Every start of the year we publish a list of women who inspired us to do and be better in the previous year. 2018 is no different. The only disparity, perhaps, is that We’ve never been more proud and excited to publish the musing because it’s been quite a year for women! From a young rising tennis star, media mogul, and actress, to a mom, engineer, and financial guru, these women showed us how to be fearless, win with wit and grace, look out and stand up for ourselves and other women, manage our finances, follow our dreams, and much more.
Our list has a slight twist and includes one man because we just couldn’t ignore his impact on girls and young women in India and around the world.
Here are 8 women (and 1 man) who inspired us the most in 2017. We hope they motivate you as much as they did us in 2018 and beyond:
1. Sloan Stevens
Who can forget this funny press conference that Sloan Stevens gave after winning the U.S. Open for the first time? She reminded us not to take ourselves so seriously even in big moments and to inject some humor into our triumphs. What a gracious young woman! She will be an inspiration for girls aspiring to be the best not only in tennis or sports but in whatever they choose to pursue.
2. Susan Fowler
Susan Fowler proved to all of us that we can stand up even to the most powerful companies (imagine a company where the CEO feels so entitled that he referred to his company as “Boober.” Her quest to tell her workplace harassment story as an engineer at Uber inspired many women to come forward to tell their stories too. It reminded us that we’re never alone in our experiences and that when we share them, we empower those around us to take action. I switched to Lyft after reading her store because I believe that voting with our wallets is one of our most powerful tools to let our voices be heard! #DeleteUber
3. Debra Lee
Debra Lee is a phenomenal woman who has been at the helm of BETs success. In this candid interview at Stanford, she encourages us not to be afraid to pursue our dreams, even when the path seems uncertain. We were pleasantly surprised by her sense of humor, ability to laugh at herself, and her self awareness. Oh, and we’re forever thankful for the wonderful BET tribute to President Obama and First Lady Michelle before they left office.
4. Sallie Krawcheck
Sallie Krawcheck blazed the trail for women in Wall Street. Now, she’s ready to do the same for women in the investment realm. With her investment startup targeted to women, Ellevest, Sallie provides the much needed wisdom and tools to help us achieve our financial goals and secure a comfortable future for ourselves and our children. She reminds us that money is power! Without it, we cannot be independent and the masters of our destiny. She’s a true champion for women in the investment world dominated by men and continues to do whatever it takes to bring change.
5. Tracee Ellis Ross
Can we all just agree that Tracey Ellis Ross rocks! We couldn’t get enough of her positive energy, sense of humor, infectious laugh, acting chops, and confidence. She reminded us that we should never let anyone else define what it means to be successful.
6. Rose McGowan
Who can forget Rose McGowan shutting Ben Affleck down, helping to take down Harvey Weinstein, and inspiring women to boycott Twitter for a day (#WomenBoycottTwitter)! This brave woman refused silenced by the powerful forces of Hollywood and galvanized women to speak up about their own sexual harassment. History will remember her for bravery and for refusing to back down, ever! Go Rose!
7. Takiyah Wallace
What do you do when you’re looking for something and can’t find it anywhere? You create it yourself! That’s exactly what Takiyah Wallace set out to do when she founded Black Girls Do Ballet. She wanted to show images of girls of color in a world where they’re often ignored. Bravo Takiyah! As a mom of two brown beautiful girls who live and breathe dance, I can relate and cannot get enough of the images you share of lovely brown dancers! Want to take a peek of her work. Click here to follow her on Instagram. We promise, you won’t be disappointed.
8. Marna Levine
Ah, “meandering with a sense of purpose.” We LOVE this quote from Marne Levine, the COO of our favorite social media platform, Instagram!” She’s the epitome of a savvy and successful business woman who is not afraid to embrace and share her flaws.
9. Pravin Nikam
There is only one word that can aptly describe Pravin Nikam, BRAVE! How many men out there do you know are comfortable speaking about menstrual periods! Let’s guess, close to none! Well, not Pravin for sure. He took it upon himself to dispel the myth in Indian villages that having a period was a curse. He has reshaped how parents and girls in India think about one of the most natural (and might we say important) functions of the female anatomy. Because of him, more girls in India are staying in school and getting an opportunity to have a brighter future. Go Pravin! We’re in awe of your bravery and positive attitude.
We dedicate this post to not only these courageous, brave, resilient and successful women, but also to all the women of 2017 (check out this powerful Time Magazine 2017 Person of the Year cover!)
Through marches like the empowering Women’s March (2.6 million strong!) in January (yay pink pussy hats!) and the #metoo campaign (Harvey Weinsteins of the world take note!), they proved that in solidarity, we will NOT be silenced. We’re willing and committed to fighting for our rights and to win.
Collectively, our voices and power will bring down those who try to take away our rights – reproductive and equal – and we will prevail. Click here to see the full list of powerful men brought down by women speaking up about sexual harassment in 2017. Together we rise!
There are countless other examples of women prevailing like the amazing Patty Jenkins, who directed Wonder Woman top 3rd grossing film of 2017! And who can ignore the must see Girls Trip movie which featured an all women of color cast and grossed 115+ million at the box office. Equally successful was Hidden Figures (more than 200 million in box office receipts!), a riveting story of the often overlooked contributions that African American women made to Nasa’s space program. Our stories are proof that we’ve reached a turning point and we’re unstoppable.
Who inspired you in 2017? Please share with us and our readers so we too can be empowered.
Here’s to another year of persistence, resistance, and success.
Happy 2018 gapmusers! May the new year bring you the good fortune, joy, and success you deserve.