At the start of the 21st century, a hundred years after the death of Emily Davison, what are the defining issues for women? The renewed fight for contraceptive and abortion rights? The backlash against objectification, pornification and ‘rape culture’ in newspapers, TV and on social media? Or issues such as poverty, the fight for a living wage and work place equality?
And who are the greatest movers and shakers campaigning for women today?
Lucy Holmes who started the ‘No more page 3’ campaign arguably deserves a mention. The campaign was launched in 2013 with a petition calling on the Sun’s editor, Dominic Mohan, to “take the bare boobs out of The Sun.” To date it has tens of thousands of signatories and support from numerous organisations.
“This is not about censorship, or passing an Act of Parliament to force Dominic Mohan to scrap images of naked women in a daily newspaper. The campaign is asking for page three to be removed voluntarily, arguing that it is outdated, it mocks and disrespects women, and tries to teach Sun readers to do the same.”
Malala Yousafzai, meanwhile, is a different kind of activist, propelled into the spotlight amidst traumatic events. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.
In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in a critical condition, but later improved enough to enable intensive rehabilitation in the UK.
The attempt on her life sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Malala. In April 2013 she was featured on the front cover of Time magazine and described as one of “the 100 most influential people in the world”. In July 2013 she spoke before the United Nations and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. She continues to campaign for education for women and is now being educated in the UK.
Which other modern campaigners for women inspire you? Let us know what you think in the comments below.