2020: 10 feminist moments to remember from the year that was

Reflections Activism


While 2020 may have been a tough year, full of different challenges and grief as life has changed dramatically for many all over, there were some mighty moments in the journey towards creating an equal and just future for all that we believe are worth remembering.


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Photo by Lexie Janney on Unsplash

We’ve put together a list of ten such moments below, although we know there are many more to be added.

This month, and every month, we want to celebrate the work that people are doing all over the globe to advance gender equality and drive positive social change. We can do hard things, especially when we work together, and these moments remind us of exactly that.

We know there’s many more to note on this list. And so, we would like to read some of the feminist moments you thought were memorable and worth revisiting. Make sure you share them with us on social media and tag us in any of our official accounts @theequalityinstitute.

And now, let the countdown begin!

Content Note: This blog post shares stories related to sexual assault and violence against women

10. Harvey Weinstein was convicted for rape

We’re sure we don’t need to remind you of the moment that a courageous group of women came forward to denounce Harvey Weinstein - former film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Earlier last year Weinstein was convicted for rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison, finally putting a stop to his abuse, that had lasted decades. Don’t underestimate the power in sharing our stories, in standing together, and in the strength of movements, with the Me Too movement, founded by Tarana Burke, playing a key role in this momentous step.

9. Lidia Thorpe became the first Victorian Aboriginal Senator and makes her stance

Talk about an entrance! Lidia Thorpe made her position known as a strong advocate for Indigenous rights when she was sworn in as the first Victorian Aboriginal Senator. Never before has a woman looked so powerful standing in Parliament, wearing traditional possum skin with pride.

8. Nanaia Mahuta became New Zealand’s first Māori female foreign minister

Nanaia Mahuta’s success as the first Māori woman to become a Foreign Affairs Minister in New Zealand has paved the way forward for other women of mixed descent like her. We are so proud to see Minister Mahuta adding her legacy to politics, and are sure we will see New Zealand go from strength to strength.

7. Scotland free menstrual products for all!

Over in Europe, Scotland recognised the need to offer menstrual products free for everyone, and acknowledged the stigma that currently surrounds periods. We love to see it! Period poverty increases gender inequality, which is why we’re taking our hats off to Scotland’s government for being the first to provide period dignity, and edging closer towards an equal world for all. Now, the rest of the world needs to follow…

6. Thousands of women protested for their reproductive rights in Poland

In June last year, thousands of women took to the streets in Poland to protest the restrictive abortion laws the government had put in place, effectively removing reproductive rights. Pro-choice protesters marched out of work, took their children along with them and, despite the weather and a pandemic, peacefully protested for days on end, bringing the country to a grinding halt. A moment like this reminds us of the true power of a committed group of human beings – we can stop a whole country when we're united.

5. Argentina approves legalisation of abortion up to 14 weeks

And yet, not all hope is lost! Just on the other side of the world, a ‘green wave’ has been stirring in the waters of Argentina. Abortion up until 14 weeks was finally legalised, despite opposition and backlash. We’re predicting a green tsunami to follow – this win for the movement might just be the inspiration needed to help bring reproductive justice to the rest of the region. Green is looking like it’s the new pink…

4. Kamala Harris’ historic election as Vice President of the United States (and the Squad reelection)

Loudly paying tribute to the work of people of colour, especially all the Black women before her, in the face of all those old white male politicians – Vice President Kamala Harris' inaugural speech was one to remember. Watching the reactions of so many girls across America with eyes wide, one could almost hear the sound of another glass ceiling breaking. We know for sure that Harris will not be the last woman in that position. And, while we're here, we couldn't miss out on including a shout out on the Squad’s re-election. More badass congresswomen, please!

3. Zhou Xiaoxuan files a sexual harassment case and shares her story

In China, Zhou Xiaoxuan’s sexual harassment case against Zhu Jun, a high-profile TV host in China, made history in the country, highlighting the gender inequality that still exists. It also shows us once again that our voice can be our greatest power. We're championing for all survivors' voices and stories to be heard, loud and clear.

2. Gag laws restricting survivors of sexual assault were overturned in Tasmania

Gag laws preventing survivors of sexual assault from self-identifying in the media and sharing their stories were overturned in Tasmania, thanks to the work of advocate Grace Tame and the #LetHerSpeak campaign created by Nina Funnell in partnership with Grace went on to receive the 2021 Australian of the Year Award this year for her work as an activist and advocate for sexual assault survivors. What’s more, Jaime’s Law was instated in Victoria – reversing similar gag laws in Victoria, as part of the #LetUsSpeak campaign.

1. Australia, first country in the world to implement a whole-of-government prevention plan to prevent violence against women and girls

And lastly, we felt it was important to round out this countdown with one of the most important things we can spread: knowledge. Australia’s leading whole-of-government approach to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) has begun to inform similar approaches in other countries. Peru has begun work on its own framework for prevention, as well as Fiji. In 2020, we were glad to be part of the first learning exchange between key stakeholders in Australia, Peru and Colombia, who are working to implement a national framework to end VAWG.