International Women’s Day & female role models

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is the day we celebrate women from all shapes, sizes, and nationalities. There’s many ways to do it: you could help out your Mum by offering to do the dishes, you could go shopping with your best friend, you could bake a cake for your favourite teacher or you could compliment your neighbour.

But you can also take action, as many women around the world are doing right now. Why? Because even though it’s 2017, the gender gap between men and women still exists. Women are more likely to be physically or mentally abused in a relationship, contribute more to the household even when they’re working full-time, occupy less positions in power, and earn less than men in similar positions.

We’ve made a lot of progress over the last few years and decades, but did you know that the World Economic Forum predicts the gap won’t close entirely until 2186? I’ll save you the math. That’s exactly 169 years from now, which is completely unacceptable.

What’s worse, several sources seem to suggest the gender equality progress seems to be stalling** in many countries. That’s why this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange.

Female Role Models in Literature

I remember when YA books only featured damsel-in-distress types that needed to be saved by their male counterparts or books that featured Manic Pixie Dream Girls, unhealthy relationships and mindsets.

I’m not saying all YA books did it, but more than a few bestsellers did, which sent the wrong messages to young girls and turned me off from reading YA for a while (especially YA romance).

That’s why I’m so happy that strong female characters have finally made it to the top. It might’ve started out as a “trend” (I remember Katniss from the Hunger Games being one of the first proper “kickass” females characters) but it seems that they’re here to stay. Thank goodness. Goodbye to all the damsels and Mary-Sue’s of this (fictional) world!

To celebrate, I’m going to list a few of my favourite female characters who make excellent role models for (young) girls. Are these characters perfect? No, they’re not, but that’s the point. They’re wonderfully complex and represent actual human beings. As they should.

Here some of my favourite female characters in literature (in no particular order):

  1. Elizabeth Bennett – Pride & Prejudice
  2. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter
  3. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games
  4. Alaska – Looking for Alaska
  5. Cathy – Fangirl
  6. Natasha – The Sun is Also a Star
  7. Scout Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. Jo March – Little Women
  9. Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre
  10. Marie-Laure LeBlanc – All the Light We Cannot See
How are you celebrating International Women’s Day? And what are some of your favourite female characters? 

**If you want to know more about the inequality between between men and women in health, education, economics, and politics, I suggest you check the news sites and magazines (Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, etc.) or find the appropriate research online as I’m not qualified to speak about these topics.

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