Happy New Year gapmusers! Hope your 2017 is off to a great start.
Every new year, we publish our musing about the women that inspired us the most in the previous year. It’s not only an ode to these women for their contributions and impact they’ve had on our lives, but also to inspire and empower us as we embark on a new year and new journey.
This new year is no different. We were honored to discover 6 women who inspired, educated, and empowered us in 2016. From challenging us to think differently about color and to be relentless in our fight for women’s rights, to showing us how to lead with class, grace, and courage, and to be unafraid to fight for what we believe in, these women showed us that with resolve, compassion, self confidence, and bravery, anything is possible.
Here are the 6 women who inspired us the most in 2016. Hope they will inspire you too:
1. Mellody Hobson
Melody Hobson challenged us to change our approach towards race and color. We must not ignore color. After all, it’s what makes us unique (and quite frankly, interesting.) Acknowledging our differences with good intentions, and practicing empathy allows us to celebrate those distinctions and to be more compassionate with one another.
2 Hilary Clinton
From running for the highest office (and winning the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election) to her unyielding fight for women rights, children, and families, Hillary Clinton is our quintessential feminist and a role model for all women and girls. She reignited our belief that we can be whatever we want to be and that our dreams are worth fighting for no matter the obstacles.
3. Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama will go down in history as one of the greatest First Ladies of all time. She showed us all what inclusivity and serving with love, caring, courage, grace, and class looks like and reminded us to always take the high road. She will always be a breath of fresh air and a wonderful role model for women and girls around the world.
4. Melinda Gates
How many people do you know would be willing to risk fallout from their religious community to stand up for women’s reproductive rights? In our book, very few. Melinda Gates was one of our most inspiring women in 2015 (we featured her in our most inspiring women’s list of the year). She made the list again this year because she has earned it. Even though she’s a staunch Catholic, she fought (and continues to fight) for women across the globe to get access to contraception. Her commitment to alleviating poverty for women everywhere is unrelenting. She’s willing to make sacrifices that most people would not be willing to make. She’s quite simply in a league of her own.
5. Simone Biles
Want proof that size doesn’t really matter? Turn to Simone Biles! This 4-time all around titles winner (first in 42 years), 5-time Olympic medalist (4 gold, 1 bronze) and 14-time World Championship medalist (yousa!) proved to us all that anything is possible. We just have to have the heart, passion, drive, humor, and the support of the people who love, care, and believe in us. She’s a phenomenal role model for girls everywhere.
6. Nadia Lopez
When those around you tell you that your dreams or goals are impossible, ignore them and push ahead. Nadia Lopez did that and more. She believed that she could provide a better education and subsequently a better life for less fortunate kids and did just that. She’s the epitome of compassion, empathy, and grit.
Special Shoutout: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team
We could not end this musing without recognizing the U.S. Women’s Soccer team for refusing to back down from their fight for equal pay. This 1-time World Cup champions (their male counterparts have never won the tournament) and 4-time Olympic Gold medalists refuse to be marginalized anymore. They empower young women and girls through their tenacity, fearlessness, and yes, badassness (made up word.)
To see our full list of all the women and girls – from celebrity to unknown – who inspired us in the last 4 years and who continue to empower us everyday, click below to view our Pinterest “Women Who Inspire” board:
Your turn gapmusers. Who inspired you in 2016?
We wish you nothing but the best in 2017. Our 3 pillars for the year are to Smile, Give, and Love because when you do all three, it’s a win-win for all. You not only make the other person happy but make yourself feel better as well. We hope that you’ll come along for another inspiring, educationational and empowering ride.