As the year comes to a close, World Pulse members shed light on some of the many key milestones women achieved in 2015.
What will you remember about 2015?
It was a year of Ebola and terrorist threats; a year of refugees in crisis; a year of natural disasters and mounting climate change consequences. It's easy to find reasons to be grateful the year is coming to a close.
But, as we looked through community submissions to World Pulse, we keep finding reasons to celebrate. We see beauty and abundance. We see supportive comments and meaningful milestones.
As we look back at the year, we look to our community membersto give voice to just some of the many key milestones reached for women's empowerment.
Across the world, women continue to be underrepresented in politics. From the right to vote, to seats in parliament, we have a long way to go before we can say we have reached true gender equality in the political arena. But a few countries are narrowing the gap.
Saudi Arabia Women Vote, Become Elected Officials
2015 marked a year of firsts for women in Saudi Arabia—a country that has long been known for its oppressive policies towards women. While many policies—including a ban on female drivers and male guardianship laws—remain in effect, for the first time, women were given the right to vote and the right to run for municipal office. According to the Associated Press, in the December elections, 20 women were elected to councils in what clearly marks a monumental turning point for women.
“Women are half of society, and they raise the other half—how is it we think she’s one half of society only? Women are society. We are the today, we are the tomorrow. How long will women wait for the State to give them the right they already have as Muslim women and should have as citizens?”
Nepal elects first female president
“Nepal made history in October when Bidhya Devi Bhandari became the country’s first female president. A renowned advocate for women’s rights, Bhandari is poised to lead the country in its efforts to achieve gender equality.”
“With the election of women as both President and Spokespersonof Legislative Parliament, Nepal has reached an unprecedented milestone in its history...I hope the rise of more women leaders from across the country will lead the way forward in days to come. The significance of this achievement is not limited to Nepalese women alone but is bound to affect the women globally with a little step forward towards a more equal world.”
“This year, people took to social media and to the streets to make a positive difference in women’s lives. Here are a few of the important social movements that gained steam and caught our attention.”
HeForShe invites men to be part of the solution
“The UN’s HeForShe campaign has succeeded in mobilizing men from all over the world to make gender equality commitments. For years, we’ve witnessed increasing global recognition that equality is not a “women’s issue” and that men also need to be involved if we are going to see large scale change in the status quo. This is one trend we are glad is catching on!”
“Caring about all people, even those who are part of the problem, is the only way to change the world. We need to think about how we are going to raise men who are responsible and kind.”