.

If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association. I already know — $30 million.

Since then, the students have been the face of a growing young movement to enact real, effective gun control.

Brooklyn Prince

The adorable young actress won a Critics’ Choice Award for her role in The Florida Project. This was the 7-year-old’s first award, and she teared up during her acceptance speech. Ever the gracious winner, she said to her fellow nominees, “We should go and get ice cream after this.”

In the film, Prince portrays a young girl named Moonee being raised in a hotel by an unemployed single mother named Halley. The young actress gave a shout-out to "the real Moonees and Halleys" in her speech.

While The Florida Project's raw portrayal of poverty in America had already earned acclaim in 2017, Prince's speech showed that even young kids are capable of grasping these struggles, and gave hope that there will be more of these honest discussions in the future.

Mira Sorvino

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In a letter published by The Huffington Post, actress Mira Sorvino apologized to Dylan Farrow, the daughter of Mia Farrow, who for years has said she was molested by her adoptive father, Woody Allen. Sorvino, who worked with Allen early on in her career, said that she turned a blind eye to Dylan Farrow's story at the time because she was in denial.

While much of Hollywood has stayed mum on the subject of the director's alleged behavior, Sorvino spoke out and said, “Even if you love someone, if you learn they may have committed these despicable acts, they must be exposed and condemned, and this exposure must have consequences. I will never work with [Allen] again.”

Liz Hannah

The screenwriter behind one of the biggest movies of the year so far, The Post, is only 31 — and this is her first major film credit. When Hannah wrote the screenplay for The Post, she didn’t expect anyone to pick it up. To her surprise, former Sony studio head Amy Pascal reached out about producing, and shortly thereafter director Steven Spielberg signed on to direct.

Now, Hannah's story will serve as an inspiration for aspiring writers that are hesitant to take the plunge on a risky project. As her account shows, sometimes it can work out in the best way.

California Assembly Member Cristina Garcia

This lawmaker recently lobbied for a bill in California that will provide free tampons to public school students throughout the state. Garcia campaigned for the law by putting a photo of a bloody tampon in her office.

She told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s about taking a topic that’s taboo, that we’re told not to talk about — and when we do talk about, we’re made fun of, we’re ridiculed about it,” she said. “I just wanted to have a little bit of fun with it. I felt that was the way to take the rhetoric back and make it mine.” Illinois recently passed a similar law.

Rep. Maxine Waters

California Rep. Maxine Waters, the queen of “reclaiming my time,” has remained vigilant this new year. When lawmaker announced that she would not attend Trump’s State of the Union address, telling MSNBC’s Joy Reid, “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?”

Waters was an outspoken critic of the Trump administration throughout 2017. By putting her foot down for the State of the Union, she's showing that she won't hold back this year, either.

The Women Who Wore Black To Trump's SOTU

It’s no secret that all industries are affected by sexual discrimination and harassment, and politics is no exception. California Rep. Jackie Speier planned a protest of these behaviors in D.C.

Speier and her fellow female Democrats wore all black to the president’s State of the Union address to show solidarity with victims across all lines of work.

Nikuyah Walker

In a city that's historically been rife with racial tension, Nikuyah Walker will serve as the first black mayor. Walker was elected mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, by members of the City Council on Jan. 2. Just six months after a rally started by white nationalists erupted in violence, Walker's election is a promising sign that Charlottesville is moving forward.

Thus far in 2018, it's clear that women are continuing to make strides in politics, the arts, and athletics. They're continuing to speak their truths, and they're not holding back about the injustices they see in their everyday lives. If more individuals can catch onto the momentum of these women, this year might just be a good one after all.