From the Sisters Uncut activism group storming the BAFTAs red carpet to call out Theresa May’s domestic violence bill and its lack of support for survivors, to the teenage girls campaigning for tighter gun legislation in the US following a shooting at their school in Florida, it feels like young women are leading the charge when it comes to trying to make the world a better place right now.
It’s only been 100 years since certain women in the UK were granted the vote and there’s still an unsettling disparity when it comes to the number of women in power – only 32 per cent of MPs are women – but over the past few months we’ve been making up for lost time when it comes to shouting loudly about injustice and inequality. Last Saturday, Emma González – a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students were murdered by a gunman last Wednesday – passionately addressed crowds at a gun control rally.
In front of the world’s media she stood up to Donald Trump and his seeming lack of action, doing something that many politicians have so far been unwilling to do. “If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” she said, cutting all the crap and directly referencing the fact that Trump’s presidential campaign was in part funded by the NRA. As speeches go it was way more moving than anything Trump has said since coming to power at the start of 2017, and a hell of a lot more genuine.
Meanwhile, in Hollywood, it is young women who are spearheading one of the most visible activism movements of recent years – the Time’s Up campaign against sexual assault, kickstarted by the years of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein that first surfaced in 2017. Over 400 women in the entertainment industry have signed the campaign’s open letter, from Amy Schumer and Zoë Kravitz to Greta Gerwig and Laverne Cox, pledging to seed a legal fund to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment. Since the letter was published on January 1, the movement has made countless headlines and raised over $20 million. After centuries of being subjugated, young women are making a bold and powerful stand – let’s hope the world doesn’t just watch, but listens too.