17 most powerful milestones for women in 2017 Advertisement

17 most powerful milestones for women in 2017

Record-breaking box office runs, historical firsts and other big moments for feminism this year

By Hannah Smothers  December 15th, 2017

1. Women’s marches around the country became the largest single-day protest in US history

Since there were hundreds of marches in cities and towns all over the country (and hundreds more around the world), it’s hard to get a good estimate for just how many people participated in Women’s Marches the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Washington Post put forth extensive effort to arrive at a number and guesses there were more than 4 million marchers in the US alone, or 1.3 percent of the country’s population. Regardless of the exact number, the volume of people who marched in protest of the newly elected president set the tone for an entire year of record-breaking moments in feminist history.

2. Beyoncé announced she was pregnant with twins

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Feb 1, 2017 at 10:39am PST

On February 1, Beyoncé released some of the best news thus far in 2017 in an iconic Instagram post that will never be forgotten — she was pregnant. With twins. The two newest Carters were born in June.

3. Adele dedicates her album of the year grammy win to Beyoncé

In an incredibly tense moment at the 2017 Grammy Awards, Adele won Album of the Year for her third album, 25. She used her acceptance speech to dedicate the award to Beyoncé, whose album Lemonade was nominated but did not win. “But I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humble and very grateful and gracious, but the artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album to me, the Lemonade album is so monumental, Beyoncé. So monumental,” Adele said, as Beyoncé watched tearfully. Adele added that the way Beyoncé makes “her black friends feel is empowering,” in a moment that columnist Brittney Cooper heralded as an example of what white women’s solidarity with black women should look like.

4. Viola Davis Breaks history by becoming the first black actor to win the “triple crown of acting”

Upon winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fences, Viola Davis became the first black actor or actress to achieve a “triple crown” — or winning acting awards at the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys. Her beautiful and inspiring speech evoked emotional responses from celebrities and fans who praised her on the well-deserved win. “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?,” she said. “And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist — and thank God I did — because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”

5. Wonder Woman smashes box office records

Wonder Woman made more than Rs 650 crore in its opening weekend and then secured its number one slot in theatres into its second weekend. The record-breaking box office numbers were monumental for a few reasons. It marked the biggest opening by a woman director (Patty Jenkins), and became the biggest live-action box office ever by a woman director.

6. Taylor Swift wins a symbolic $1 in her countersuit for sexual assault

taylor swift

In 2015, radio host David Mueller sued Swift over losing his job after she spoke publicly about how he allegedly groped her at a meet-and-greet on her 2013 Red tour. Swift countersued for a single dollar this year to make a point about harassment and consent. The resulting trial was filled with powerful accounts of the event from Swift, who was unwavering in her testimony. “He had a handful of my ass, I know it was him,” she said. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is anyway my fault because it isn’t.” The jury ruled in Swift’s favor, awarding her the symbolic dollar from Mueller.

7. The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies make Emmy history

In winning the Emmy for drama series directing, The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano broke a 22-year streak of men winning the award. And in another victory for women-helmed television, Big Little Lies won eight Emmys at the 2017 awards. “The fact that we created four roles for women that all got nominated is a real win here,” Reese Witherspoon said backstage.

8. Saudi Arabia allows women to drive

Women Saudi Arabia Can Drive 2017

For the first time in the country’s history, the Saudi Arabian kingdom announced it will lift its ban on female drivers. Prior to the ruling, Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world with a gendered ban on driving. Activists had been pushing for the rule to be overturned since the 1990s.

9. Meghan Markle will be the first mixed-race British royal

meghan markle

Meghan Markle is the newest princess-to-be and is the most relatable royal so far. With her breaking the taboos at every step of her relationship with Prince Harry, she has become an icon to the people from day 1. Ever since the duo started dating, Megan was questioned about the age gap between them and her divorce, but the Suits actress gracefully handled her relationship and is about to officially become the first mixed-race member (African-American mother and an Irish father ) of the British royal family.  

10. Cardi B breaks records with “Bodak Yellow”

In news that was good for literally everyone, Cardi B became the longest-running solo female rapper to have a song at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for her single ‘Bodak Yellow’. The song also topped streaming count charts, which helps to explain the absolute explosion of joy that happens every time the song’s opening line,” “Said little bitch…” plays over a speaker anywhere, at any time.

11. The Indian Supreme court declared triple talaq as unconstitutional

nikah scene from raes2

Another empowering decision made in the favour of women this year was the eradication of triple talaq. The Islamic practice, which allowed men to easily divorce their wives by using the term Talaq thrice, was deemed unconstitutional on August 22, 2017. By doing this, the government has allowed the Muslim women to secure their basic rights in marriage and have strengthened their positions in society. 

12. #MeToo is reignited to monumental scale


A tweet from Alyssa Milano after news about Weinstein broke reignited the “Me, Too” movement, which was originally started by Tarana Burke 10 years ago. In the spirit of the movement, Milano’s tweet encouraged women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to post “Me, too” as a status to give a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Within the first 24 hours, tens of thousands of replies of “Me, too” had been posted. Burke is currently working on a documentary about the movement, its history, and the ways its currently helping to remove abusive men from power.

13. Olympic fencer Ibtijaj Muhammad gets her own barbie

 brooklyn glamour ibtihaj muhammad attends

Muhammed made history in the 2016 Olympics for being the first American to compete while wearing a hijab. A year later, she made history again, in a more roundabout way, by inspiring the first ever Barbie doll to wear a hijab. The Barbie goes on sale in 2018 and is part of Mattel’s Shero line that includes dolls based on prominent women like fellow Olympic athlete Gabby Douglas, ballerina Misty Copeland, and Zendaya.

14. Indian women’s cricket team made it to the World Cup finals

australia semi india women final cricket world

The Indian women’s cricket team had a stellar year. The girls led by Captain Mitali Raj made it to the World Cup finals against England. Even though they lost the tournament, these ladies captured the imagination of the nation with their grit and perseverance, proving that cricket is not a male-dominated sport in this country. 

15. The first baby is born to a woman who had a uterus transplant

 newborn baby photos

For the first time in the US, a woman who’d previously had a uterus transplant successfully gave birth to a healthy baby. She gave birth at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, a hospital that has an ongoing uterus transplant clinical trial. “We’ve been preparing for this moment for a very long time,” Dr Liza Johannesson, an OB/GYN and uterus transplant surgeon told TIME. “I think everyone had tears in their eyes when the baby came out. I did for sure.”

16. TIME names women who spoke out about assault as its person of the year

TIME awarded its annual Person of the Year to what the magazine calls “the Silence Breakers,” or the now-countless people who’ve spoken out against sexual assault and harassment this year. The cover features five women — Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, and Isabel Pascual, a strawberry picker and Mexican immigrant who requested her name be changed to protect her family. But an anonymous fifth arm is seen on the right side of the cover. It belongs to a hospital worker in Texas, who contributed her story under the promise that she could remain anonymous. Her arm represents “all those who are not yet able to come forward and reveal their identities.” The cover story includes several more people who’ve made public accusations of assault, including “Me, Too” creator Tamara Burke.

17. Indian parliament allots paid maternity leave up to 26 weeks

 Pregnant working woman

Working women will now be allowed paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. The new law is applicable for the first two children while for the third pregnancy, the entitlement will be only 12 weeks.