- 2018 was a big year for women.
- Christine Blasey Ford, Catt Sadler, Oprah Winfrey, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inspired women around the globe by igniting important conversations about sexual assault, gender-pay inequality, race, and more.
- Some women, like Beyoncé and Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu, even made history.
This year, big steps were made by womankind.
Whether it was Catt Sadler walking away from her job at E! News, or Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming forward with sexual assault allegations against a Supreme Court nominee, women seemed to ignite the national conversation time and again.
They also made history: Beyoncé shattered the record of YouTube livestreams for her Coachella performance, and Janet Mock became the first transgender woman of colour to write and direct an episode of television. And internationally, in Saudi Arabia, women are now able to drive and attend soccer matches – the beginning of serious change in the name of women’s rights.
Keep scrolling to see more amazing moments for women in 2018.
Catt Sadler ended her contract with E! News after discovering her male counterpart was making almost “double” her salary.
Catt Sadler walked away from her job as E! News host after learning of an enormous pay gap between her and her male co-star, Jason Kennedy, earlier this year. According to Sadler, a female executive informed her that Kennedy was earning “double” the amount that Sadler was, despite the two starting at the network the same time, and holding virtually identical roles.
Though E! News defended their decision to pay Sadler less, the host’s departure sparked a national conversation on gender-based pay inequality in the workplace. Actresses and fans alike rallied to support Sadler: notably, Debra Messing and Eva Longoria called out E! for their decision at the 2018 Golden Globes, during televised interviews with the network.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of Congress, and sexual assault survivors around the globe were inspired by her courage.
In the fall of 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during hearings regarding the sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Immediately following the hearings, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport began trending on Twitter, and, according to Time, women around the world tuned in to watch the hearings live.
Hundreds of women contacted British newspaper the Guardian, offering responses to the hearings and sharing their experiences with sexual assault. Readers from South Africa to Dubai to Scotland reached out to The New York Times to offer their responses, all siding with Dr. Ford.
Actresses “blacked out” the 2018 Golden Globes in honour of the #TimesUp movement, donning black gowns and suits.
More than 300 actresses signed a Time’s Up pledge for the 2018 Golden Globes, which included wearing all black to the event. The initiative is geared toward squashing sexual harassment, assault, and inequality in the workplace.
Before the ceremony, actress Eva Longoria told The New York Times that almost all the women attending the 2018 Globes would wear black: “This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment. For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colours and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
Oprah gave an iconic speech upon receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the Golden Globes, prompting the internet to urge her to run for president in 2020.
Also at this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey became the first African-American woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award – an honorary Golden Globe Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” She gave a rousing speech that traced her humble beginnings and touched on sexual abuse, female empowerment, and the #MeToo movement.
She set the tone in the beginning, saying: “In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes, and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.”
People were so inspired by the speech that #Oprah2020 began trending on Twitter, as a hearty slew of people encouraged the media mogul to run for the US presidency in a few years. Oprah has since clarified that she is not interested in a career in politics.
Saudi Arabia amended its laws so that women can now attend soccer matches. It also lifted a ban on female drivers.
Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has softened a few of its laws regarding women and gender separation.
Women in the country are now allowed to drive, and earlier in the year the first car showroom devoted entirely to women was opened.
In January 2018, the first Saudi Arabian women attended a soccer game as spectators. According to BBC, at the Jeddah stadium “female ushers were employed to greet the women fans and their families, who loudly cheered on the local team.” Stadiums had previously been male-only.
Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old female (and soccer fan) from Saudi Arabia told the AFP news agency: “This event proves that we are heading for a prosperous future. I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change.”
Hundreds of female victims testified in court against Larry Nassar, a USA Gymnastics doctor who was convicted for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls.
A few years back, Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney went public with allegations against their former USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. This inspired hundreds of other victims to come forward, shedding light on decades of abuse at the hands of Nassar – and the subsequent cover-up by USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
Nassar’s trial was held in winter 2018, and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina allowed more than 150 young women to confront Nassar in court and speak about the consequences of his abuse.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman was one of them, and her testimony proved particularly powerful. Nassar was convicted and is now serving 40 to 175 years in prison.
The second Women’s March was held in Washington, D.C. (and all over the country).
The first Women’s March occurred in 2017 after the election of US President Donald Trump, and the tradition was kept alive this year, too. The second Women’s March had a huge turnout – though the event is a nationwide effort, the largest marches took place in Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The second March had more of a focus on voting, particularly getting women to the polls for the upcoming 2018 midterm election. According to NBC News, in Washington D.C. they called the event the “March on the Polls.”
Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, American figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman – and the third in the world – to land a triple axel jump at the Olympics.
According to ESPN, the jump remains one of figure skating’s most difficult tricks“due to the extra half-rotation in the air because of its forward take off,” and to this day only eight women have successfully landed it in competitions. Tonya Harding was the first American to land it, though Nagasu was the first to land it at the Olympics.
29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a seat in Congress in an historical upset, taking the place of longtime Queens and Bronx Rep. Joe Crowley.
Democratic congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led a grassroots campaign this year, focusing on health care reform and free education, in order to represent the Queens and Bronx boroughs of New York’s 14th Congressional District. The 29-year-old beat Rep. Joe Crowley who had served for 10 terms and was predicted to replace Nancy Pelosi as minority leader. She is the youngest women ever elected to Congress.
A record number of women also ran for and were elected to Congress this year, with 118 set to fill seats as a result of recent elections. Of these 118, 31 are first-time House members, and 84 of the 96 women set to serve the House so far are Democrats.
Beyoncé made history as the first African-American woman to headline at Coachella, and set the all-time record for livestream views: 43.1 million.
Beyoncé headlined the music festival Coachella in Indio, California, this year and made history in more ways than one: not only was she the first African-American woman to headline, her performance drew in a record 43.1 million livestreams – the most ever on YouTube.
Fans nicknamed the festival “Beychella,” as the superstar had several outfit changes, sang with her husband, Jay-Z, and reunited Destiny’s Child for the first time in almost four years.
Writer and activist Janet Mock wrote and directed an episode of “Pose” on FX, making her the first transgender woman of colour to write and direct an episode of television.
Janet Mock is a transgender activist and writer, and this year she directed and wrote an episode of the FX series “Pose,” creator Ryan Murphy’s iteration of New York City life in the late ’80s.
The episode, called “Love is the Message,” made history: Mock is the first trans woman of colour to direct and write an episode of television. And it was well-received, with Entertainment Weekly referring to it as an “exemplary hour of television.” This was Mock’s first time behind the camera.
New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey won the Pulitzer Prize for their work toward exposing Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged abuse in Hollywood.
The #MeToo movement made several strides in 2018, and investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were largely responsible. Their work on exposing the decades of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein for The New York Times earned them a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service this year.
The Pulitzer website describes their victory as such: “For explosive, impactful journalism that exposed powerful and wealthy sexual predators, including allegations against one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, bringing them to account for long-suppressed allegations of coercion, brutality and victim silencing, thus spurring a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse of women.”
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