There hasn't been a better time to be a woman than now. Every year has its ups and downs but there are some moments in a year that just make you feel proud about being a woman. But it seems like 2016 has been the year for women, by women and of women. So many achievements, so many hurdles crossed, so many landmark breakthroughs...we’ve sure come a really long way! Here are 16 times 2016 made us feel awesome about being a woman!
1. Indian sportswomen put us on the world map
The big Olympic games, three different sports, and three different women who gave India their due recognition by playing their game brilliantly for the country. Sakshi Malik for wrestling, P.V. Sindhu for badminton and Dipa Karmakar for gymnastics made India super proud and helped us celebrate victory in the field of sports. Time for women to take up more sport related careers and make their mark!
2. Pooja Thakur lead the tri-services Guard of Honour
Wing Commander Pooja Thakur became the face of the Indian Air Force (IAF) after leading a Guard of Honour for US President Barack Obama this year. She became the first woman officer to lead a tri-services Guard of Honour when President Obama visited India for the Republic Day parade. Just watching a woman take the lead at this stature, wearing the uniform, makes us feel so proud!
3. Sonam Kapoor’s honest #IDidn’tWakeUpLikeThis letter
Celebrities make us feel like they’re living the perfect life, looking pretty and on point all day. Be it with their selfies, their photoshoots or just they way they look when they wake up. This year though, actor Sonam Kapoor wrote an empowering piece titled ‘I Didn’t Wake Up Like This’, breaking myths and stereotypes related to beauty, body, colour, clothes and the like. It helped put things in perspective for all the young women out there who’re pushing themselves to look ‘perfect’ all day! This just made us feel so good about ourselves.
4. The Indian women’s cricket team won the Asia Cup
Cricket is India’s favourite sport and it’s the one thing that unites us against all odds. This time the happiness, the tension and the emotions were doubled when the Indian Women’s Cricket team won the Asia Cup against Pakistan by 17 runs. This victory made us feel overjoyed and so powerful!
5. Nike presented ‘Da Da Ding’
Nike called Indian women from different walks of life to participate in a breakthrough advertisement. The video was aimed at inspiring young Indian women towards fitness and exercise as a way of life and it sure did its job well!
6. Indian cinema finally broke some major gender stereotypes
Indian cinema finally broke the expectation of male-led hits by producing a few great women-centric films this year. Amongst our favourites were Angry Indian Goddesses and Pink, both showcasing women in powerful and real roles. It also highlighted the need for women’s issues to be put on the forefront and conveyed the importance of topics such as eve-teasing, violence against women and laws such as the zero FIR.
7. An Indian artist gave goddesses a new badass avatar
A Mumbai-based illustrator named Priyanka Paul gave ancient goddesses a 21st century makeover, and in the process shunned all the stereotypes that they come along with. The artist gave a new voice to these goddesses by drawing them in the most funky, badass way, reiterating their beliefs against sexism, misogyny, childbirth and marriage. This went viral and we quite like their new avatar!
When someone on Twitter trolled Twinkle Khanna for not changing her surname after marriage, she wrote back to them in a strong tweet hashtagging it with #MarriedNotBranded, stating how a woman’s identity does not change according to whom she marries. It created an uproar on social media, hitting hard against unsaid norms that say women must change their surnames after marriage.
9. Deepika Padukone winning Hollywood
Indian film actresses have not only taken the centrestage in India but have marked their celebrity status all over the world too. Actress Deepika Padukone signed a film xXx Return Of Xander Cage, co-starring Vin Diesel and Rose Depp, set to release early next year. That said, Priyanka Chopra has taken America by storm with her brilliant role in Quantico and the upcoming film Baywatch too! Win, win and more wins!
10. The first Indian fighter pilots of India were announced
Flying Officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were commissioned as India's first three women fighter pilots. These women broke gender stereotypes and barriers to etch their names in the history of the Indian Air Force and will be flying fighter jets next year. It gave us a ray of hope to take up careers we didn't think were meant for us earlier!
11. Un-fair and lovely
When a bunch of dusky women took to Instagram and started posting photos of themselves without any brightening filters, it became a big talking point. And rightly so, because fair or dark, pale or wheatish, your skin tone is not a measure of your character or intelligence. Your colour cannot judge your beauty.
12. Priyanka Chopra on the cover of Time magazine
Year after year, Time magazine puts the world's most powerful people on their cover, and to have Priyanka Chopra grace its cover made every girl with dreams out there swell up with pride and hope. It was just one of those moments when one feels, ‘I am a world conqueror-in-waiting!’
13. Musicians fight for the rights of LGBTQ
The rights of the LGBTQ community have been a topic of debate for the longest time. With the government's staunch/ strict legislation against Section 377, the song Lay You Down featuring Anushka Manchanda and Monica Dogra shows them romancing in the most sensual way. It helped put into perspective what’s ‘normal’ and re-defined the meaning of love, giving us another chance to look at it without passing judgement.
14. Acid attack survivor walks at NYFW
When Reshma Qureshi walked the ramp for designer Archana Kochhar at the New York Fashion Week, we knew it was a moment to be remembered forever! It served as a reminder to stop judging beauty by the face, and one woman standing up made a whole lot of us feel more confident about ourselves.
15. Haji Ali Dargah welcomes women inside the shrine
In a landmark judgement, the tomb of the Sufi saint Sayer Peer Haji Ali started allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum part of the shrine when the ban was lifted after almost five years. Because the right to pray has no gender boundaries, right? This one was definitely worth celebrating!
16. Responding strongly against cyber bullying/ social media shaming
With our lives being so open on social media, we’ve all been bullied on the internet at least once. This year saw actors, comedians, artists and women from all walks of life putting up a strong word against cyber bullying and responding to it firmly. VJ Bani spoke up against being bullied for her apparent ‘manly’ figure, Priya Malik gave excellent comebacks to those who sent her x-rated photographs. And actress, Saloni Chopra, spoke against slut shaming and bra-shaming, because a woman’s body is her own and no one has the right to comment on it. Touché, we say!
To all the beautiful women out there, here’s to an even happier, stronger and power packed 2017!