Respect - more than just a word.

2015: The Year of the Feminist

Written By Maddy Crehan

Wow, what a year! Definitely one with many ups and downs, highs and lows. Here are some moments from 2015 worth remembering:

1.Anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty was awarded Australian of the year.

Not only that, but for the first time in history the recipients in all four categories — Australian, Senior Australian, Young Australian, and Local Hero — were women!

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

2. Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton became besties.

Julia’s presence in Hillary’s campaign video this year was no mistake – as an upcoming candidate for the presidency, Hillary will be the first woman ever to lead America. As Julia was our our first ever female Prime Minister, she obviously remains a great inspiration to Hillary. Jules is also one of our biggest heroes – since leaving politics she has gained considerable international political recognition and is using that power to direct attention, money and new approaches to transforming the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged children, especially girls. Respect!

3. Misty Copeland became the first black female principal dancer in the American Ballet theater.

Copeland said at the April 2015 TIME 100 Gala, “I never saw a ballerina who looked like me before. And I’m here to be a vessel for all these brown ballerinas who have come before me.” More of this, please!

4. Indigenous actress Miranda Tapsell won 2 Logies awards. 

Tapsell used her acceptance speech to point out the lack of racial diversity on Australian TV saying “Put more beautiful people of colour on TV and connect viewers in ways which transcend race and unite us”. * Fist pump *

Miranda Tapsell at the Logie Awards, photo from

Miranda Tapsell at the Logie Awards, photo from

5. Caitlyn Jenner introduced her authentic self on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Although Jenner is an imperfect role model, her public coming out process undeniably expanded the dialogue about trans representation and discrimination. We hope this will pave the way for more diverse role models in our community.

6. Jennifer Lawrence wrote a passionate essay about the wage gap.

She explained that she didn’t want to be deemed “difficult” or “spoiled” by demanding more money, but now realizes there’s nothing bratty about demanding to be paid equally to her male colleagues. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that,” she wrote. Fuck yes, J-Law!

Gif from

Gif from

7. Amy Schumer perfectly captured misogyny with her “12 Angry Men” parody.

As part of her “Inside Amy Schumer” series, Schumer highlighted how a woman’s worth is so often measured by her beauty. In the sketch, Schumer is quite literally put on trial to figure out if she is “hot enough” to be on television. The piece is part of her series “Inside Amy Schumer” where she highlights everyday sexism in a hilarious but very relatable way.

8. The Supreme Court legalized Same-Sex Marriage in America.

It was declared legal in all 50 states on June 26th! Australia’s next, right???

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

9. #ShoutYourAbortion

Feminist Activist Lindy West set up the hashtag to challenge the stigma that surrounds reproductive health. Women across the world shared their abortion stories and showed their support for a woman’s right to choose.

10. #SayHerName

This campaign highlighted the value of black women within the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The campaign was created to amplify the stories of black women who have died at the hands of police in America.

11. Serena Williams was named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the year.

Williams was the 3rd woman to ever win the title over 61 years, and was the first African American woman to win.

Sports Illustrated front cover

Sports Illustrated front cover

12. The Turnbull Government announced a new plan for reducing domestic violence.

This consisted of a $100 million package of measures to provide a safety net for women and children at high risk of experiencing violence.

13. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created an equal, diverse cabinet.

He explained the importance of gender equality in just three words “Because it’s 2015”, when asked why it was so important to have an equal number of men and women in cabinet.

14. Reese Witherspoon reminded us that ambition isn’t a dirty word.

In her speech at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in November, Witherspoon asked the crowd “What would happen if we were all brave enough to be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change.”

Photo from Getty Images

Photo from Getty Images

15. Science disproved the myth that men and women have different brains.

The study was led by behavioral neuroscientist Daphna Joel who said “There is no one person that has all the male characteristics and another person that has all the female characteristics. Or if they exist they are really, really rare to find.”

16. Angela Merkel was named Time’s “Person of the Year”

Times magazine awarded the title to the German chancellor for her leadership for navigating debt and asylum seeker crises that threatened to tear the European Union apart.

17. Malala Yousafzai opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.

Malala opened the school on her 18th birthday on July 12 continuing her fight for girls education across the globe!

Image from

Image from

18. There was a significant rise in the representation of women in the film industry.

We saw more female leading roles in films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2. We saw more female directors and producers for films such as The Dressmaker and Trainwreck. And we saw important stories of women’s histories being told in films such as He Named Me Malala and Suffragette. More of this in 2016, film folks!

19. #AskHerMore

This campaign inspired people to call out sexist reporting and asking interviewers to focus on women’s achievements instead.

20. Rupi Kaur showed Instagram what it’s like to have a period.

Kaur posted the image below on her Instagram account before having it deleted twice by the social media site because it didn’t “follow [their] Community Guidelines”. Instagram eventually reinstated the photo and apologised.

Image from Rupi Kaur's Instagram

Image from Rupi Kaur’s Instagram

21. Lena Dunham launched Lenny Letter

Lenny Letter is a collaboration of works and articles by feminists and artists. The online newsletter comes out once a week covering a range of feminist issues and topics. Haven’t yet subscribed? Make it the first thing on your 2016 To-Do list!

22. Jessica Hopper publicly called out sexism in the music industry.

On August 25 music writer and senior editor of Pitchfork, Jessica Hopper, tweeted “Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn’t “count”?”. She received countless responses of personal experiences similar to hers, and in her keynote speech at Bigsound Festival in Brisbane on September 10 she urged that the accounts of misogyny these women told “aren’t isolated instances, these problems are systemic and worldwide.”

Photo by Lauren Darling

Jessica Hopper – Photo by Lauren Darling

23. Chris Brown was denied entry to Australia.

Brown was refused entry due to his history of violence against women, sending a strong and important message that domestic violence is not tolerated in any circumstance.

24. Women were given voting rights in Saudi Arabia.

More than 900 Saudi females decided to campaign for public office.

25. Tony Abbott is no longer the Prime Minister of Australia.

(I would list all the reasons why that is a very good thing but there is not enough time in the world.)

Image from

Julia Gillard, Image from



Maddy Crehan

Maddy regularly writes for Rosie, and is passionate about music, history, art and gender equality.

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