It's been an exceptional year for women's rights. People of all genders are becoming more comfortable identifying as feminist, the fight for compulsory sex ed has been won and there is more awareness about rape culture than ever.
Some are even marking International Women's Day by striking from work. Although the strike has been met with criticism for being exclusive and righteous – women with delicate careers or who are responsible for child-care can't necessarily join in – standing up to an end to inequality in every way is what today is about.
Today is the day to campaign that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, disability or age.
Today is also a day to celebrate some of the greatest achievements of womankind to date. In partnership with Sage, we bring you the female trailblazers of 2017 (so far); the women who have impacted the lives of other women for the better, and have stood by their dreams and hopes when it seemed their gender would get in the way.
Championing women from all kinds of backgrounds, countries and fields, these are the trailblazers, dead and alive, who have current or enduring influence today.
"We will not accept a world where decisions about our future are made in rooms girls cannot enter."
"I was born a bitch. I was born a painter."
“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”
“I have a few shades of deeper brown upon my skin which shows me related to those poor mortals you once held enslaved, and whose bodies America still owns.
Having this bond, and knowing what slavery is, having seen with my eyes and heard with my ears proof positive enough of its horrors, is it surprising that I should be somewhat impatient of the airs of superiority which many Americans have endeavored to assume over me.”
“I follow my own head. And if I’m determined to do something, then I’ll make sure that I make it happen.”
“Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that.”
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
"Social change is brought about by those who dare and act, who can think unconventionally and who can court unpopularity."
"That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show."
"I know it's not ordinary. But who ever loved ordinary?"