By Bianca Galan
Throughout history, powerful women have helped to make this world the world we know. Women, like Mother Theresa, have made global changes, and there are many who are doing it now in the modern era. Women, like Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Malala Yousafzai, have the power to make amazing changes in different communities and generations.
Aside from the fact that she was an Ivy League graduate, Obama is a lawyer and worked in the private sector. Obama was also out country’s first black first lady. She took initiative on health, education and community while serving as the first lady. According to Forbes, Michelle brought attention to the childhood obesity epidemic; to help with this problem, she created “Let’s Move!” in 2010.
Claribel Hernandez, sophomore computer science major, said, “I admire what she has done in the last eight years. I can honestly say that I am amazed at Michelle’s success from the beginning of her job as the first lady. She is a great role model and has [been a] great impact to everyone.”
Obama’s desire to help education and create new, young leaders helped Americans to see the best in themselves. She encouraged others to believe that everyone deserves to have equal rights, no matter the situation or person. Obama affected many girls’ and women’s lives. As stated in the Huffington Post, she used her platform as first lady to effect real change for women, including the “Let Girls Learn” initiative. Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, which is an initiative to help provide veterans, active military service members and their families with access to education, employment and wellness programs.
DeGeneres is arguably one of the biggest gay/lesbian role models there is. DeGeneres is a talk show host and comedian who has the perfect combination of kindness and humor. She started as a stand up comedian performing at coffee houses and clubs before becoming her own protagonist on her sitcom called “Ellen.”
DeGeneres came out as a gay woman in 1997 when it still wasn’t widely accepted. She came out on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and shortly afterward so did her sitcom character on “Ellen,” which had rarely been seen before. This act influenced many lives; many changes have been made since.
Not long ago, former President Obama even gave DeGeneres the Medal of Freedom. When doing this Obama said:
“It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public stages almost 20 years ago. ”
She created and aired “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2003 and became a huge success, according to The Famous People. Through her talk show Ellen has helped others achieve their dreams. According to SheKnows, DeGeneres has given over $50 million dollars on her show. She donated $500,000 dollars to Spain Elementary School in Detroit to rebuild the school, gave a military family living in poverty $50,000 and has done many other valuable things for others.
“I think Ellen is a wonderful human being, who has a huge heart. I love how she gives amazing opportunities to people from all around the world and gives back to the community in endless ways,” said Sneha Chawla, sophomore athletic training major.
Not too long ago, Malala Yousafzai said, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Yousafzai is a 19-year-old Pakistani activist for female education. After being shot at age 15 on her way to school, Malala survived and made the best out of the situation. She became an inspiration for young girls, inspiring them to use their voices.
Malala, at such a young age, has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Goodreads Choice Award for best memoir and autobiography and the United Nations prize for Human Rights. Global Citizen said, “Malala has accomplished more in her early years than most people ever will in their lifetimes.” She is a great example of a young humanitarian who cares about forgiveness and love. She shows others the importance of having a voice. Malala fights for girls to be part of the education system and will keep fighting.
“I think that Malala really inspires others with her example. Not everybody goes through something so big and takes it the way she did. Winning a Nobel Prize at such a young age is not an easy task,” said sophomore biology major Valentina Magdaleno.
Even though these three women were mentioned, there are many others like them that are making history in their own ways – whether we are aware of it or not. Women have proven to have a lot more power than one can imagine, especially in regards to humanitarian work. The smallest actions can make great impact and initiate powerful movements. While women may not have had much of a say in the past, their voices today are being heard louder than ever.