IF THE PAST FEW DECADES HAVE TAUGHT US ANYTHING, IT’S THAT EQUALITY COMES IN MANY FORMS.
by Joanne Xu
Since August 26th was first deemed Women’s Equality Day to celebrate the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, some things have changed. There are more working women than ever before. They’re more economically empowered; they celebrate their body and its resilience; they build cool things. And they take care of their people, as women always have.
Other things, as 2020 has made evidently clear, have still not changed enough. But the one thing that has sprung from the pits of this fateful year is an awakened sense of togetherness. Women en masse are vocalizing their worth like never before — and not just for themselves. It seems that everywhere, women are reckoning with the fact that equality isn’t equality until women of all intersectionalities are protected. By law, at work, in the outdoors, in every way of life. This reckoning with reality, and all the frontliners who are working to improve it, is worth celebrating in spades.
We’ve rounded up five women (of many) whose work across numerous causes all ladder up to the same goal: celebrating the voices of the 51%.
1. Jezz Chung
First up, this Brooklynite is a multi hyphenated creative and public speaker that’s committed her career to advancing equity, liberation, and inclusion efforts for BIPOC and queer voices. Her Instagram is chocked full of exploratory resources that make us better allies to all the different women around us. If you’re new to her page, read her recent thoughts on the arrival of Queen Bey’s “Black Is King”.
If you’ve been around, you might remember the founder of Hike Clerb, a Recreational safe space for intersectional women that encourages outdoor exploration. Earlier this year, Escobar-Thomas told The Recreationalist that as a Black and Latinx woman growing up, she wasn’t ever made to feel like the outdoors belonged to her too. Her work with Hike Clerb and environmentalism beyond is inspiring Recreationalists everywhere to rally for true equity in the outdoors.
We had to do it. This woman needs no introduction, but we’ll recap her influence for nostalgia’s sake. AOC made history back in 2018 when her grassroots, people-funded campaign led to the biggest upset victory since the U.S. ice hockey team beat the Soviets at the 1980 Olympics. (That’s just facts.) She’s since flipped ageism on its head, and proved that a woman can talk about beauty products or rebute a political stance and be regarded an intellectual both ways. Read the journalled reflections that ultimately comprised AOC’s recent response to a male Senator’s degrading public remarks toward her for an instant mood boost.
Surely you recognize this celebrated actress from her infamous surname (yes, as in Ernest Hemingway). It’s no secret that the highly visible family is no stranger to the generational effects of depression and suicide, but it’s what Mariel Hemingway has made of those traumatic circumstances that lands her on this list. Her lifelong advocacy work for mental health has energized an entire movement dedicated to the art of mindfulness. If you need further introduction, read about her no-shoes policy in the outdoors.
Back before Kony 2012 was on anyone’s radar, Natalie Warne and the team at Invisible Children were protesting in the rain and courting Oprah to help stop the exploitation of child soldiers. Now, she’s co-hosting “Hey There Human”, a new (and fully cathartic) IG Live series with Rainn Wilson on coping with COVID. Each episode confronts a different facet of human exploration in the wake of a global pandemic, which sounds really hefty until you see the slew of comedic guests the show attracts. Hey, laughter is self-care. And self-care is activism.
There are so many powerful women in our Recreationalist community beyond this list. Let us know how, and with who, you’re celebrating Women’s Equality Day in the comments below.
Written by Joanne Xu
Featured photo via Getty Images