To steal the internet’s favorite word, 2018 had moments that were … problematic for women. In many ways, the darkness was real and painful. But for every instance that prompted outrage and uncertainty, there were moments that approached the sublime. Music and movies that brought us to our feet. News that made us proud. New Beyoncé!
Sure, Melania Trump slipped into a jacket that said “I really don’t care, do u?” ahead of visiting children who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border, but the rest of us—we really did care! And in 2018 we made new and historic efforts to show it. Women dressed up as handmaids and stormed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Taylor Swift finally took a political stance and, as a result, mobilized thousands of fans to register to vote. A tidal wave of women stood up, resolve ironclad, and not only echoed “Me Too” but also said “Time’s Up.”
So with 2019 on the not-so-distant horizon, we wanted to celebrate the victories women have earned, both big and small. It wasn’t a breeze, but we made it. Below, a brief chronicle of the women who spoke truth to power this year and rocked the status quo.
Hoda and Savannah made history
In the first 48 hours of 2018, Hoda Kotb took her seat beside Savannah Guthrie as the coanchor of Today, replacing the disgraced and dismissed Matt Lauer. And with that the duo became the first female cohosts in the behemoth NBC franchise’s 66-year history.
GLAMOUR: Now it seems like fate. But at the start were you two nervous you wouldn’t find a groove?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I was afraid at first because I could not imagine having to be part of this show by myself. I said, “I don’t want to do it alone.” [When the Lauer news broke] Hoda was with me, and we literally held hands. I basically have not stopped holding her hand.
HODA KOTB: I remember that too. It was literally five minutes to 7:00 A.M., and we stood here together—Savannah and I. We kept saying, “If we can get through today, then we can get through tomorrow.”
GLAMOUR: Conventional wisdom holds that America likes to wake up with a man and a woman behind that anchor desk. What’s it like to be two women cohosting this show?
KOTB: When we announced it, people were like, “Way to go! Girl power!” I was like, “What?” I didn’t quite put it all together. But it’s resonated in a way neither of us expected.
GUTHRIE: Once we started this together, it felt like everyone came to the same conclusion at the same time, which is, Why would you change this?
Women at the Golden Globes made a statement.
For the 2018 awards show, women dressed in black to protest sexual harassment and support the then nascent Time’s Up movement. Advocates like Michelle Williams invited activists like MeToo founder Tarana Burke to attend with them. The effect? More than an aesthetic, it was a promise: We’re in this together.
Oprah got her due
Also at the Globes, Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman ever to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In an acceptance speech so good it sparked rumors of a presidential run, the icon celebrated all the women who came before her, including overlooked heroes like Recy Taylor, who never saw justice for her sexual assault. Winfrey heralded the dawn of a new era: “For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of… men, but their time is up. Their time is up!”
We started winning
After the primaries, more than 250 candidates for the House and Senate ballots were women—a record. Just a few of the barrier breakers:
Danica Roem, 34, became the first openly transgender woman ever to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates. She followed that landmark achievement with the radical act of… responsible governance. Roem has focused on transportation issues in her district and advocated for infrastructure dollars to be better allocated across the state.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, wasn’t supposed to upend the status quo, but then beat out Joe Crowley (D–N.Y.), who hadn’t faced a primary challenger since 2004. A favorite as Glamour went to press, Ocasio-Cortez is poised to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and perhaps the only politician responsible for an uptick in Google searches for both “Democratic Socialism” and red lipstick. (After she tweeted she’d worn a Stila red stain to a debate, the shade sold out.)
Also expected on Capitol Hill? Rashida Tlaib, 42. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants is expected to become the first Muslim woman to serve in the House of Representatives. (She has no Republican opponent.) In an interview with Democracy Now, she promised to elevate the voices of her Michigan constituents in Washington: “I’m bringing my bullhorn to the floor of Congress.”
Serena Williams challenged outdated ideas on maternity leave when she returned to tennis post-childbirth and saw her rank fall to number 183—and won the admiration of moms worldwide for her frank Instagram posts about the baby moments she missed when she went back to work. Senator Tammy Duckworth carried her infant daughter onto the Senate floor in April, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her child to the United Nationsin September—all proving the juggle is real but can be handled with class.
The USA Women’s Hockey Team won gold—and fair pay
The U.S. women’s hockey team’s win at the 2018 Winter Olympics was a perfect capstone on the season—and their fight for equality. Back in 2017 the women said they’d give up competing if they weren’t paid on par with men in the sport. After a 15-month dispute with USA Hockey, they skated to triumph, raising their pay from a small annual stipend to a reported $70,000 per player. “We had a vision, and the only way to see it through was to remain united,” forward Meghan Duggan told Glamour.
Our heroes were made monumental
There are more than 140 statues of men in the five boroughs of New York City. The number of monuments to historical women? A reported five. Now a new initiative promises to honor women who’ve had an impact on the metropolis. Meanwhile, in Chicago, famed African American journalist Ida B. Wells, who was born a slave and became one of the most prominent activists of her era before her death in 1931, will be immortalized in bronze and granite. Now isn’t it time to get Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?
Ireland legalized abortion
When dentist Savita Halappanavar died in 2012 from sepsis, an infection she contracted because she was unable to get an abortion as she miscarried, her name became a call to action. And a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which had outlawed abortion in Ireland since 1983, took root. In May, women rallied around the world, citizens made the pilgrimage home to vote, and when all were tallied, a resounding 66 percent said women deserve choice.
We Came Forward
“I am here today not because I want to be,” Christine Blasey Ford, Ph.D., testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty.” Just over a week later, Brett Kavanaugh became Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. People on both sides of the aisle said the episode did irreparable damage to the country. But it may yet lead to some healing: In the days after the hearings, the National Sexual Assault Hotline had a historic 338 percent increase in calls from survivors and their loved ones, many who shared their story for the very first time. Like Tarana Burke, Kellyanne Conway, and so many countless women who have said “me too,” Blasey Ford has inspired women to speak out, despite their fears, and perhaps create a new space for common ground.