2015 reminded us—yet again—that girls run the world. Here are 15 of our favorite moments from the year:
1. The USWNT won the Women’s World Cup and set the US record for most watched soccer game of all time
2. Women were elected into office around the world Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Nepal's first female president, via BBC News
This year Croatia and Nepal both elected female presidents for the first time. And no matter if you lean red or blue, it’s pretty cool to see Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina on either side of the presidential race.
3. Viola Davis made history at the Emmys and gave an awesomely inspirational speech
“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”
Isis Wenger, a Bay Area engineer, launched a social media campaign telling the internet–and the world–just what an engineer looks like. Hint: no Y-chromosome required.
5. The US military leaned in US Army photo via Business Insider
2015 was a historic year for American women serving in the armed forces: Capt. Kristin Griest, 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, and Maj. Lisa Jaster became the first women to graduate the Army’s grueling Ranger School and Defense Secretary Ash Carter opened ALL military positions and occupations to women. And with the official launch of Lean In Circles throughout all branches and ranks, there’s now even more support for the women and men who serve.
6. Malala Yousafzai said Emma Watson's speech inspired her to call herself a feministEmma Watson and Malala Yousafzai via BuzzFeed and Facebook:emmawatson
Malala said, “There's nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist, so I am a feminist. And feminism is another word for equality." #Preach
7. Steph Curry: MVP, champion, and all-star dad
Curry introduced us to his daughter Riley and how fatherhood has affected him: “no matter if I have a good game, bad game, score 40, score 10, I think my daughter's going to be happy to see me when I get home, and that kind of makes everything alright.” #LeanInTogether
8. Target removed boys and girls labels from store signs
@TargetNews @Target hurray! As a parent of a daughter who ❤️s Transformers & Barbie, I applaud you! — Mariana Cotromanes (@MarianaCotro) August 9, 2015In a victory for common sense, the retailer announced it will no longer designate toys and bedding as “girl’s” and “boy’s” items.
9. Companies doubled down on family leave Photo courtesy of Getty Images from the Lean In Collection
Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Ebay, Amazon, and Microsoft all announced new policies extending paid parental leave, helping make work work for parents. And major props to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who leaned in to fatherhood by publicly announcing his plans to take 2 months of paternity leave. Now trending: equality.
10. Sweden announced all 16-year-olds will receive a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All be Feminists” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie via The Guardian
11. “Dadvertising” has its Super Bowl moment Photo courtesy of Getty Images from the Lean In Collection
Representation matters–so we were thrilled to see Super Bowl ads like Toyota’s "To be a Dad” and Dove’s “Real Strength” show men to be the nurturing and COMPETENT caregivers we all know and love. Keep 'em coming!
12. Love wins!
The US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, recognizing, as President Obama later said, that “love is love.” We couldn't agree more.
13. Women got the right to vote in Saudi Arabia
Via The Guardian
For the first time in history, women in Saudi Arabia participated in public elections. More than 900 women campaigned for positions on local councils and 20 women won their races.
14. A 16-year-old invented a test for Ebola
Image via CNBC
Olivia Hallisey won the grand prize at the Google Science Fair with her simple and affordable test that can detect Ebola in 30 minutes. #GirlPower
15. Serena Williams won Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year 2015
Yu Tsai for Sports Illustrated
Serena dominated 2015–holding all four Grand Grand Slam titles at the same time (aka a #SerenaSlam–the second of her career), going 53-3, and maintaining her reign atop the WTA's rankings. The last time Serena wasn't #1? February 2013.
What will happen in 2016? We can't wait to find out. #LeanIn