As 2011 drew to a close, newspapers, magazines, and blogs scrambled to compile the traditional “year-end” lists, ranking the events and milestones of the previous year. Reading some of these lists and thinking over how I would remember 2011, I looked back on major world events that had transpired as well as my own professional and personal milestones. While it was the year that I finished graduate school and was accepted into the Emerge California class of 2012, 2011 will stand out for me as the “year of the protest.” From the Occupy Wall Street movement here in the US, to protests abroad in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, it was the year that I watched as citizens took to the streets to speak out against inequality, injustice and repression.
Moreover, it was a year in which women stepped to the forefront as key agents for change. In February, women helped launch the anti-Gaddafi protests in Libya. In November, following Tunisia’s first free elections, women took to the streets to call for a guarantee of women’s rights under the new Islamist regime. In December, the world watched as thousands of women marched through Cairo to demand an end to military rule and to protest the beating of a young woman at the hands of the military there, chanting “the girls of Egypt are here”. It was the biggest demonstration by women in modern Egyptian history.
In 2011, women were no longer just participants in these movements, they were leaders. With the rise of a new, well-educated generation of young women, we move into the new year better positioned than ever to make our mark. Look out 2012 – the women are here.
Class of 2012