Visible Women

From Jameela Jamil to an 8-year-old activist: the women making waves this week

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Jameela Jamil

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.  

Jameela Jamil calls out Hollywood’s post-#MeToo inadequacies

Jameela Jamil - Stylist cover star

All hail Jameela Jamil

Jameela Jamil doesn’t want to be “a double agent for the patriarchy”, as she outlined in a new interview with The Guardian this week. What that means is that she’s not happy to work in Hollywood in this post-#MeToo age without calling out the shortcomings of the industry… Even if it means she might damage her career in the process.

That includes talking about Emile Hirsch, the American actor convicted of assaulting producer Daniele Bernfeld, Jamil’s friend, at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Hirsch was fined and sentenced to 15 days in jail for the incident. He’s currently filming Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, the Quentin Tarantino Charles Manson film, alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“He’s never stopped working – meanwhile my friend has PTSD,” Jamil said. “It is so dark. How dare any of the people involved in that movie wear Time’s Up pins to the Golden Globes? Can people just not hire men who have almost killed women?”

Jamil also voiced her opinions about the paparazzi, the dangerous culture of retouching, the media’s obsession with women’s weight and the importance of representation as detailed in her television show The Good Place. “I just cannot stay silent any more, I can’t,” she said. “I don’t care if I’m going down – I’m going down in flames. I’m fine to not work in this industry. But I’m not fine to not say something.” 

Asha Cariss, the 8-year-old girl responsible for a school uniform revolution in Australia 

One 8-year-old girl has proven that, with enough grit and determination, you can do anything

Asha Cariss couldn’t understand why her best friend, a boy, could wear trousers to her school in Melbourne, Australia. She wanted to be like him, running and jumping with reckless abandon through the playground in his trousers. When she asked her mum whether she might be able to ditch her dress for something more utilitarian, she wasn’t satisfied with her mum’s answer that that was simply “the uniform”.

“Every single night,” Asha’s mum Simone said, she would ask “Why can’t I wear pants like the boys? Why can’t I run like them? Why can’t I have freedom like they do?”

Simone started a petition on change.org which received almost 22,000 signatures calling on the education department to make their uniform outlines for young girls more flexible. Finally, thanks to the success of the petition and Asha’s tenacity – the rules have been changed. State by state, Australian schools allowed girls to wear trousers to class, if they chose. This week, Australia’s most populous state New South Wales confirmed that trousers for girls would become part of the uniform options.

“My daughter still feels a big sense of ownership of this issue,” Simone told whimn.com.au. “She feels really proud she was courageous enough to speak up at the time”.

Angela Williamson, fired for tweeting about abortion, spearheads enquiry into her former employer 

Woman Tweeting on phone

Her Tweets got her fired, so she launched an enquiry into her former employer

After the last abortion clinic closed in Tasmania earlier this year, Angela Williamson, a 39-year-old mother of three forced to travel to Melbourne for a termination, tweeted about the “disgrace” of her state’s abortion laws. The Tasmanian government, she Tweeted on her personal account, was “most irresponsible… gutless and reckless.”

Those tweets were enough to get her fired from her job as Public Policy and Government Relations Manager at Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania, because her criticism of the local government was deemed “inappropriate and contrary to Cricket Australia’s social media policy.”

Williamson has since hired a legal team and taken her case directly to Australia’s Fair Work Commission, who have launched an enquiry into Cricket Australia’s decision.

“Women are prolific users of social media… Reproductive health is a topic which generally attracts significant pushback from those against it,” Susan Fahey, the managing solicitor of Women’s Legal Service Tasmania told Stylist.co.uk. “This is a chilling warning for anyone advocating for it, regardless of the tone or medium used, that their detractors will stop at nothing to silence them.”

Marie Laguerre is the spark that ignites the anti-catcalling conversation in France

Marie Laguerre slapped in CCTV footage by man who had been catcalling her

The video of Marie Laguerre being slapped by a street harasser was the video seen around the world

It was the video that shocked the world. Marie Laguerre, a 22-year-old Parisian student, being slapped in the face by a catcaller. Moments previously, she told the man to ‘Shut up’ after he repeatedly harassed her. In front of a bustling neighbourhood café he walked up to her and slapped her in the face.

The video couldn’t have come at a more timely moment for French women. The French parliament was in the throes of finalising a system that would impose on-the-spot fines – between £80-670 – for anyone caught harassing women on the street. Today, the bill passed through French parliament into law.

“Hoping it’ll make things move for all women who suffer from harassment and sexist violence on a daily basis,” Laguerre wrote on her Facebook, in a post that has since been deleted, about her decision to share the video with the world.

“It happens everyday, everywhere and I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have a similar story. I am sick of feeling unsafe walking in the street. Things need to change and they need to change now.”

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

Images: Getty, Unsplash