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Badass women: 24 March 2017

Jessica Chastain, Kate Winslet, Maggie MacDonnell, 17-year-old Lucy and tech-savvy women have us cheering for them

By Lydia Chan | Published: 24 Mar 2017

Badass Women 24Mar17
Photo: jessicachastain/Instagram

Jessica Chastain
Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain might be known for her roles on-screen but off-screen, the actress refuses to let any man direct her. Last weekend, the actress tweeted her thoughts on President Donald Trump's plan to get rid of universal maternity coverage: "Some men dont want to pay for women's health, but sorry, you wouldn't be here without us. Time to show honor & respect for your mothers guys."

With the Internet being the Internet, a male user @theStevenB replied to her tweet and attempted to school her. "Female Republicans don't want to pay for women's health either," he wrote. "This is about political/religious beliefs, not gender."

It's clear this guy had no idea who he was messing with; Jessica really showed him who's boss in the following Twitter exchange. (Take note, 'dude'.)

Lucy of KittenFeed.com, formerly trumpscratch.com
Memes, cat videos and GIFs dominate cyberspace, so when 17-year-old San Francisco native Lucy decided to create the website, trumpscratch.com, she thought it wouldn't be a big deal. The website allowed users to virtually scratch at photos of Trump's head using feline paws. It attracted over a thousand visitors during its first few weeks, but when it caught the attention of the White House, a cease and desist letter from The Trump Organization was promptly sent to her. Under the advice of a lawyer, Lucy changed the website's name to kittenfeed.com, which still works.

"I was going to just let this go, but I think it's, pardon my French, f-cking outrageous that the president of the United States has his team scouring the internet for sites like mine to send out cease and desists and legal action claims if we don't shut down," Lucy said in an interview.

Image: kittenfeed.com

Kate Winslet
Academy Award-winning actress, Kate Winslet is using her fame for good as she spoke out against childhood bullying at the annual WE Day event in the UK. Kate shared her own experience of being bullied in school, saying she was called "Blubber", teased for wanting to act and even locked in the cupboard by schoolmates.

"I was even told that I might be lucky with acting, if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts," Kate said. "I felt that I wasn't enough, I wasn't good enough. I didn't look right... and all because I didn't fit into someone else's idea of 'perfect'. I didn't have the right body."

Despite all the negativity, Kate kept at it and we all know how the story ended (hello, Titanic). "The most unlikely candidate, Kate from the sandwich shop in Reading, suddenly acting in one of the biggest movies ever made!" she said.

Kate ended her inspiring speech with a message for the crowd which you can watch below.

Maggie MacDonnell
Among 10 finalists chosen from 20,000 nominees from across the globe, this Canadian teacher won the USD$1 million (approx. RM4.4 mil) Global Teacher Prize and she definitely deserved it. According to the Global Teacher Prize website, for the past six years, Maggie has taught Inuit students in the Salluit village in the Canadian Arctic, where temperatures can reach well below freezing point. The area also has a high suicide rate among young males and a high teacher turnover rate due to the harsh conditions. The Canadian Indigenous community also has significant gender issues with cases of teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and a burden on young girls to be domesticated. Despite everything working against her, Maggie made valuable improvements to the area, creating a life-skills programme especially for girls, which included securing a USD$30,000 (approx. RM132,770) in funding to prepare meals for the community and establishing a fitness center to encourage healthier lifestyles. This dedicated teacher has also acted as a temporary foster parent to some of her own students.

Photo: Global Teacher Prize

These women using technology to combat sexual assault
Whoever said only men are good in the tech field are sorely mistaken – The Guardian recently highlighted some of the women who've created tools for others to combat sexual assault. While in college, Jess Ladd was sexually assaulted and found reporting the incident to be almost as traumatic as the assault itself. Determined to create a safe, supportive environment for others, she created Project Callisto, a website that allows college students to report sexual assault cases confidentially. Elsewhere, Jacqueline Ros created Revolar, a piece of wearable tech that allows users to send out alerts to family and friends when they feel threatened. And there's also 21-year-old Sarah Zandi, who works for Capptivation, which released the ReachOut app that connects survivors to nearby support services. This is women looking out for women, in the best sense possible.


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