A year of resilience: 2018 for women around the globe


Below is a rundown of how women experienced life around the globe in 2018, their highs and their lows.

1- Kristen Stewart takes her heels off on the Cannes red carpet, rebelling against the Cannes Film Festival rule that women may not wear flats to red-carpet screenings.

She also called for a ban on “sexist” dress codes which force women to wear high heels to work as employers continue to insist that heels are a “job requirement” while men are to dress to an “equivalent level of smartness”.


2- Serena Williams calls out an umpire of sexism and treating her more harshly than men after being cited for three code violations during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to the 20-year-old Osaka at the US Open final. The violations were for getting coaching signals, breaking her racket, and for calling the chair umpire a thief.

“He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” the former world champion said.


3-Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian activist released from jail. “She served an eight-month sentence for posing a threat to armed and heavily protected soldiers,” said Amnesty International’s Jerusalem office head Saleh Higazi.

She was arrested for slapping Israeli soldiers in front of her house in the occupied West Bank after Israeli troops had severely wounded her 15-year-old cousin, whom they shot in the head with a rubber bullet in response to stone-throwing. Asked if she would have done the same thing if she had known it would land her behind bars for months, she said yes.


4- The #MeToo wave reaches Bollywood. The movement unveiled many industry veterans who used their power and influence to indulge in predatory behaviour.

Starting with actress Tanushree Dutta’s accusations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar, others including actor Alok Nath, Queen director Vikas Bahl, top-selling author Chetan Bhagat, actor Rajat Kapoor, music director and singer Anu Malik, Varun Grover, Farah Khan’s brother Sajid Khan, AIB comedian Utsav Chakraborty, singer Kailash Kher, stand-up comedian Aditi Mittal, Singer Raghu Dixit as well as, high profile journalists and sportsmen were outed in front of the public.


5- New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern becomes the first female national head to bring her baby with her to the UN.

The premier was photographed kissing and playing with her daughter before giving a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit in New York. Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford held the baby while the world leader addressed the UN’s General Assembly.

“Prime Minister Ardern is showing that no one is better qualified to represent her country than a working mother. Just five per cent of the world’s leaders are women, so we need to make them as welcome here as possible,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.


6-A female Japanese mayor, Tomoko Nakagawa, was barred from making her speech in the sumo ring because of her gender.

The sumo ring is termed a sacred place that females cannot enter as they are “unclean” according to the Japanese tradition. The incident came only two days after the Japan Sumo Association apologised for causing an uproar after it discriminated against women during a life-threatening situation.

According to the details, the referee of a tournament in Kyoto Prefecture had turned away several women who had entered the ring to provide first-aid treatment to the Maizuru City mayor who had collapsed in the middle of his speech due to a stroke.


7-Nadia Murad won the Nobel Peace Prize after surviving extreme cruelty and brutality at the hands of the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), for being a Yazidi and a woman. Nadia’s mother and six brothers were massacred by the pseudo-Muslim group, who put her into a sex slave camp.

The 25-year-old won the prize for her “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war”.

“The first thing that came to my mind was my mother, I cried a lot,” she said about winning the prize, adding: “It was very difficult. I have received the Nobel Peace Prize from the hardship, the difficulties that all these people have been faced with and from all the hard work that we have been doing.”


8-  Tatheer Fatima stood up for herself by filing a case to remove her father’s name from her birth certificate and all other official documents.

The case was filed by the 22-year-old as she faced difficulties in obtaining official documents, including national identity card and passport due to her father’s absence. He had lied about finances and never provided for his daughter.

“The name of the man, who does not deserve to be called a father, who does not provide for me, who I have not even met since childhood, should not be associated with mine,” the girl had said in her petition.


9- British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a no-confidence vote by 200 to 117.

The humiliating challenge was set in motion by 48 MPs who were angry at her Brexit policy, which they termed a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result.

Theresa still faces a battle to get the Brexit deal she agreed with the EU, with all opposition parties and a large majority of her own MPs against it.


10- Olympic track cyclist, 27-year-old Kristina Vogel was left paralysed from the waist down following a collision with another rider during training on a track.

She described her time in the hospital as the most difficult of her entire life. “I had never had to fight such difficult battles. These are battles with a different sort of motivation. It’s more difficult than the battle for an Olympic gold medal. I had to learn to allow the tears to come. I was never somebody who cried a lot. I hated women’s films that end in weddings. I had to learn to express emotions but it could’ve been worse,” she said.

The 11-time world champion also hinted at a possible career in disabled sports.  “Why should I feel sorry for myself?” she asked.


11-Malala Yousafzai breaks down on her return to Pakistan after more than five years. 

The Nobel Peace Prize winner broke down in tears during an emotional return to her native country after she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen at the age of 15 for advocating education of girls.

“For last five years I have dreamed that I can set foot in my country,” she said, wiping away tears.

And whenever I would be in a plane or a car and I would see the cities of London or New York, I would say [to myself], ‘Just imagine that this is Pakistan, imagine that you are driving in Islamabad, imagine that this is Karachi’, and it was never true. And now that I am seeing it today, I am very happy,” she added.


12- Amal Hussain dies of starvation due to war caused famine. A piercing portrait of the 7-year-old starving girl with blank eyes had brought renewed attention to the famine in Yemen after it was published in The New York Times.

According to the European Union, Yemen is home to the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” Around 2.9 million women and children are severely malnourished, 400,000 children stare deadly starvation in the eye and almost a third of the country’s population is entirely dependent on humanitarian aid for food, a number that constantly increases.

“My heart is broken,” said Amal’s mother, Mariam Ali, as she wept.


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