Women’s History Month has just ended, but it’s never a bad time to celebrate powerful and inspiring women. Here is a short list of some of today’s:
Gina Rodriguez is the second Latina actress to have won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Actress. Her lead role on the CW comedy-drama Jane the Virgin has launched her into a whirlwind of success. Rodriguez continues to represent the Hispanic community through her work both on and off the screen. In 2015, she joined the HSF’s (Hispanic Scholarship Fund) Board of Directors. The HSF is the United States’ biggest non-profit organization which supports Hispanic Americans receiving higher education.
Angelina Jolie is known for her work on the big screen, but her work as a humanitarian is just as incredible. In 2001, she joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and for the past decade has embarked in over forty field missions as well as donated over a million dollars to the UNHCR. Jolie has also lobbied for child immigration and education, launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) with Foreign Secretary William Hague, and even opened an all-girls school in Pakistan in honor of Malala Yousafzai.
The Queen Bey’s success is one that never goes unnoticed. From her early Destiny’s Child work to her success post girl group, Beyoncé is a musical legend, but her fame has room for other important matters. In recent years, Beyoncé has used her platform to shine light on social issues such as police brutality. As an outspoken feminist, Beyoncé’s sixth studio album Lemonade included the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner holding pictures of their sons, who are victims of police brutality, in the music video for “Freedom.” She has also stated, “I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me,” in response to the public’s reaction to her “Formation” music video.
With classic albums like Good Girl Gone Bad and ANTI, Rihanna has been a musician that never fails to give us bops. She’s won multiple Grammys and Billboard music awards for her singles, and she’s also succeeded in the film industry through her work in Battleship and Home. However, it goes beyond that: Rihanna was recently awarded Harvard University’s “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Harvard Foundation for her founding of the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. She was also awarded for her work to improve education programs that support low income students in Barbados.
Laverne Cox is best known for her role on the Netflix Original Series, Orange is the New Black. From the beginning of her career Cox has been an LGBT+ activist, specifically for the transgender community. She is the first openly transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine and be nominated for a primetime Emmy. Cox continues to be a public figure for transgender women and after joining a campaign against a Phoenix, Arizona law which allows police to arrest anyone suspected of “manifesting prostitution”, and which she feels targets transgender women of color. Cox said “All over the country, trans women are targeted simply for being who they are. Laws like this manifestation law really support systematically the idea that girls like me, girls like me and Monica, are less than [others] in this country.”