5 women who have championed #BalanceforBetter
At BALANCE we celebrate remarkable women who fight for positive change in the world. So, this International Women’s Day, we’re sharing with you, our lovely readers, 5 women who have, over the past year, embodied this year’s theme of #BalanceforBetter which aims to provide direction and momentum towards a more gender-balanced world.
In 2017 Gina Martin was a victim of upskirting. Whilst at a music festival Martin was bothered by a group of men, one of which put his hand in between her legs and took a photograph up her skirt. Having snatched the phone from the man who had just assaulted her Martin ran to a police officer only to find that nothing could be done as no legislation was in place to deal with this kind of assault. As a result, Martin launched a campaign to make upskirting a criminal offence.
Thanks to Martin’s hard work and tireless activism new legislation was approved this February, making upskirting a criminal offence from April, punishable with up to two years in prison and being placed on the sex offenders’ register.
Serena Williams has dominated the tennis courts ever since her first Grand Slam win in 1999 at the age of just 17. Despite her consistent success as a sportsperson Williams had come under fire for her choice of attire on the court and voicing her dismay to umpires regarding rulings that she felt were unjust and sexist.
In August 2018, the French Open chose to ban Williams from wearing a neck to ankle skintight bodysuit that helped to prevent blood clots, something Williams had struggled with after the birth of her daughter when she suffered from blood clots on her lungs. Williams’ response? To come out onto the courts of the US open in a series of headling-grabbing tutus.
It was at the same US open that Williams accused Carlos Ramos of being a “liar” and “thief” during the final with Naomi Osaka after Ramos criticised her for accepting on-court coaching and then docked her a point after she threw her racket on the ground in frustration. Williams went on to accuse Ramos of sexism as she felt that the same actions by a male player are rarely called out in the same way and she continues to fight for equality for women in sports.
Callie Thorpe, a trailblazing influencer with over 200 thousand Instagram followers, is using her vast platform to promote body positivity, self-acceptance and self-love, and fight body shaming and bullying. Thorpe set up her second Instagram page, @wellness.our.way on January 2nd this year with the aim of forming an online community “to redefine wellbeing and wellness with inclusivity, support and kindness. No diet talk, no punishment.” Using the hashtag #wellnessmyway, Thorpe encourages her followers to share their own pictures to help build a more positive and inclusive discussion around wellness and wellbeing.
Deborah Frances-White aka The Guilty Feminist
Opening up conversations around feminism on her hugely popular podcast, The Guilty Feminist, Australian comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests cover topics that “all 21st-century feminists agree on” with a funny, light-hearted and reassuring twist where they share their own underlying insecurities and fears when it comes to being a “good feminist”. Each of the hilarious yet informing episodes begins with Francis-White asking each guest to finish the sentence, “I’m a feminist, but…” teasing out hilarious “bad feminist” confessions.
Sparked by an Instagram post in February 2018 that prompted people to estimate the weight if each of the Kardashians, the self-declared ‘Feminist-in progress’, Jameela Jamil launched her second Instagram account, @i_weigh with the aim of creating a place on social media solely for positivity where women are encouraged to celebrate themselves, body, mind and soul, through all their achievements and individual characteristics, rather than measuring their self-worth by the number they see on a set of weighing scales.
Since the movement began Jamil has received hundreds, even thousands of photographs from women and girls in support of the movement and the dedicated Instagram account now has over 400 thousand followers with daily posts which aim to help women, “feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones” every day.