#YesSheCan Celebrates: Inspirational Black Women

October is Black History Month and here at #YesSheCan we wanted to shout about just some of the inspirational black women in the world!

When looking over the previous decade, one of the most important movements started was the ‘Me, Too’ movement which helped women who had suffered and survived sexual harassment and assault to realise that they were not alone. Burke’s goal was “to spread a message for survivors: You’re heard, you’re understood”. As a result of her work, and the help of other supporters:

  • States are banning nondisclosure agreements (a legal contract or part of a contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to) that cover sexual harassment.
  • Some survivors are getting financial restitution
  • States are also introducing protections for more workers

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors & Opal Tometi

Another incredibly impactful movement is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Garza, Cullors and Tomeeti are the founding team behind BLM. The initiative began online in 2013 following the acquittal of Florida resident George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. There was then a movement in 2014 where crowds took to the streets after the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. For their work, they received a Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Corbett is who we have to thank for helping to develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She is the immunologist and research fellow who led the team that designed the vaccine within two days of the virus being discovered.

The award-winning actress was the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy with her role as Sophia on Orange Is the New Black. She is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and shows her support in many ways, including her involvement with the ‘Disclosure’ documentary which addresses how the transgender community is represented in the media.

If you haven’t heard of Simone Biles, where have you been? She is the most decorated female gymnast ever and, she’s the first Black gymnast to become the world all-around champion. However, she’s also a great role model when it comes to mental health issues and showing that it’s okay to walk away or take a break when things become too much for an individual. After pulling out of the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics she said: “I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and my wellbeing.”

Lizzo is an incredible singer and songwriter but she is also an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity. On her social outputs, Lizzo is known for her inspirational messages around the areas of self-care, body positivity along with mental and physical well-being. She’s also not afraid to speak out for what she believes in. For example, she recently called out those online who post hateful comments towards her stating: ‘‘Y’all doing this to black women over and over and over again, especially us big black girls. When we don’t fit into the box that you want to put us in you just unleash hatred onto us. it’s not cool.’ Well said, Lizzo, well said.

Imafidon is the co-founder of Stemettes which is a social enterprise that aims to inspire and promote young women in STEM industries. As of April 2021, Stemettes has exposed over 45,000 young women across Europe to different opportunities involved in the STEM industries. In 2020 she was named Most Influential Woman in the UK’s Tech Industry by Computer Weekly magazine.

And finally, one of YesSheCan’s inspirational women. Sinead is the founder of the charity We Are We which helps tackle different issues faced by women today. One of their campaigns is the eradication of Period Poverty in the UK, through education, provision and policy. Another campaign of the charity is dedicated to black and people of colour communities. The charity hosts talks and sessions on ways to overcome different cultural and historical stigmas around periods to hopefully get women the help they need.

This is by no means an extensive list but we feel that each of the women listed should be applauded for their actions and achievements! You can find more resources here or read more about being an ally for women of colour.

Black history month

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