People still struggle with the word feminist, mostly because they don't understand what it actually means. Feminism is the belief that women should be equal to men, plain and simple. Thankfully, many celebrities and public figures (both female and male) openly identify as feminists and are beginning to speak up and raise awareness about the lack of equality that women have had to endure. With a widening wage gap, the recent attack on women’s health and reproductive rights, and the violence and sexual assault that women still face, there's no question that women are continue to fail to get the respect and equality they deserve — which is why the feminist movement needs all of the support it can get. Here are some of our favorite feminists and what they've accomplished this year.
An 18-year-old Pakistani activist for female education, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and survived being shot in the head by the Taliban. Just this year, she opened up an all-girls school near Syria and had a documentary released about her life, He Named Me Malala.
Best known for starring in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Emma Watson graduated from Brown University and was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014. Since then, she has helped launch the UN women's campaign #HeForShe, which encourages men to advocate for gender equality.
The 13-year-old star of Girl Meets World, Rowan Blanchard, posted a three-part Instagram post sharing her personal opinion on feminism and the concept of intersectional feminism.
A former Olympic softball player, Jessica Mendoza became the first female on-camera baseball announcer in October and was met with a sexist opposition for it. However, she was resilient and continues to live her dream.
What many don’t know about Freedom Writers star April Hernandez-Castillo is that she is a survivor of domestic violence. A spokesperson for the National Coalition of Domestic Violence and founder of The L.O.V.E. (Love Overcomes Violence Eternally) Walk, she recently released a new book, Your Voice, Your Choice: My Story of Resilience and Success.
Best known for her role in Juno, Ellen Page describes herself as a pro-choice feminist and advocates for the LGBT community. This summer she spoke out against Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz's views around the discrimination against the LGBT community.
Model Amber Rose hosted the Amber Rose SlutWalk in downtown Los Angeles this year, an event where women marched to take a stand for women’s equality issues. She organized the walk to break down gender stereotypes and fight against slut-shaming.
An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor is the first justice of Hispanic heritage and it's third female.
An American football player, Jen Welter became the first female coach in the NFL after she signed with the Arizona Cardinals — proving once again that women can do anything that men can do.
After the Sony leaks, it was revealed that Jennifer Lawrence received a lower salary than her male costars in American Hustle. She finally addressed it in October, admitting that she took a while to open up about it because she blamed herself for not negotiating harder for fear of coming across as too aggressive.
Michelle Obama has used her position as the First Lady of the United States to help women — whether it be through poverty awareness, personal health, or the #62MillionGirls campaign. Recently she launched the Better Make Room project, an initiative that encourages teenagers to pursue higher education.
They don’t call her Queen Bey for nothing! Even though Beyoncé Knowles was reluctant to call herself a feminist, she turned that around and even performed with the word feminist in lights. Beyoncé has worked with Michelle Obama on #62MillionGirls, contributed to the Ban Bossy campaign, and uses her music to promote female sexuality and empowerment.