This year, feminists have a lot to be thankful for, so we jotted down a top 12 list of reasons to be grateful. (Add your own in the comments section below.) In between forkfuls tomorrow, let’s give some shout-outs for all the people who inspired us and all that we’ve accomplished in 2013!
1) We’re thankful for victories in the fight for reproductive freedom, including the rejection of the Albuquerque abortion ban, the approval of over-the-counter Plan B, and the expansion of abortion access in California by allowing nurse practitioners and other trained medical personnel to perform first-trimester abortions. Although we lost ground on abortion rights in Texas, Ohio and North Carolina, we’re grateful for the courageous women and men fighting back against draconian restrictions on women’s health care.
2) We’re thankful for the continuing rollout of the Affordable Care Act and all its benefits for women. Finally, being a woman isn’t a preexisting condition, and women can’t be charged higher insurance premiums than men.
3) We’re thankful for the recognition given to so many important pioneers and role models in the fight for women’s equality:
- Gloria Steinem, along with Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Judge Patricia Wald and Loretta Lynn, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
- Diana Nyad became the first person to swim nonstop from Cuba to the U.S. without a shark cage.
- Influential women such as author Doris Lessing, pianist Marian McPartland, Ms. editor Mary Thom and breast cancer activist Barbara Brenner died this year, but leave behind indelible legacies.
4) We’re thankful for the activism aimed at combating rape culture:
- Four more people were indicted for their role in the Steubenville rape case.
- Hacktivist group Anonymous has gained a reputation for intervening in rape cases and seeing that they get proper legal attention.
- People continue to find unique ways to speak out against rape culture, such as in these darkly satirical videos—one a response to the New Delhi gang rape and another the semi-autobiographical Meet My Rapist by Jessie Kahnweiler.
- The Supreme Court overturned both California’s ban on gay marriage (Prop. 8) and the Defense of Marriage Act, thus extending federal marriage benefits to married same-sex couples.
- 16 states and Washington D.C. have now legalized marriage equality, including both Hawaii and Illinois, which legalized it just this month.
- Many countries have hopped on the marriage equality bandwagon, including France, England and Wales and New Zealand.
- The U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which, if passed by the House as well, would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.
6) We’re thankful for the international days of recognition set aside to honor women and bring attention to issues facing them across the globe, such as the recent International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women.
7) We’re thankful for fearless political leaders who stand up for women, including Texas Sens. Wendy Davis and Letitia Van de Putte (who fought hard for reproductive rights), and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) (who have led the charge to protect women in the military from sexual assault).
8) We’re thankful for hard-fought policy victories that will benefit women in the future, such as the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act and the newly amended rules for filibuster procedure in the Senate. We’re grateful for how women have used their voting power to turn elections in favor of our rights, such as in Virginia recently.
9) We’re thankful for the many films featuring strong female characters or feminist topics that have/will come out this year, such as Gravity, Catching Fire, Band of Sisters, Young Lakota, Valentine Road, After Tiller and more.
10) We’re thankful to see underpaid fast-food workers stand up for their rights and draw attention to the necessity of a living wage in America.
11) We’re thankful that body issues have come to the forefront, as fat-shamers and body discriminators receive public criticism (looking at you, Abercrombie!), along with renewed discussions about how toys can shape self-esteem and body image.
12) We’re grateful for the many readers of Ms. magazine, the Ms. Blog and our social media pages, and we’re ever-so-thankful to our donors, supporters and subscribers who enable us to keep spreading the message of feminist ideals and actions! If you’re not already a part of that community, please join today!
We still have a long way to go, but it’s important to pause and give thanks for how far we’ve come. That’s our top 12, but there is so much more to be thankful for! What are your feminist reasons to give thanks this year?
Albuquerque photo by Brooke Hofhenke, photo of D.C. Slutwalk participant courtesy of Flickr user Ben Schumin, marriage equality symbol courtesy of Flickr user Bloody Marty, photo of Wendy Davis courtesy of Flickr user Denise Flores, Gravity photo courtesy of Flickr user canburak, “Happy Thanksgiving” courtesy of Christopher T. George, all via Creative Commons.
Melissa McGlensey recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in English and Spanish with a minor in creative writing; she is currently interning at Ms. Read more from her at OhHeyMeliss.com.