Life

From an all-black female rowing team to a sexual assault activist: the women making waves this week

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
Published

Dropping every Friday, Women Making Waves is a series highlighting the women who rocked the boat, pushed for change and made history around the world this week.  

The first black woman member of Congress is being given her own statue

Image: Getty

Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress, is due to be celebrated by New York City, where city officials will be erecting a statue in her honour.

Chisholm was both the first black candidate to seek a presidential nomination for a major party and the first woman. 

The statue will be placed in Prospect Park, Brooklyn – and is particularly interesting because the city has only a handful of statues of women.

“The ability to connect to our history happens in a very visual way,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told CNN. “If you don’t see it, you may not believe it. And when you walk around the city and only see men, you may start to think that women didn’t matter, or perhaps that they didn’t do anything.”

The first all black female to row across the Atlantic ocean

A four woman team – none of whom are professional rowers – are set to make history when they become the first black female team to cross the Atlantic. 

The team will be at sea for six weeks, even spending Christmas and New Year away from home.  

They’re the third ever team to represent Antigua in a cross-Atlantic race, and the first all-woman team from the Caribbean, the first all -black team to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, and the first all-black team to row the Atlantic. 

“We’re so excited to be able to take part in such an amazing adventure and one that is so loved by the island, whilst giving back to a cause that is so important to us,” said team member Christal Clashing. “Although we may not be as experienced as the previous two Antiguan teams, we make up for that with our unwavering passion and determination. We want to do our Island proud and break boundaries.” 

Sandra Oh is presenting the Golden Globes

Sandra Oh on the Emmys red carpet 

It might not be the first pairing you’d think of, but this week it was announced that Sandra Oh – of Killing Eve and Gray’s Anatomy fame – and Andy Samberg – of Brooklyn 99 fame – would be presenting this year’s Golden Globes award ceremony. 

It’s notable not just because of how much we’re looking forward to seeing Oh present the show (though that definitely plays a part). It’s also because she’s the first woman of colour to present the show. 

Brie Larson is encouraging diversity on set

Brie Larson at New York Fashion Week earlier this month 

We’ve all been talking about inclusion riders since Frances McDormand mentioned them at the end of her Oscars speech last year. 

And it seems that the concept has caught on – this week, actress Brie Larson revealed that on the press tour for Captain Marvel, she’ll be “pushing for representation across the board” in her “interviews, magazine covers, the clothes that I’m wearing”. 

“It means spending more time thinking about things than you sometimes want to, but it’s worth it”. 

Angela Ponce, the first transgender Miss Universe contestant

Pageants aren’t known for being the most diverse places – but it looks like that might slowly start to be changing, with Spanish model Andrea Ponce becoming the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe.

Speaking to TIME, Ponce said she was showing that “trans women can be whatever they want to be: a teacher, a mother, a doctor, a politician and even Miss Universe.”

She also had a message for Donald Trump, who owned the pageant until 2015.

“More than a message to him, it would be a win for human rights. Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long. If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women.”

“I like to think that most people who don’t understand me, it’s not because they’re bad people. It’s because no one taught them about diversity. What you don’t talk about doesn’t exist—even though trans people have been here since there were people on earth.”

Women Making Waves is part of Stylist’s Visible Women campaign to raise awareness of women who’ve made a difference to society. See more Visible Women stories here.