Top 5 Moments That Made 2018 The Year Of The Woman

From storming the midterms to confronting sexism at every turn, this was the year women refused to be silenced.
From top left: Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Stacey Abrams, Emma Gonzalez, and Ilhan Omar. (AP)

From top left: Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Stacey Abrams, Emma Gonzalez, and Ilhan Omar. (AP and campaign photos)

Pundits, political analysts, and historians seem to agree that 2018’s moniker ought to be “The Year of the Woman,” but the title seems woefully inadequate in the face of a monumental movement that is slowly but surely shifting our culture. The previous “Year of the Woman” occurred in 1992 when voters elected more women to Congress than in any previous decade and tripled the number of women serving in the Senate. The paradigm shifts we’re seeing in 2018 seem much more crucial than just gains in representation.

Fueled by justifiable and righteous rage, women appear poised to make this not just the year but the decade of the woman. From storming the midterms to confronting sexism at every turn, this was the year women refused to be silenced.

Here are the five feminist moments that shaped 2018.

1. Midterms and the Avengers

First, they marched. Then they ran. Finally, they won. Now they’ll have the chance to govern. The blue wave swept in a historic tide of women, and especially women of color, into office. An unprecedented one hundred and twenty-five women will take their seats in Congress this January, including forty-five women of color and a crowded field of historic firsts such as the first Native American women to serve in Congress.

2. #MeToo matures with the fight against Kavanaugh

As survivors fought to block the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man accused of sexual assault, we saw the #MeToo movement come into its own. Cornering Jeff Flake in an elevator, storming the Supreme Court, and entrenching the capitol in protests for weeks, women sowed the seeds of not just a crucial moment in American history but a commitment to fight the patriarchy. The upheaval and solidarity inspired by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony and courage proved #MeToo is here to stay not just in the United States but around the globe.

3. #Time’sUp and the survivors who won’t be silenced

Launched in January at the Golden Globes, Time’s Up has born witness to wave after wave of the courtroom courage of survivors who helped convict Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein. From the inspiring words of Ali Raisman as she faced down Larry Nassar to the bravery of Andrea Constand, survivors stepped out of the shadows of shame and found their voices. And for every hard-fought courtroom battle where justice was served, survivors made it easier for other women to come forward and share their stories. The message from women survivors in 2018 was clear— we won’t be silenced. Never again.

4. Serena Williams makes sports sit up and take notes

When Serena Williams stepped onto the court in France in a Black Panther-inspired bodysuit designed to improve circulation, she stirred up a storm of controversy about sexism, racism, and inequality in sports. Her persistence in calling out the patriarchy may have cost her the US Open, but Serena made it clear she was never going to sacrifice her self-respect. Serena’s coming of age in the national spotlight as an icon of strength and grace, and her quest to inspire other mothers with her honesty made her one of the pivotal feminist figures of 2018.

5. Tammy Duckworth makes history

Tammy Duckworth has been making history for decades, so it’s no surprise that she was the face of an unprecedented moment in US history this year. Tammy became not only the first sitting US senator to give birth while in office, but also the first senator to bring her newborn to work. Watching the combat vet wheel into Senate chambers to cast her vote with arms full of a newborn baby girl was an iconic image and a symbolic win not just for Tammy but for working mothers everywhere. It’s something we’ll be seeing a lot more of as more women take their rightful places in the halls of Congress, in boardrooms, and in positions of power across America.

“This is the work not of an election but of a lifetime.”

Despite these watershed moments that framed 2018 as the year of the woman, it’s difficult not to overlook one simple fact—every step forward this year seemed to come at a heavy price. Women continue to fight the same battles, decade after decade, and often it feels as if for every step forward, we take two backward. It’s disheartening to see gains women thought were made evaporate into thin air as the slow pendulum of progress in America swings back and forth.

And yet the women who drove activism and resistance to the Trump administration in 2018 recognize that this is the work not of an election but of a lifetime. They’re holding onto that rage and using to fuel a new generation of feminism. And their passionate assault on the patriarchy is setting the stage for the battle of a lifetime, one where women are finally in a position to win.

It’s a moment that’s long overdue.

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Opinion // Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Nancy Pelosi / Politics / Women