Women of the week: Taylor Swift's call to action spikes voter registration

Taylor Cromwell
·MAKERS

There was a lot of good news for women around the globe this week, from #MeToo making an impact on India to Day of the Girl putting the spotlight on powerful young women around the country and the world. Here in the U.S., where the Kanye-Trump sideshow may have stolen the spotlight for a minute, let’s make sure we keep the focus on woman power — and particularly on how these five women are making an impact in their communities, our country, and all corners of the world.

Nadia Murad

This week, Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad, one of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winners, announced that she is donating her entire $500,000 award to fellow survivors of sexual violence.

On Oct. 5, Murad joined the ranks of Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa, and many more as she became the 17th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first Iraqi in its 117-year history. When she accepted the prize, Murad pledged to donate “100 percent of the money” to her organization, Nadia’s Initiative, which helps and advocates for women and minorities in Iraq.

“I think of my mother, who was murdered by [ISIS], the children with whom I grew up, and what we must do to honor them,” she wrote in a statement. “Persecution of minorities must end.”

Taylor Swift

On Sunday, Taylor Swift made headlines when she broke her political silence and endorsed Democratic candidates in Tennessee. In a lengthy Instagram post, Swift pleaded with her 112 million followers to raise their collective voice and get involved in the political process. “So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count,” she wrote.

Tennessee, which had a voter registration deadline on Tuesday, saw a spike of nearly 5,000 registrations — nearly doubling the previous single-day record, according to CNBC. Nationally, more than 100,000 Americans registered to vote between Swift’s Sunday post and Tuesday, when 14 states had registration deadlines.

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:33pm PDT

Lynzy Lab Stewart

Texas singer-songwriter Lynzy Lab Stewart takes the cake for the best response to President Trump’s comment that it’s a very “scary time for young men in America” after Christine Blasey Ford brought forth sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

In a video that’s now gone viral, with more than 6 million views on Twitter, Stewart sings a parody about what it’s like to be woman in 2018. “I can’t walk to my car late at night while on the phone. I can’t open up my windows when I’m home alone. I can’t go to a bar without a chaperone, and I can’t wear a miniskirt if it’s the only one I own,” Stewart croons sweetly while strumming her ukulele.

Watch for yourself:

Nevaeh Spillman

As the only female player on her middle school’s football team in North Kansas City, Mo., Nevaeh Spillman has never been intimidated. But this fall, the 13-year-old, who has played the sport since the age of 4, will prove she’s got real grit on the gridiron: She’s taking the field as the team’s starting quarterback, scoring a figurative touchdown for other girls who hope to take the field someday too.

“Most girls don’t get recognized for playing this kind of sport, so when you hear people talking about you, it makes you feel good,” Spillman told Fox 4 KC.

Michelle Obama

This week, Michelle Obama celebrated Day of the Girl in a big way. The activist and former first lady launched “Global Girls Alliance” to support nearly 1,500 girls’ education groups around the world.

“When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country,” she said in an interview with the Today show.

In reaction to the current conversation about sexual assault, Obama had a simple message for men who feel uneasy: “It’s up to women out there to say, ‘Sorry you feel uncomfortable, but I’m paving the way for the next generation.'”

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