The Top 10 Moments For Women In 2019
This year, countless women set the perfect example for all of us for how to lead and do the work, all while being their best selves, striving for excellence.
Here are just ten of the moments this year that made us proud to be women — and proud of all the incredible work women are doing in this country across ages, races, and backgrounds.
1. The Squad showed us the power of women working together
Each member of the group of freshmen congresswomen now known as “the Squad” is pretty remarkable in her own way. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are the first two Muslim congresswomen ever to serve, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) is Massachusetts’ first Black congresswoman, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress.
Together, they showed the country just how strong they are. After President Trump tweeted that these members of Congress should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” the women held a press conference pushing back.
“It’s not just about dismantling — we’re also intentional about building and fostering,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley said this summer of the group. “The reality is anyone who is interested in building a more equitable and just world is a part of the Squad.”
2. The US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) won the World Cup and fought for equal pay
Not only did the USWNT take home the women’s World Cup title, maintaining America’s lead for most women’s World Cup wins, but they also broke records ranging from scoring the most goals in a FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament to having the first coach to win two World Cup titles.
The team won a major victory off the field this year, too: The lawsuit the team brought against U.S. soccer for gender-based pay discrimination is set to begin in May next year. The most recent news? On November 8, a judge granted the players’ motion to be certified as a class action lawsuit, which the players’ spokesperson called “a historic step forward in the struggle to achieve equal pay.”
3. Michelle Obama’s Becoming became the best-selling memoir … ever
Within two weeks of its release in November 2018, Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming had sold 2 million copies, making it a New York Times bestseller and massive hit. In 2019, however, those sales continued to grow: More than 11 million copies have been sold making her the best-selling memoirist of all time. Oh, and Obama also became a Grammy Award nominee when the audio version of the book was nominated for the award.
What’s more? Obama recently announced that she’ll donate $500,000 in proceeds from the book and its related merchandise to support girls’ education.
4. NASA had its first all-women spacewalk
On October 18, Expedition 61 flight engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir concluded the first spacewalk made up only of women. Together, the astronauts completed replacing a failed power charging component over the course of roughly seven hours, while the whole world tuned in via NASA’s livecast. Although the walk was initially supposed to take place in March, it was derailed due to NASA not having appropriately sized spacesuits for its women astronauts available. The re-scheduled walk ultimately went off without a hitch.
5. Virginia elected the first female speaker of the House in the state’s 400-year legislative history
Many eyes turned to Virginia this November as some of the most competitive midterm elections in the country were held in the commonwealth. But one of the biggest victories occurred days after the elections themselves: Del. Eileen Filler-Corn was elected to be the new speaker of the newly Democratic-majority House. Filler-Corn isn’t just the first female speaker of the House, but she’s also the first Jewish speaker as well.
“The firsts are not lost on me,” Filler-Corn said in a statement at the time. “But it doesn’t define me. When I joined this body less than 10 years ago, I was the only mom serving with school-aged kids. We have come so far since then.”
6. Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history
Simone Biles first captivated the world with her talent at the 2016 Summer Olympics. This year, Biles, at just 22 years old, became the greatest gymnast in history when she won her 24th and 25th career world championship medals, both gold. In fact, of all of her world championship medals, 19 are gold.
7. Greta Thunberg led international strikes to raise awareness of the climate crisis
On September 20, just before countries gathered at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg led an international, coordinated strike to protest governmental inaction on climate change.
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year for her work as the founder of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, Thunberg started protesting alone in 2018 outside the Swedish Parliament. She has since inspired multiple global strikes throughout this year.
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” Thunberg said while addressing the UN Climate Summit after the global strike. “And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
8. Yayoi Kusama became the first woman to design a balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s “Blue Sky Gallery” — which began in 2005 as an opportunity for contemporary artists to feature their work in the parade — had never commissioned a female artist until this year. 90-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama became the first with her contribution “Love Flies Up to the Sky” — a balloon covered in the artist’s signature polka dots.
9. Joy Harjo became the first Native woman poet laureate
In June, award-winning writer Joy Harjo was appointed the country’s 23rd poet laureate, making her the first Native American artist to fill the role. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and an Oklahoma native and resident, Harjo is the author of eight books of poetry, a memoir, and a children’s book.
“I share this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in me a love of poetry, who taught that words are powerful and can make change when understanding appears impossible, and how time and timelessness can live together within a poem,” she said at the time.
10. The most women ever appeared on a presidential debate stage
For the first time ever, women dominated men on a presidential debate stage in November — not only because a record number of women were running for president at the time, but also because all four debate moderators were women. This wasn’t just significant in terms of representation, but also, as many noted, in terms of the questions that were asked and answered — from reproductive rights, to child care costs, to parental leave policies and more.
BONUS: Supermajority launched in April!
It’s been eight months since Supermajority launched in April—and there’s a lot to be proud of. In addition to recruiting 200,000 people (and counting!) as Supermajority members who are working together on behalf of women’s equality, we went on a 19-stop organizing bus tour, building community and training thousands of women in 15 states. More than 75,000 women from all 50 states took Supermajority Education Fund’s Women’s Poll, which informed the Majority Rules — the values that are critical to obtaining equality for women in society, the workplace, and in our government. And we launched Supermajority News, which we hope will become a trusted source of information for you during this important election year and beyond.
We’re excited for the work that lies ahead of us in 2020 and hope you are, too.