It’s that time again. Time to look back at what went right for women in 2023. Who broke glass ceilings and stood up for what they believed in? Across politics, entertainment, and sport, several moments stood out.
In no order, here’s our defining feminist moments of 2023.
1) The many moments of The Women’s World Cup 2023
2023 was a big year for Women’s football – THE biggest in fact. The beautiful game produced a whole host of memorable, feminist moments.
2 million fans attended matches in host country New Zealand and neighbouring Australia, making it the most successful Women’s World Cup yet. The UK celebrated as The Lionesses came 2nd, and Spain came out on top.
England’s Chloe Kelly launched the fastest shot in the tournament. At 69 mph, the shot beat the most powerful strike of the 2022-23 Premier League season.
On the other side of the field, the President of the Spanish FA sparked outrage by kissing Spain’s midfielder Jennifer Hermoso without her consent following the team’s win.
We’re calling this a defining feminist moment because of the following uproar which opened important discussions around consent, and the fact that Hermoso took a public stand against the ‘impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act.’
2) Imprisoned Narges Mohammadi is awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize this year “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.”
Narges Mohammadi remains imprisoned in Iran. Her teenage children collected the award and read her acceptance speech which had been smuggled out of Evin Prison.
3) The COP28 stage was stormed by 12 year old Licypriya Kangujam.
In recent news, young climate activist, Licypriya Kangujam boldly took to the stage at the COP28 climate summit. She held a sign saying “end fossil fuel, save our planet and our future.”
Security escorted Kangujam off the stage, but COP28 Director-General Majid Al-Suwaidi called them to applause her enthusiasm. Kangujam gave a voice to those who will be most affected by climate change, and showed the world that everyone has the power to make a difference.
4) Jacinda Ardern stood down as Prime Minister of New Zealand.
In January, Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation as New Zealand’s Prime Minister in an emotional press release. Ardern was the world’s youngest female leader when she first took office, and during her 6 years she led through ‘a domestic terror event, a major natural disaster, a global pandemic and an economic crisis.
One of her most memorable moments occurred when she attended the United Nations general assembly meeting with her three-month-old daughter.
Ardern led the way she wanted to, and ended her office on her own terms. She proved to the world that you can lead fearlessly and still show compassion. She has left a legacy not only for girls and women, but leaders around the globe.
5) Director Greta Gerwig broke records with Barbie.
It’s time to talk about the feminist moment that was Barbie. Beating its box office rival Oppenheimer by a chunk, Barbie tackled ideas like equality, the patriarchy, and self-esteem.
As a result, director Gerwig became the first female director to make $ 1 billion at the box office. Kenough said.
6) Taylor Swift was made Times Most Influential Person of the Year.
This year, Swift also became the first female artist to reach 100 million monthly listeners on Spotify. That’s not the only record she smashed. The pre-sale of Swift’s much-awaited Eras tour ‘broke’ Ticketmaster’s website due to a “historically unprecedented demand.”
7) Simone Biles cemented her place as most decorated gymnast of all time.
Back in the world of sport, Simone Biles won FOUR golds at the world championships after a two-year absence, solidifying her place as the most decorated gymnast in history. Throughout her success, Biles has prioritised her mental health over all else, and has been open about her struggles with ADHD.
8) Jodie Comer bagged a Tony for Prima Facie.
Liverpool local Jodie Comer won Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for Prima Facie at The Tony Awards. The win marks a defining moment of her career.
Prima Facie follows Tessa, a criminal defence barrister whose view of the legal system changes after she is sexually assaulted. The play has been hailed for provoking a discussion around the legal treatment and emotional impact of sexual assault.
9) Rihanna performed the Superbowl half-time show while pregnant.
In February 2023 Rihanna finally performed at the Superbowl. It was her first live show in over 5 years, and she used the opportunity to reveal her second pregnancy.
Rihanna was the first female billionaire and the first known pregnant person to perform during the coveted spot. She now also has the honour of being ‘the most watched Superbowl performance of all time.’
After the performance, Rihanna’s sign language interpreter Justina Miles also went viral. Miles was the first deaf performer to provide a sign language interpretation during the half-time show, showing off her dance moves at the same time.
10) Katarina Thompson-Johnson regains her world heptathlon title.
Following a career altering injury during the Tokyo Olympics, Liverpool’s Katerina Thompson-Johnson thought her gold medal days were behind her.
Three years later, Thompson-Johnson defied odds to regain her world heptathlon title.
Her messages on resilience, hard work, and gratitude transcended the sports world.
11) Sweden’s Loreen is the first female to win Eurovision Twice.
2023 was the year Eurovision came to the UK. The number of female soloists reached an all time high, and Swedish artist Loreen took the crown for a second time.
Her performance and vocals stole the show just as they did 11 years prior, with her hit ‘Tattoo’ placing first at 583 points.
12) Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian actress to win an Oscar.
For her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Yeoh made history as the first Asian actress to be nominated for ‘Best Actress’ at the Oscars since 1935. An appalling 85 years had passed since Merle Oberon also had the honour, a statistic that further highlighted a historical lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Yeoh then went on to win, making her the first Asian actress to win, ever.
13) Irish music legend Sinéad O’Connor passed away, aged 56.
This year we said goodbye to Irish music ledged Sinéad O’Connor. As tributes poured in, the world revisited and reflected on the lasting impact she has made.
O’Connor was so much more than a beautiful voice, she was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in and used her platform to inspire change. Although we are sad with her passing, we will remember her strong character, resilience, and commitment to her faith.
How do you think they compare to the defining feminist moments of 2022? Refresh your memory with last year’s roundup.
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