Text: Shirlene Green Newball
This week, as usual the media was full of bad news, but what caught my attention were repetitive faces in almost all the newspapers and social media platforms. They were the faces of four outstanding females from different continents and backgrounds, but with one purpose of making their voices be heard and showing leadership in their respective fields.
In Finland, we woke up with the news to have the youngest prime minister in the world. Sanna Marin, from the Social Democratic Party won the election on Sunday after Antti Rinne resigned as PM. The government in Finland is a coalition of five parties all headed by women; four of whom are under 35 years old.
Sanna Marin comes from a humble family in Tampere, the centre of Finland. She was raised by her mother and her female partner and was the first from her family to finish high school and attend university. In 2015, she became a Member of Parliament and rose quickly as she gained confidence and attention.
According to AFP news agency, Marin said: “I have never thought about my age or gender; I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate.”
I love football and believe that females should also have the same right as males in this field. Megan Rapione was named 2019 Sportsperson of the year by Sports Illustrated Magazine. This magazine has 66 years since its first publication and Megan is the fourth woman to receive this award. She was also named by the Fédération Internationale of Football Association (FIFA) Best Woman Player of the year, two months after the World Cup.
This brave woman became the voice of many sportswomen on and off the field by demanding equal pay, sexual diversity respect, fight against racism and sexism in football, and also became a hero after scoring at 61stminute the goal against the Netherlands to defeat them 1-0. That gave the United States of America the 2019 World Cup Championship.
I am not a fan of watching Miss Universe pageant, because it is not of my interest. But the following day when I read the news that Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa was the new Miss Universe, I thought it was time for a black woman to have the crown again since it was 8 years ago that Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, won the beauty contest.
She was raised in Eastern Cape with her two sisters. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management. One big change in last Sunday night pageant is that she became the first woman to win the title with her natural Afro hair, which was well done. When answering the final question, her last sentence was “it is up to us to keep our planet safe”.
And this leads us to our fourth personality, Greta Thunberg, who participated this past week in Madrid, Spain, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25. This teenager started a strike by skipping school on Friday. Instead, she when outside the Swedish parliament building to protest for climate action, which later became a global action known as #FridaysForFuture.
This week Time magazine chose her as Person of the year 2019. She is the youngest person to earn this title since this award was first issued in 1927.
These four females are all below 35 years old, come from different places and environments. Nevertheless, they are creating and moving spaces that had been difficult to achieve years ago. They are all from a different field, which makes it more interesting and diverse for women empowerment and role modelling.
They were my inspirations for this week, and I am sure that they will continue moving our fight. Their stories and others similar to these, also, can inspire you.