At the end of 2013, I came across a lot of ‘feminist round ups’ of the year that covered only achievements happening in the US and Europe. This frustrated me. So, in 2014, I started collecting tweets that I came across which linked to cool examples of fierce feminists from the majority world - and at the end of the year, I wrote this post - 24 fierce acts of feminism you probably didn’t hear about in 2014.
Last year, I was slightly less attentive to curating my Majority World feminism timeline, but I still managed to get some good ones. So, a little late, but here are my favourite examples of majority world feminism, from 2015.
Tweet with #mwfem if you come across more!
###1. A city in India elected the country’s first transgender mayor
Madhu Kinnar, 35, won the mayoral election in Raigarh in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh in January 2015.
A city in central India has elected the country's first transgender mayor, nine months after a court ruled that transgender be recognised as a legal third gender, local media reported.
Read more here and here.
###2. Activists protecting girls’ rights in Krygystan continued their work
Amazing work done by @girlactivist_kg protecting girls and women in Kyrgystan, giving them voice. pic.twitter.com/gBeVgEIIAg— Annalisa Merelli (@missanabeem) January 24, 2015
And check out this round up from Global Voices of Five issues that matter to Krygystan’s girl-activists.
###3. Zambia elected their first woman Vice President, Inoge Mutukwa Wina
Congratulations to #Zambia on their first Female Vice President , Madam Inonge Wina . #Zambia pic.twitter.com/jBKeskqoLx— CNBC Africa (@cnbcafrica) January 26, 2015
..and she has a strong background of women’s rights activism- according to this profile of her in the Lusaka Times, she was “was instrumental in promoting women’s human rights agenda, resulting in the Zambian government’s establishment of the Victim Support Unit under the Zambia Police Service.”
###4. Indonesian women took to Twitter to protest against a prominent male author who said selfies were a “sin against Islam”
Using the hashtag #Selfie4Siauw, Indonesian women (and men) took selfies and trolled the man with their pictures. Read more.
###5. After suffering from polio as a child, this woman from the UAE started taking part in international weightlifting competitions
An inspiring woman with a debilitating and potentially fatal disease has beaten the odds and made her country proud by taking part in international weightlifting competitions. Ansaf Saeed... who contracted polio as a youngster, has worked hard to prove that despite her disability, she can do what able-bodied people can do just as well, if not better, be they men or women.
###6. These women are saving lives in Syria as part of the White Helmets search and rescue workers
'I couldn't sit and do nothing': the women saving lives in Syria http://t.co/2qw2Lttuod Powerful article by @dimplevjk for @GuardianGDP— Rachel Banning-Lover (@RBanningLover) February 4, 2015
The White Helmets all agree they are transforming perceptions about Syrian women. “We are definitely changing mindsets,” says Shawaf. “Once people realised how useful we could be, they became really supportive and even started encouraging their sisters to join us!”
from the Guardian.
###7. Amani Yahya, a rapper from Yemen, performing on the BBC’s Middle East Beats series
###8. This software engineer from Ghana, who was diagnosed with cerebal palsy as a child and is now CTO of Logiciel
Farida Bedwei was diagnosed with cerebal palsy as a child, and is now considered “one of the most powerful women in financial technology on the continent”, after training as a software engineer. Read more.
###9. Hana al-Omair, a film director from Saudi Arabia who won an award for best drama at the Saudi Film Festival
In February, Hana al-Omair took the Golden Palm Tree prize for her drama “Complain,” which told the story of a hospital worker who lodges a complaint against a colleague, an act symbolizing everything wrong in her life. Read more.
###10. Afghan men marched in support of women’s rights
Afghan men don burqas & march in Kabul for women's rights http://t.co/MLAyiGEoIw #IWD2015 pic.twitter.com/lEL8YI8wMt— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) March 6, 2015
###11. Turns out, India’s top English books publishers are women
English-language publishing in India is probably the only industry in the country where women dominate the top positions at several of the leading publishers.
Nice. Read more.
###12. This podcast with Palestinian women physicists, giving some tips to the West
###13. These 9 Young Women Are Changing Humanities in India Through their Work
...despite the odds, here are some phenomenal young women from India who've been breaking conventions left, right and center with their projects and movements.
###14. These Afghan women broke with custom to carry the coffin of a murdered woman
Afghan women broke tradition to carry coffin of woman lynched & burned (BBC) http://t.co/H8PiaYQbVo pic.twitter.com/clWmG27zlc #Farkhunda— reported.ly (@reportedly) March 23, 2015
Farkhunda was falsely accused of burning a Koran, and beaten and killed in public. Hundreds attended her funeral, and women - breaking with traditional Afghan custom - carried her coffin themselves. Read more.
###15. This Egyptian woman who pretended to be a man for 40 years in order to work
After her husband died when she was seven months pregnant, Sisa Abu Daooh started pretending to be a man in order to find employment to support her daughter. In March 2015, she was voted “best mum” by officials in her city, Luxor. Read more.
###16. Saina Nehwal became first Indian woman badminton player to be world no. 1
Aged just 25, Saina Nehwal has been breaking records throughout her career - and last March, hit the top spot of World Number 1.
The awesome @NSaina. Creates history; First Indian woman shuttler to become world No. 1 http://t.co/aHRsyf5buN pic.twitter.com/AoQ4SWEdUD"— Saikat Datta (@saikatd) March 28, 2015
###17. These badass women biker gangs from Morocco, featured in a documentary
Morocco’s biker girl gangs featured in colorful new doc. http://t.co/LblPmlk1BQ pic.twitter.com/xRtTonBVLJ— GOOD (@good) April 8, 2015
###18. Leila Araghian, an architect from Iran, designed this award-winning bridge
Young female architect in #Tehran designs jaw-dropping bridge - http://t.co/aeEncd3Wee #iran #iranian pic.twitter.com/j6VimsfWmo— Reorient Magazine (@reorientmag) April 22, 2015
Leila was just 26 years old when she designed it, and five years later, it has won international awards for its stunning design - despite facing international sanctions on the computer software she and her team needed to work on the design.
###19. Shamim Akhtar, Pakistan’s first woman truck driver
After being unable to provide for her family, Shamim received training from the Islamabad Traffic Police. Read more.
###20. Tahrir Hammad became the first woman to perform Muslim weddings in Palestine
She added, with a laugh: “I wanted to show that women could do it. I wanted to ignite sparks.
###21. Mauritius elected their first woman president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: Muslim woman and Mauritius’s first female president. pic.twitter.com/Jqi20ddlJj— Suleiman (@Payitforward87) October 1, 2015
On June 1st, Ameenag Gurib-Fakim was elected president of Mauritius. This makes her the third female president of Africa. Gurib-Fakim is a renowned scientist and biologist, she has a PhD in Chemistry. And to top it all: she was dean at the University of Mauritius and she even published over twenty books.
###22. Zainab became the only Afghan woman to run in the Bamiyan marathon
Sport has become, for Zainab, a tool to encourage Afghan women to defy cultural norms and assert themselves in society. As part of a generation that hardly remembers Taliban rule, and whose values evolve faster than those of society, Zainab has seen many male figures of authority try to thwart her few options to exercise.
###23. The first women-only radio station in Nigeria launched
WOW! Nigeria's first ever WOMEN's ONLY RADIO STATION is here! https://t.co/XHswKfbi0U #gender #nigeria— Toyin Olakanpo (@ToyinO1) November 6, 2015
Listen online at WFM91.7 - “Unapologetically for women”
###24. Iranian feminist magazine Zanan-e Emrooz relaunched after 6 months of closure
Good News! Zanan-e Emrooz or Women Today #Iran #feminist Monthly reissued permit & on stands again after 6mo closure pic.twitter.com/Pi8GhvBBvP— Sussan Tahmasebiسوسن (@sussantweets) November 8, 2015