From Malala To Greta: Quotes From 10 Powerful Women Who Defined The Decade

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From Malala to Greta, here are quotes from 10 powerful women who defined the decade. Years 2010 to 2019 were filled with the immense push for women empowerment.

Written By Tanima Ray | Mumbai | Updated On:

The decade from 2010 to 2019 was filled with the immense push for women empowerment raising issues starting from equal pay and gender equality, global movements like #MeToo and TimesUp that have brought a major shift in a considerably patriarchal world. Female leaders have pioneered discussions on key issues such as climate change, education, and gun violence. There were stars like Patricia Arquette who nobly used her best actress speech at the Oscars in 2015 to demand equal pay. 

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Oprah Winfrey took to the stage at the Golden Globes in 2018, becoming the first black woman to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg eviscerated world leaders for "betraying" young people through a lack of action on climate change. Likewise, Emma Watson became an ardent women’s rights advocate, with her speech on gender equality in the United Nations. Here are the top 10 women who chose the right words to bring the change.

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Women who brought change in the world

  1. Malala Yousafzai:  "One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world," she said the Pakistani activist for female education in United Nations Youth Assembly, New York in 2013.
  2. Michelle Obama: “Whether it was during my time as a lawyer, as an administrator at a university, a nonprofit manager, even now as First Lady, I’ve never once asked someone I was interviewing to explain a test score or a grade in a class -- never. I’ve never once made a hire just because someone went to an Ivy League school instead of a state school -- never. What I have looked for is what kind of person you are. Are you a hard worker? Are you reliable? Are you open to other viewpoints? Have you stepped outside of your own self-interest to serve others? Have you found a way to serve our country, whether in uniform or in your community?”, said the former first lady of the United States at the Commencement address at Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky in 2013.
  3. Emma Watson: "I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop," said the Hollywood actress at the United Nations, New York in 2014.
  4. Patricia Arquette: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all," said the actress at Academy Awards, California in 2015.
  5. Hillary Clinton: "All the evidence tells us that despite the enormous obstacles that remain, there has never been a better time in history to be born female. But the data leads to a second conclusion: That despite all this progress, we're just not there yet," said the former US Presidential Candidate at Women in The World Summit, New York in 2015.
  6. Gloria Steinem: “We are here and around the world for a deep democracy that says we will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections. We are at one with each other, we are looking at each other, not up," said the American feminist at Women's March in Washington DC in 2017.
  7. Oprah Winfrey: “So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you,” said American celebrity at Golden Globe Awards, California in 2018.
  8. Emma Gonzalez: "So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again. We are grieving, we are furious, and we are using our words fiercely and desperately because that’s the only thing standing between us and this happening again,” said the American activist in March for Our Lives rally, Washington DC in 2018.
  9. Tarana Burke: “So much of what we hear about the Me Too Movement is about individual bad actors or depraved, isolated behavior, and it fails to recognize that anybody in a position of power comes with privilege, and it renders those without that power more vulnerable. Teachers and students, coaches and athletes, law enforcement and citizen, parent and child: these are all relationships that can have an incredible imbalance of power. But we reshape that imbalance by speaking out against it in unison and by creating spaces to speak truth to power. We have to reeducate ourselves and our children to understand that power and privilege don't always have to destroy and take -- it can be used to serve and build. And we have to re-educate ourselves to understand that, unequivocally, every human being has the right to walk through this life with their full humanity intact,” said the civil rights activist at Ted Women, California in 2018.
  10. Greta Thunberg: "The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say - we will never forgive you," said the Swedish climate activist at UN Climate Summit, New York in 2019.

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