By Sarah Zeleya, Senior
Throughout history women have accomplished many extraordinary things that have led to change in society. Despite the frequent suppression women have often faced, they have always risen above to fight this discrimination in order to stand for the causes that they believe. A field that has been greatly affected by the efforts of women is the human rights where numerous notable women act as the voice of others to bring attention to the injustices that people face.
Some notable women are Nadia Murad and Coretta Scott King who both championed for human rights in their own unique way.
Nadia Murad is from Kojo, Iraq and lived with her family until her village was attacked by the Islamic State when she was 19 years old. The British daily newspaper The Guardian conducted an extended interview where Murad recounts the attack on her village and the events leading up to her escape. She was abducted from her village, along with multiple other girls and forced into ISIS sex slavery where she was forced to endure lots of physical and psychological abuse from her captors. After three months, she was fortunate enough to be able to escape and seek refuge in Germany. She was fortunate to be able to speak at a United Nation forum focused on minority issues and was able to speak about the crimes against the Yazidi community. This was the start of her work fighting against human trafficking and bringing those responsible to justice. Murad retells her story to bring awareness on how thousands of young women are being forced into a life that they did not ask for and stripped of their innocence. Since the UN forum, she has spoken at numerous conferences where she re-tells her story. In 2018, she was a recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts against the industry of exploiting individuals for sexual violence used as a tactic of war.
Additionally, Coretta Scott King is a notable figure in history where she may be recognized as the wife of the famous civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she has had her own efforts in fighting for equality for minorities. The Academy of Achievement features Mrs. King in “Coretta Scott King: Pioneer of Civil Rights” and outlines her efforts throughout her lifetime. Born in Alabama, she was greatly influenced by music at a young age and proceeded to study it further when she went off to college. After meeting her husband in college and moving to Montgomery, Alabama, she worked alongside her husband in support of the Civil Rights movement. Standing alongside Dr. King’s leadership, she helped inspire the country to stand up against the injustice of segregation through the use of civil disobedience. With her background in music, King was organized and performed the Freedom Concerts where poetry, narration, and music were combined in order to tell a story about the Civil Rights Movement. Up until her death in 2006, she continued to work in justice and human rights, which took her all over the world and was able to be a part of numerous historical events.
As a whole, women throughout history have left their mark on the world in their efforts in human rights activism. Their work has continued to create change and inform others in order to bring attention to the injustice that it brought upon thousands around the world. While they may not all be in the same way, it is their exceptional delivery that creates a real impact for others.
Photos credit to Read It Forward and NPR.
“Coretta Scott King-Pioneer of Civil Rights.” Academy of Achievement.
Murad, Nadia. “I Was an Isis Sex Slave. I Tell My Story Because It Is the Best Weapon I Have | Nadia Murad.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Oct. 2018.