Visible Women

From the English women’s cricket team to Michelle Obama: the women making waves this week

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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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.  

Michelle Obama’s memoir is one of the most successful books of all time

Excitement around the former first lady’s debut book was high, but no-one could have anticipated that it would be this high: 1.4 copies of Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming have already sold and it’s only been on bookstands for the past seven days.

The numbers are staggering and, according to industry publication B&N the book had not only the biggest first-week sales of any book in 2018, it also had “the best first-week sales of an adult book since Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee in 2015. All told, some three million copies of the book will be in print from five runs on the hardcover edition. 

The cover of Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming

Those are some seriously impressive figures and we’re not surprised. 

Obama’s book is a sensation, largely because of her commitment to honesty and integrity within its pages. The author has been praised for opening up about her fertility issues, the speedbumps along the road in her relationship with husband Barack and how her and her family adjusted to life under the spotlight in the White House. It’s intimate, frank and compulsively readable. No wonder it’s a bestseller. 

The English women’s cricket team sail into the finals of the world T20 competition

Polished, professional and full of drive, the English women’s cricket team have dominated every match they have played these past weeks during the Women’s World T20 contest in Antigua. 

Last night they easily defeated India with eight wickets in the pocket, the BBC reports, pushing them forward into a grand final showdown against Australia this weekend.

The English women’s cricket team are on a good wicket

The team couldn’t be on better form for the challenge, with batters Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones enjoying an unbeaten, tournament-best 92-run partnership during the match against India and English captain Heather Knight picking up two back-to-back wickets.

If you want to watch the English women’s cricket team face off against Australia this weekend, the match starts at midnight UK time on Saturday. 

Saudi Arabian women protest the abaya by wearing them inside out

There’s nothing in Saudi Arabian law that forces women to wear the abaya, the complete body-covering traditional robe. 

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said in March this year. “This however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or a black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.” 

In reality, though, many women in the country feel that they have no option but to wear the garment. And they have decided to protest by wearing the robe inside out and sharing images on social media in a powerful statement about the prescriptive regulations imposed upon them by Saudia Arabian society. Thousands of women have posted images of themselves in flipped garments as part of the silent protest, The Independent reports.

“I will continue to wear abaya in this way to guarantee our freedom of clothing,” one post read. Another said: “As a Saudi woman, I don’t enjoy freedom to clothe. I am forced by the law to wear abaya everywhere but my house, which I. can’t. take. any. more.” 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Republicans judging her finances

Ever since she became the youngest woman elected to the American congress earlier this month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ruffled feathers. The woman is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, facing criticism about her use of social media, her choice of clothing and her comments about the difficulties she is facing as a working class woman to pay rent in Washington D.C.

Sharing her finances with CNBC, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she has less than £5,400 in her savings account and is still paying off significant student loans. Before she ran for Congress, Ocasio-Cortez was working as a bartender, and has only received £4,600 in salary from her campaign this year. 

The Congresswoman in D.C

This didn’t stop Fox News from saying that “her resume” about being a working class woman “doesn’t always match up.” “Her resume about being from the Bronx, it turns out when you read deeper she had formative years in Westchester county,” a commentator said on Fox. “[That’s] a little bit ritzier than the Bronx… And some of those [photo]shoots during the campaign she had these multi-thousand dollar outfits that could pay a month’s rent in D.C.”

Ocasio-Cortez hit back on Twitter, though, saying that “the reason journos from Fox News to DC Examiner can’t help but obsess about my clothes, rent or mischaracterise respectful convos as ‘fights’ is because as I’ve said, women like me aren’t supposed to run for office – or win.” 

Irish women march through Dublin in their underwear in protest of rape law

Barely two weeks ago a 17-year-old woman’s underwear was used as evidence against her in a rape trial in Ireland. Elizabeth O’Connell SC, in her closing statements for the defence, said that: “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” The 27-year-old defendant was found not guilty of rape unanimously by a jury of eight men and four women. 

Protesters on the streets of Dublin

On 22 November more than 50 women marched through the streets of Dublin in protest of trial law that allows underwear to be used as evidence in rape cases. Led by Stacie Ellen Murphy, Alanna Cassidy and Lena Seale, the women walked in their underwear despite the frigid temperatures while their bodies bore painted-on statements including “I’m not asking for it” and “This is not consent”.

“I’m not going to be stopping until I get a change,” Murphy said. “Until it’s talked about in the Dail. Until I get to the Dail. Until changes are made. I’m not going to stop until I’ve a crowd of 50 people walking toward me every single day doing this walk, until there’s a change in the judicial system about underwear being brought up in a case or court trial.”

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.  

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

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