A heroine at the age of seventeen, Joan of Arc led an entire French army to war against the English and won victoriously1, a remarkable achievement for any generation or society. Today, a women’s place in society has progressed from the kitchen to positions of power as politicians and world leaders. The fight for feminine rights has surged like tidal waves, taking up developed countries by storm. As the third wave feminism hits the shores of less developed countries, more girls are taking control over their lives rather than tolerate being mistreated by their community.
These women believe that they can shatter the glass ceiling and surpass what narrow expectations people have had for them. These are the women we need in our society, to stand up and speak for their rights. We can’t all be Joan of Arc, but we can achieve what she had lived by – to have passion and love for the life we are living. Women have come a long way from being tasked with discriminative chores in the household to having influential power to develop the nation.
However, only an average of 19 percent of women holds parliament positions in the world today. Personal disinterest aside, women face many challenges in their attempts to join politics. The culture of female inferiority in Asian and African parts of the world has been so deeply inculcated that most women merely accept their social roles and subdue to their male counterparts. Then there are issues such as disapproval from family members to join politics as they believe that the primary role of women should be taking care of her family at home and inaccessibility to education that makes them unaware of the opportunities available.
Kate Sheppard, who received education in Scotland and displayed great intellectual ability in school, was instrumental in the movement to grant women’s suffrage in New Zealand. 3 She made use of her power as the president of NCW4 to further improve the status of women there. 5 Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain, placed great emphasis on free markets to boost thriving businesses6, making Britain one of the strongest economies in the world today. Back in the 15th century, the idea of women fighting on the battlefield is outrageous.
Joan of Arc was one who dared to challenge what was conventional and maintained her set of beliefs in living her life honourably. Women like these were paramount in define the age of feminism today. We can see from such examples that when placed in positions of power, women are able to do just as well as men. Besides power in governmental positions, some women have the power to influence people through their works and their actions. Joanne Kathleen Rowling was one who inspired my life. Most adults would turn a deaf ear and roll their eyes whenever I mention this to them, probably because they are so tired of hearing that.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the first of the series I read when I was nine with only slight background knowledge on this scrawny boy wizard. However, Rowling’s writing managed to keep my eyes on those pages right till the very end. It was the longest book I had read then and the best. Following that, like any other Potter fans had experienced, I rushed through the rest of the first few series and came to love Rowling’s style of writing. It was because I came upon the series that I put in an extra effort in improving English throughout my primary and secondary school years, aiming for what my favourite author had achieved.
Hence, Rowling had been the woman I looked up to throughout my teenage years. With the rise in feminism, I could see change happening right here in my country. There is a rise in young female politicians in my country, showing us youngsters that our generation can inspire change as long as we take the first step forward. Ms. Nicole Seah, 24, recently joined the NSP7 in hopes of getting youngsters to become more active and vocal in Singapore’s issues. 8 Some adults may see her as an inexperienced fresh graduate9 and there were no less criticism against her along with the praises about her courage in participating in the upcoming elections.