The year 2020 was a tough one, but women of all stripes and stars showed us just how amazing they are.
The year 2020 was a difficult one for everyone, but particularly women. When analyzing the labor force, women were the hardest hit. Nonetheless, they displayed great resilience, especially during the pandemic, and led movements that transformed the status quo in the United States. Here are the moments that exemplified their leadership and determination.
Of course, every 2020 roundup list of all the amazing things women accomplished must begin with Kamala Harris's landslide victory during the 2020 Presidential elections. As she continues the transition into the White House, let us hope she keeps her promise of remaining intersectional in her approach to policy and politics. Harris made women everywhere proud as the first woman Vice President (that too, of color!) and the world will be watching to see how she excels in 2021.
A powerful Black woman's death will never be something to celebrate, but Breonna Taylor's life, legacy, and memory strengthened the Black Lives Matter movement and brought attention to the nuanced experiences of Black women; how they are, in a sense, doubly oppressed by both their race and their gender. Taylor's murderers are yet to be arrested, but the movement for justice is going strong. Following her death, the Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously to ban no-knock search warrants, and more is yet to come. #SayHerName
Before 2020 dwindled into the dumpster fire that it eventually became, we were blessed to see Jennifer Lopez and Shakira set fire to the stage at the 2020 Super Bowl. Dancing along to and singing a medley of their songs during the Halftime Show beside Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Lopez's daughter Emme Muñiz, the two Latina superwomen were a definite highlight of the year 2020. Their exuberance and joy carried us through the first few traumatic months of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, and were a reminder of the power that Latina women weild.
Gitanjali Rao, who literally just turned 15 years old in November, was named TIME Magazine's first-ever Kid of the Year. She is an Indian American inventor, author, and scientist, and was recognized for her contributions to STEM as a young girl of color. She conducts "innovation workshops" across the globe, but is best known for developing Tethys, a device based on carbon nanotubes that could send water quality information via Bluetooth. She was inspired by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and wanted to build something to measure the lead content in water.
BREAKING: Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison. The disgraced movie producer was found guilty of sexual assault and 3rd degree rape last month.— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 11, 2020
More than 80 women have accused him of sexual misconduct. pic.twitter.com/7K06TOyZ6A
After several months of battling convoluted lawsuits and sexual assault allegations in court, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape by a jury in February, a win for the #MeToo movement and women everywhere. More than 80 women, all victims of assault, came together to take him down. Although the jury acquitted him of the two most serious charges against him, predatory sexual assault, his case was an example of how to hold even the most powerful men accountable for committing heinous crimes against women.
What better reminder that trans women are women than the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary Disclosure by none other than superstar Laverne Cox? The moving documentary analyzed how Hollywood depicts transgender people and the impact of this on American culture. Disclosure received rave reviews; Ben Travis of Empire noted, "A captivating and comprehensive overview of trans representations in the media that everyone should add to their Netflix watchlist."
Not only did The Squad have great clap back moments in 2020, but it also got much, much bigger. There are 15 incoming freshmen lawmakers, eight of who are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. At least four of them have ties to The Squad. These policymakers include Cori Bush, a nurse and racial justice activist, who cooked up a storm on the internet when she addressed the politics of clothing when she went thrift shopping as a newly-elected Congresswoman.
On September 18, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist champion of the law, left us. While she was not completely clean (her track record on Indigenous rights is not savory in the least), she is a major reason why women today have many of the rights and access to legal recourse that they do. There is no doubt that she will be remembered fondly, in textbooks and in our hearts, and that young girls everywhere will still aspire to be very much like her. The notorious RBG was a role model to all.
Although Katalin Kariko may not strictly be American, much of her research, which forms the basis of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Coronavirus, was conducted in the United States. Like any woman in STEM, she was chided and rejected for her ambition. However, we would not have a safe vaccine today were it not for her revolutionary research.
This football coach made history as the first woman to coach at the Super Bowl. In addition to being the first woman to do so, Katie Sowers was also the first openly gay coach at the annual, USA-wide sporting event. She affirmed in a 2017 interview, "No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are." This definitely indicates the honest and raw approach she will bring to sport in 2021, and the many years to come.
Finally, we recognize Queen B herself. Black Is King, the musical film and visual album directed, written, and executive produced by Beyoncé, served as a companion to the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. However, the real gift was this artistic masterpiece. From recruiting a diverse cast and crew to displaying nothing less than Black excellence on screen, Beyoncé showed us what we mean by Black girl magic.