Why stop at one woman of the year when so many incredible women are constantly doing amazing things to help improve our world?
Here are 7 women that have poured their hearts, minds, souls and energy into offering something evolutionary (other than raising children which - don't get me wrong - is the most evolutionary job a woman could undertake. Not that it's a contest.)
Angel Chang, Fashion Designer & Pioneer
How many fashion designers can say their line produces zero-carbon womenswear? Carbon-neutral, yes, but Angel Chang has gone out of her way to produce plant-based, unprocessed, completely handmade clothing. Vogue said, "Angel Chang's new line was made with no electricity, synthetics or chemicals -- just 'sun, plants and mountain water.'" Angel was inspired to become an environmental activist when she saw the famous seed activist Vandana Shiva speak in France ten years ago. Chang really hit the environmental and socially responsible jackpot when she started working with the indigenous farmers in Guizhou, China. Her site states, "Each order brings jobs to impoverished rural villages while helping grandmothers pass their traditional knowledge to the next generation." And to top it all off? -- the line is made entirely by women.
If you've ever doubted that your art has any evolutionary value, Maxine will help you find otherwise. Formerly a fashion designer, she found her true calling as an energy healer and transpersonal spiritual counselor. Now, she helps all female creatives work through their own personal blocks that have kept them from being where they want to be in their careers. She runs a 9-month creative healing process and course called You Are A Healer where she and other women support you in expanding your innermost creative and intuitive self.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director at Dior
Let's hear it for haute couture feminism. With Dior's famous "We should all be feminists" t-shirt, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri made her mark in the ever-evolving feminist movement, not only with a t-shirt but by an extensive list of nearly invisible acts of progression like featuring women's art in Dior's fashion shows, employing women artists and photographers, and celebrating the quiet underdogs of the fashion industry like Chenakya, the Mumbai-based embroidery house that's been the backbone of the fashion industry yet never given credit until Chiuri gave them the spotlight. While she doesn't subscribe to the notion that fashion should solve the world's problems, she does believe in working seriously with "real attention."
Eli Mathis Cheatham, Founder of Matrons & Mistresses
Eli started Matrons & Mistresses, a journalistic collection of art by women, after discovering the lack of educational books about women artists that children's libraries have been remiss to provide to their young, impressionable readers. This awoke a desire to join a movement of women's voices through art in which Eli and contributing writers post essays revolved around a piece of art that speaks to them in a profound way, centered around the complexities of being a woman. Matrons & Mistresses is an impressive curation of artworks by women who have made immeasurable impacts on the art world, and whose art continues to lend important conversations for our patriarchal society.
Maryn Green & Margo Blackstone, Co-Founders of Indie Birth Association
I mean, just look at these two. In the most loving, compassionate way, this midwifery duo does not mess around with birth (autonomy.) Birth autonomy is birth autonomy, right? Well, people have lots of questions, and Maryn and Margo are a force that will answer them. Between podcasts, classes, mentorships and their blog, this team goes into incredible depth and detail as to what an autonomous birth actually entails and doesn't entail.
Furthermore, they're in the process of opening up an Indie Birth Sanctuary which will be the very first residential birthing "center" that welcomes breech births and VBACs as well as full postpartum care on site. To learn more, visit www.indiebirthsanctuary.org
Joh Jarvis, Founder of The Light Inside
Joh Jarvis, former media professional, found her calling as a teacher of Vedic Meditation. Where does she teach, one might ask? New York City's Rilkers Island detention facility where she's taught dozens of incarcerated men in maximum security. She also teaches previously incarcerated women in Philadelphia, PA. Now she has an organization called The Light Inside, dedicated to bringing meditation to incarcerated people, formerly incarcerated people and Corrections Officers. How's that for radical change in our prison system?
Masih Alinejad, Iranian-American Women's Rights Activist
Last but certainly not least, Masih Alinejad, who is known for her hair. Not just because it's absolutely fabulous, but because it makes Islamic fundamentalist men mad. Like, really mad. These wild curls serve as a political statement to the oppression of women in Iran who are still mandated to wear headscarves, or hijabs, in public. If they don't, their sentence could be anywhere up to 20 years in prison. You may have heard of the death of Mahsa Amini who was killed by the police after violating the dress code, which spurred on an ongoing national (and international) protest. Masih Alinejad is just one of the many brave, beautiful women who continue to defend women's rights in Iran, no matter how severe the threats are that protesters face. In January 2023, VOA News on Iran reported 516 protesters killed since the protests began in mid-September of 2022. The dead included 70 children. So far, more than 19,200 protesters have been arrested, 687 of them being students.
To join Alinejad in her fight, follow her on Twitter.