Women, time and again, “break the glass ceiling.” Simply put, they break barriers and accomplish great things despite obstacles they may encounter. Some women, as fate would have it, like to be on top of the ladder. Up at the point that few people ever reach – the majority of those high achievers being men – there are talented, creative, and ambitious women making their mark in the world. With their series, “Firsts,” Time Magazine hopes to send a message to young girls everywhere that it is safe at the top and that they too, like their predecessors, can make it there and can even change the world. Below are highlights of four of the 46 women who made it to this soon-to-be prestigious list of phenomenal women.
Commonly known as the first female Somali and Muslim legislator from Minnesota, this lady is surely a force to reckon with. Known in her close circles as the “why kid,” she questioned everything around her and still does today. Moving with her family from war-torn Somalia at age 8 to a Kenyan refugee camp to the US over the next four years, Ilhan found that reaching her dreams in Minnesota would not be so easy. Her family was mainly headed by men after the loss of the elder women, including her mother, when Ilhan was still young. She always stood out as the black refugee girl but beat the odds to reach where she is today. When she was elected to represent Minneapolis District 60B in the house of representatives, her opponent felt that she was only loved for her looks. The pressure was also on her from her own community for being a mother who dedicated herself to a career rather than children, and for venturing into politics, a niche mostly attributed to men. She, however, won the race and today represents her state in the house.
Referred to as the ‘Showrunner,’ Shonda Rhimes is known as the creator of hit television shows, including the popular Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Private Practice. All her shows have kept Americans and viewers the world over glued to their screens. She attributes her success to her supportive co-producer, Betsy Beers. Rhimes has been lucky to inspire the masses through her characters who are often strong women who are not mainstream, and who have their own ambitions and work hard to meet them.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Clinton is a household name in American politics, always beating the odds to remain relevant. What some may not know is that she doubles up as an author, writing about what it feels like to break through barriers. She is revolutionary, especially after being nominated by the Democratic Party as the first woman to run for the US presidency. She talks about the struggles of women in “Firsts,” not shying away from recounting the demeaning, belittling comments and insults that women in politics – and in general – are often subjected to. The barriers facing women is something she still fights against, in spite of all her fame and influence.
Ava DuVernay, as can be seen from the “Firsts” interview, is a woman who has pushed past society’s expectations and now focuses on what all women should be doing: building themselves. The director of Selma and 13th and first black woman nominated for a best picture Oscar is nothing below phenomenal. She has worked as a publicist and now, as a filmmaker, and she can finally make her voice be heard through her inspirational and meaningful work.