Ninety-five years ago, every woman in this country was (finally!) granted the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment, and we’ve been celebrating Women’s Equality Day ever since. But as history has shown us, we still have so much more to fight for!
To commemorate this very special achievement, the Cutline Crew put together a list of the lady figures in our lives who inspire us to be better on the daily. Check it out, and let us know who yours are, too!
When she’s not punching Draco Malfoy in the face, Emma’s representing modern women everywhere as a UN Goodwill Ambassador working towards gender equality. Her HeForShe campaign is beyond well known, after a speech she gave for the event went viral and made her a new face in the global push for feminism. Emma is always my definition of a strong and amazing woman, and something I aspire to be. She’s an inspiration all around in her fight for gender equality, personal style, and impressive grace in everything she does. Including that time she punched Malfoy.
She’s a complete and total badass. Her hat trick in this year’s World Cup finals solidified a victory for the U.S. Women’s National Team for the first time since 1999, and is widely recognized as the greatest individual performance in any World Cup game. She’s an incredible leader, known for her unprecedented work ethic, and inspiring her teammates and young women around the country to be better on and off the field. I had the privilege of attending the ESPYs this year and was overjoyed witnessing the recognition she and her team very deservingly received at the show. They won “Best Team” and beat out some pretty huge names like the New England Patriots (sorry, Camille!) and Chicago Blackhawks. Truly. Amazing. -- Rachel
Because as Kevin Durant said, they’re the real MVPs. -- Mishri
Any woman that beautiful yet that self-deprecating is an inspiration. In the past year alone, she’s posted photos of her stretchmarks, admitted to licking the nacho cheese off Doritos (I’m not alone!), earned a gig on Lip Synch Battle, and inspired the masses with her recipes from her upcoming cookbook. She’s refreshingly honest and unfalteringly hilarious in a world where photos are retouched and Instagram accounts are curated to perfection. Plus, she loves her dogs, and happens to be married to an angel on Earth, aka John Legend. -- Esther
Malala was on her way to school one day, when she was accosted by gunmen and shot for advocating education. Her skull was fractured and she nearly died. Since then, she’s been fighting for girls’ rights to an education around the world. In her book I Am Malala, she doesn’t focus on her journey as a survivor… she explores topics around humanity and change. Her ability to forgive and overcome really resonated with me, and I’m in awe of how she found the humanity in a man who tried to kill her. She also started the Malala Fund, dedicated to helping 60 million girls in the developing world receive proper schooling. She’s also the youngest ever winner for the Nobel Peace Prize! -- Uzma
Not only does she play a fierce, independent PR professional, Olivia Pope, Kerry spends so much of her time giving back to the world. She made history as the first black actress to lead a network TV drama in almost 40 years. She spends her free time as a political activist, supporting movements like #blacklivesmatter, gender equality and LGBT rights. She is a member of the Creative Coalition and sits on the board of V-Day, an organization that works to end violence against women. She is an amazing example for women of color to believe in themselves and their dreams.
I respect the hell out of Marissa. Not only did she make a huge impact at Google as employee #20 (her accomplishments there are too numerous to name), but she also took on one of the most difficult jobs in the industry at Yahoo, completely reviving the 20-year-old giant (disclaimer: Yahoo is one of our clients). And she does it with grace, transparency, and an enthusiasm that I admire. -- Annie
For saying things like this: “My version of feminism is at its most basic level — it’s about equality. I think that so many women have been misinformed about what feminism means. They think it means growing out your armpit hair, burning your bras, and storming through the streets with a skewer ready to get men. What it actually means is you believe in human rights and women should be fairly compensated for the jobs that they do and that they should be [offered] the same opportunities and they shouldn’t be discriminated against or hurt because of their gender.” -- Shelby
Dr. Maya Angelou - “I'm a woman, phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me."
There are many beautiful, strong, fascinating women in this world, but none have moved me quite like Maya Angelou. She’s best known for her internationally acclaimed series of autobiographies, especially I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, which centers on her childhood and young adult life experiences. She published several books of poetry and essays, was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years, and received more than 50 honorary degrees. She was an activist in the civil rights movement working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, recited her own poem at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration, was nominated for a Tony award and a Pulitzer Prize, was awarded the 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and so much more. She is a true inspiration and symbol of “self-examination, equality and friendship,” and her lessons in being better women (and people) live on! -- Camille
She breaks boundaries for women, comedians and the LGBT community. She also makes us laugh, dances daily and encourages everyone to be kind to one another. An inspiration to all ages! Favorite Ellen quote: "Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values." -- Katie
My Grandmother, aka the “Queen Bee”
While she may not be as famous as the other “Queen B,” she is just as flawless and fierce as any modern day celebrity, and her *magic* touches everyone she meets. Throughout her life, Derelys Delano has embodied old-Hollywood style glamour with a touch of European class, and the warmth and hospitality you’d expect from a Southern belle. She has taught me that:
- It pays to be well-read. Never stop reading and learning.
- Put your best foot forward each day - always approach situations and people with a positive attitude and a sparkle in your eye.
- Your heart can never be too big. Share it with others. Especially those that could use the extra attention.
She’s magnetic in every way and inspires women around her to be their best selves.
Miss Independent, Kelly Clarkson
It’s hard to believe how much time has passed since Kelly Clarkson took home the first-ever American Idol trophy, and 13+ years later, this Southern gal continues to inspire! Not only are her vocal skills unmatched by most artists these days, but she’s remained humble throughout the years, staying true to her roots -- and out of controversy. True to her independent nature, her music is marked by themes of self-empowerment, and I commend how steadfast she’s been when much of her time in the public eye has been marred by hateful criticism. She’s not afraid to talk about her faith, laughs off jabs from media about her weight, and isn’t afraid to be a dork on stage -- I know from experience! At the end of the day, this girl’s got range, and that’s something to be respected. -- Sarah
All the women of Cutline!
I've never been more inspired, more energized or more excited than I am right now. This team, which happens to be made up of all women, is incredible. They're smart. They're driven. They're supportive. They're funny. They're fun. They're fierce. And I am both humbled and honored every day that I'm able to call each and every Cutliner a teammate. -- Erin