It was a year women took centrestage. With guts and glory. 2016 really set the fire burning for women in all parts of the world. India’s women demanding entry to temples, those protesting in Poland against abortion laws, in Iceland for gender pay gaps to be sorted out, achievements at the Olympics to calling out loud bodyshamers, sexist comedy and much much more.
We saw a number of women come forward to address violence and were also supported rather than shunned by society. We moved the needle forward in the women’s movement. And not to forget, the government and NGOs which laid down initiatives to recognise capabilities of women and give them the opportunities to take them ahead. Here is a list of the some of the most significant moments that tells us 2016 was a year forward for women:
Strong female characters in films
As we are still energised by the reality and inspirations of Dangal, but there were so many women-centric films that came through this year. Most films this year had strong female characters for everyone’s delight- Neerja, Sarabjit, Akira, Pink, Kahani 2, Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are just a few examples from Bollywood. While Neerja was about a brave stewardess who lost her life saving others on a hijacked plane, Dear Zindagi brought about how a young modern girl deals with her mental problems. And how can we forget Ae Dil Hai Mushkil where it is so liberating to watch an older female character expressing her love towards a younger man. Even Hollywood did not disappoint and gave us riveting films like Jane Got A Gun, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Maggie’s Plan, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Finding Dory etc.
Women were the talk of Rio Olympics
It was the year when Indian sportswomen found recognition and success in the world’s most prestigious sports event. Where PV Sindhu brought home the first Olympic medal in badminton ever, Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman to be an Olympic medalist by winning a bronze in wrestling. And Dipa Karmakar did the produnova and came so close to winning a medal while courageous Deepa Malik won a Silver in shotput in Paralympics. With her silver, Sindhu has also become the youngest to win an Olympic medal from the country. In a surprising move, Aditi Ashok also represented India at the world stage after becoming a pro and qualified for the final.
Indian female cricketers signed contracts
BCCI allowed the Indian Women’s Cricket team for the first time this year to sign deals with overseas franchise. And Harmanpreet Kaur became the first one to be signed on by Sydney Thunder to play in the Women’s Big Bash League. This really tells us that women in Cricket a little ahead than usual this year and that’s really great.
Acid attack survivors came forward
Reshma Khureshi taught us that the survivors of acid attacks have a voice and they would now speak up and live a normal life. “She gave me the strength and courage to live. Today I can say that a face is not everything. We can live a good life if we are good on the inside” Reshma talked to us about her association with Ria Sharma, founder of MLNS and her acid attack story. She made history by walking the ramp at the New York Fashion Show which is one of the world renowned fashion shows. Her confidence and exuberance while on the ramp showed that losing spirit is not an option. Never. Then recently, Make Love Not Scars opened first ever job portal for the survivors called Skills Not Scars that gave them their own space in the society.
Gender neutral emojis introduced
Today we use emojis for everything we want to talk about while having a virtual communication. So it was a real disgrace to only find female emojis in jobs like hair-cutting, dancing and not more than that. Representation of women and various races in the emoji world was horrible and so on the request and proposal of many people, The Unicode Consortium that gives there final nod on which emoji will make way to your cell phone decided to have women’s represention in more 11 more professions this year in July. Soon you’ll have female emojis for jobs as diverse as doctor, singer, teacher, cook etc. Also a breast feeding emoji is under making too.
Peggy Whitson launches off to space as the oldest woman
Astronaut Peggy Whitson has already gone to the space station twice and this November she launched for her third excursion at the age of 56. Peggy launched off from Kazakhstan in Russia with two other, younger astronauts- Russian cosmonaut, 45-year-old Oleg Novitskiy and a French newcomer to space, 38-year-old Thomas Pesquet. She will celebrate her next birthday in the International Space Station. Whitson has broken the record of Barbara Morgan who went into space at the age of 55 in year 2007.
Laws ammended to address gender-based violence
Every year the world comes together in a UN initiative- Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls and starts the dialogue and makes changes. What’s new in 2016 is that inthe 16 days of Orange the World programme, Algeria stood up to address the sexual harassment and etched out a new law to address it. Even Pakistan made an amendment in their law against honour killing. China announced its first ever law against domestic violence and Germany came up with a new rape law. The world did change a little bit with that in 2016.