The Top 15 Feminist Moments of 2015

Ah, 2015. The year feminist declarations were too many to count, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ruled the Supreme Court (and our hearts), Hollywood sexism came under fire, feminist films filled the big screen and so much more.

In no particular order, check out 15 of the best feminist moments of 2015!

1. The White House battled sexual assault with a powerful PSA.

The star-studded video about consent marked the one-year anniversary of the It’s On Us campaign.

2. The U.S. opened up all military combat roles to women.

Photo courtesy of The White House/Flickr

Women had served in combat positions for years, but were prevented from receiving the titles and promotions associated with those roles. Finally, service women stopped being excluded.

3. Cecile Richards owned a Congressional hearing aimed at taking down Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood’s president was the definition of grace under fire during a Congressional hearing into now-debunked videos meant to smear the reproductive healthcare provider.

4. The tech industry took the lead on parental leave.

First it was Google, then Facebook, Amazon, NetflixSpotify, PayPal and others began offering broad parental leave policies for women and men.

5. Love won!

Photo by Zachary Hunt/Flickr

Photo by Zachary Hunt/Flickr

In a victory for love, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

6. The #SayHerName campaign brought black women’s stories of police brutality to the forefront.

Ms. writer Kimberle Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum launched #SayHerName with a report, and the movement immediately took off.

7. President Obama declared what it really means to “play like a girl.”

In a speech congratulating the U.S. women’s national soccer team on their World Cup win, President Obama said that “playing like a girl means you’re a badass.”

8. The ACLU urged the EEOC to investigate gender discrimination in Hollywood.

And it was successful! The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began investigating discrimination against women directors in October. Hollywood women also spoke out about industry sexism in a New York Times Magazine cover story.

9. Jane the Virgin took on immigration reform.

Screen shot 2015-12-17 at 4.42.04 PM

In a no-holds-barred episode of the Golden Globe-award winning TV show, Jane the Virgin taught viewers about medical repatriation, a practice that prevents many undocumented immigrants from obtaining necessary medical care, and demanded #ImmigrationReform.

10. Thirty-five women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault appeared on the cover of New York magazine.

Screen shot 2015-12-17 at 4.53.07 PM

Each woman was profiled separately by New York and shared the chilling details of their experiences with Cosby.

11. Hillary Clinton talked feminism with Lena Dunham.

When actor/director Dunham asked Clinton if she considers herself a feminist, Clinton replied, “Yes. Absolutely. I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman of whatever age, but particularly a young woman, says something like, ‘well, I believe in equal rights but I’m not a feminist.’ Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights.”

12. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a gender-balanced cabinet.

When asked why he selected equal numbers of women and men, Trudeau said simply, “Because it’s 2015.”


13. Misty Copeland made ballet history.


Photo via Shutterstock

She became the American Ballet Theater’s first ever black woman principal dancer.

14. Bree Newsome scaled a South Carolina Statehouse flagpole, yanked off the Confederate flag and smacked down America’s racist past—and present.


Two words to describe this woman: Rock. Star.

15. Trans visibility skyrocketed.


Photo via Amazon

Not only did Laverne Cox shine in the second season of Orange Is the New Black, she also wrapped production on her documentary, Free CeCe!, profiling a trans woman who was jailed for acting in self-defense. This year also saw the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair and a host of awards for Jill Soloway’s stunning family dramedy, Transparent.

Add your favorite feminist moments in the comments!

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Stephanie Hallett is research editor at Ms. Follow her on Twitter @stephhallett.


  1. Thanks for #12. So proud of our new PM

  2. The introduction of the EACH Woman Act in Congress! Over 100 co-sponsors and the first bill to proactively support and expand abortion rights in decades. We need federal protections more than ever as states cut access and bring us back to a world where those with means can get abortions and those without cannot.

  3. Can 11 please be replaced with something else. I’m sure there’s another great feminist thing that happened this year (maybe talk about the multiple great female leads in male-dominated dramas like Mad Max: Fury Road and the new Star Wars?) because putting Lena Dunham, a white feminist who sexually assaulted her younger sister, at the front of the feminist movement is wrong and insulting.

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