10 Women Who Continue to Create Bliss in 2018
Women have to work twice as hard to prove themselves in our male-dominated society. While the pressures are changing and improving, they are still present. It seems, however, that 2018 was the year of the woman, with inspirational gains in politics, activism and popular culture.
Here are ten women who have made their mark and who continue to prove the powerful impact women have in creating a healthier community for all.
American tennis professional and businesswoman gave birth to a daughter at the tail end of 2017. What should have been a time full of joy turned into a vast trial as Williams battled health complications. Not 24 hours after giving birth, Williams experienced a blood clot in her lungs, an issue she has fought for years. The pulmonary embolism was just the beginning. The scar from her c-section opened up from coughing. The doctors discovered immense clotting in her abdomen and performed more surgeries that required Williams, a seasoned athlete, to spend more than six weeks in bed. She acknowledges that without the expert professional care she received, she would not be alive today. Grateful to be alive, Williams now works with UNICEF to spread awareness about health and human rights issues. She urges people to donate and participate in making healthcare more accessible so we can make a difference in the lives of millions of future newborns. Williams is not only a success story, but she is also an inspiration to women everywhere who want to make the world a better place.
After five years, Avril Lavigne has released a new single called, "Head Above Water." This song is a drastic change in direction for the 34-year-old pop star, whose usual sound has a punk edginess to it. Her recent release has topped the Christian charts in an unexpected crossover. But why the change? Lavigne was sick for years with Lyme disease. At first, her doctors told her she was "stressed" and only needed to rest. They made her feel crazy. Lavigne knew her body; she knew there was something wrong. She was able to use the internet to self-diagnose and sought after a Lyme disease specialist who put her on the right medications. Lavigne was bedridden for more than two years and at one point accepted that she might die. She was able to pull through, but she knows that without her ability to find her particular doctor, she might not have been so lucky. In that spirit, she has created TheAvrilLavigneFoundation.org to spread awareness about Lyme disease as well as fund treatments for patients. Lavigne has overcome significant obstacles, found God and is using her resources to create a healthier future.
The #MeToo movement has been the centre of conversation this year, as women push back against the toxic cultural expectations that silence women in situations of sexual harassment. Many Hollywood stars have been at the helm of this movement, including Emma Watson. This year, she spoke out about the range of sexual harassment that she and women everywhere have put up with for far too long. She also spoke for the Time's Up movement and wore a temporary tattoo with that slogan to the Oscars this year. The Time's Up movement was born out of #MeToo. It focuses on the sexual misconduct that is rampant in the film industry. The star is no stranger to activism and has served as a women's ambassador for the United Nations. Watson is a talented actress who uses her platform to influence politics, promote gender equality and secure a safer future for women.
Pink started her platform as a rebellious girl and self-proclaimed mess-up. She was into the party scene and nearly overdosed at the age of 15. Eventually, as her career took off and she became a parent, she bloomed into the role model we never knew we needed. She is a healthy, vocal, self-respecting mother who is showing her children how to lead positive lives and be confident in their unique beauty. People Magazine put Pink on the cover of this year's Beautiful Issue to honour her accomplishments and personality. The main article is titled, "How I'm Raising Strong Kids: The Radiant Rock-Star Mom on Kindness, Fairness and Standing Up to Bullies." The cover features Pink, smiling wide and holding her two beautiful children, Willow and Jameson. Her journey is an inspirational one that shows that your past does not need to define who you become.
Oprah wasn't always worth more than $4 billion. She grew up in poverty with government assistance. After years of hard work, she became a millionaire at the age of thirty-two. She continues to be successful and works hard to leave this world better than she found it. Oprah inspires women everywhere with her stories, advice and movie roles. In January 2018, she was the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award. This award is an honorary Golden Globe given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." It was a historical moment, and her acceptance speech did not disappoint. She spoke about racial injustice and gender inequality. This moment was another success for her to add to the mountain of amazing accomplishments in her life. Every person should hear her speech as she declares hope for a better tomorrow.
Ellen Degeneres is a bright ray of light in a dark world. She has done so much good that it is hard to pick out any one moment for which to praise her. Besides supporting activism for LGBT rights, Degeneres educates the world in generosity. Earlier this year, she gave away $1 million to her audience members. Every day, it seems she donates money or gives brilliant gifts to people out of the goodness of her heart. In doing so, it is much more than philanthropy. It shows people how to give in a society that is so mundane. Degeneres sets a positive example and improves the lives of others in hopes that they will pass it on.
Michelle Williams, one-third of Destiny's Child, spoke out this year about her battle with depression. She discussed seeking treatment, having a support group and ending the stigma our society places on people with mental health issues. We need more down-to-Earth celebrities like this to come forward and normalise the conversation about mental health.
The 2018 midterm elections in the United States saw many victories by women including Sharice Davids, who beat Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder, a white male, for a spot in Congress. She changed history as the first openly gay Native American in Congress and the first openly gay Kansas representative. She was one of the first Native Americans ever to be elected to Congress. As a Native American woman raised by a single mother, her life was far from easy, but she worked hard to earn a law degree from Cornell before pursuing a career in politics. She vows to bring opportunity and equity for all. As a "voice for the voiceless," Davids aims to fight for equal healthcare, sensible immigration policy and overall, a brighter future.
Kristen Bell is an American actress who uses her social ability to fight for animal rights. She has been a vegetarian almost her entire life and won PETA's "World's Sexiest Vegetarians" award back in 2006. She has a history of fostering animals from the Humane Society and attending fundraisers for organisations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, this woman doesn't only support animal rights. She assists organisations like Invisible Children, Declare Yourself for voter education and the Alzheimer's Association, among others. In the past, she served on the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet. There's no stopping this powerhouse actress and mother of two as she saves animals and people one by one. This year, Bell became the first global advocate for the United Nations' Women's Peace & Humanitarian Fund. She will continue to fight for gender equality and encourage others to stand up for the causes they believe in.
Gun violence is an epidemic in the United States. With almost as many mass shootings the last 12 months as there are days in the year, the fear and outrage are palpable. Emma Gonzalez was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where she survived a mass shooting that left 17 people she knew dead and 15 others wounded in just under 7 minutes. Since that day, she has not backed down on fighting to cure this epidemic and began the #NeverAgain movement. She gave a real face to victims of gun violence with her tear-filled, sincere speeches such as her viral speech at March for Our Lives earlier this year. She is proof that the youth is our future and that women of all ages deserve a voice because we are capable of making a difference. She was heavily criticised by pro-gun politicians and constituents alike who belittled and degraded Gonzalez, but in the face of betrayal, this fierce young woman shows bravery and perseverance.
These women are all incredible, but you are too! This is our time. Our voices are essential in creating a better world for all beings. How are you going to use your gifts and make your