Badass women: 13 April 2017

Saffiyah Khan, Shonda Rhimes, Malala Yousafzai, Chrissy Teigen and a group of women marathoners show us who run the world

By Lydia Chan | Published: 13 Apr 2017

Badass Women 13Apr17
Photo: jessphillips/Twitter

Saffiyah Khan
Saffiyah Khan has garnered worldwide attention after a picture of her standing up to an English Defence League (EDL) protester in Birmingham, UK went viral. The man had been bullying Saira Zafar, a hijab-wearing woman. The EDL is a far-right group that defines itself as a "human rights organisation that's against global Islamification." The group, which many are calling Islamophobic, was hosting a demonstration while a counter-protest was held close by in condemnation of the EDL.

Saira, who was part of the counter-protest, told The Guardian that she was cornered by EDL members who yelled racist taunts like, "This is a Christian country, not your country" and "Go back to where you came from."

Enter Saffiyah. She noticed that surrounding police were not doing anything, so she stepped in to defend Saira. "I wasn't going to let someone who was speaking the truth and being replied to aggressively be put in that position," Saffiyah said. A photographer managed to snap a photo of Saffiyah confronting EDL group leader, Ian Crossland and her actions have been widely praised.

The Guardian spoke to Saffiyah and Saira about the importance of solidarity within the community. Watch the full video below.

Video: Guardian Wires

Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes is already a boss in her own right. Her political series Scandal, starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, about a strong, problem-solving African-American woman has won audiences everywhere. However, during an interview in conjunction with the show's 100th episode, it was revealed that ABC network (which airs the show) wanted to cut out a scene in season 5 where Olivia gets an abortion – Shonda stood her ground, in support of pro-choice efforts.

"I said, 'Go ahead, alter the scene. We'll just have a lot of articles about how you altered the scene'," she said. "We had done an abortion on a military woman who had been raped earlier on, and we were doing nothing different than we did in that – they just didn't like that it was happening to Olivia."

Photo: shondarhimes/Instagram

Malala Yousafzai
In 2014, Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at just 17. Now, she's making history once more as the youngest person ever to be made a United Nations Messenger of Peace, joining the ranks of Jane Goodall and Leonardo DiCaprio. According to the UN website, this title is bestowed to "distinguished individuals" who have helped draw "worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations."

"(Bringing change) starts with us and it should start now," she said during her acceptance ceremony. "If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now (and) not wait for anyone else."

The teenager is also the youngest person ever to address the Canadian parliament and is currently juggling advocacy work and her A-levels studies – all this at the age of 19. #goals

Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen seems to be going full-steam as a voice for women everywhere. She's spoken out about having post-partum depression and this week, she sat down with Refinery29 and defended women's right to choose whether or not to have kids.

"I'm sure that when you announce that fact [of choosing not to have any children] to somebody, they're very quick to be like, 'Gasp! Why don't you want kids?' And I've never been that way with people because I don't think any of us should assume all women's goals are to have kids," she said. "It's a choice!"

Chrissy also spoke about how there's nothing wrong with having people to help out with the baby (her mum lives with them) and how excited she gets about picking Luna's nose. Chrissy, can we be best friends now, please?

Photo: chrissyteigen/Instagram

These women TehRun marathon runners
When this group of female runners were told at the last minute that they were being banned from the half and full marathon in Tehran, they decided to come up with their own race instead.

The background story: according to The Independent, around 160 females had signed up to compete in TehRUN, a 42-kilometre race around the Iranian capital. Three weeks prior to the marathon, organisers told female runners that they could not take part due to Iranian's conservative law of men and women not being allowed to do sports together. Later on, they said women were allowed, but only for the 10km run, not the half or full marathon lengths.

Instead of giving up or complying, a group of Iranian and international female participants bent the rules and came up with their own marathon track. The women ran 32km in a nearby park before then joining the official 10km race for women, thereby making the full 42km.

"As a Middle Eastern woman, to see women being empowered in this way and see women run in the streets for the first time means a lot to me, of course. It lets [women] know there are no limits and they can do anything they want," said Egyptian runner and Nike coach, Manal Adel Rostom, who participated in the run.


I ran Iran 🇮🇷 only 10K though - No marathon allowed for women however - ✨ ✨ Today Iran made history ✔️ ✨ Egypt 🇪🇬 represents - I was the only Arab and only Egyptian taking part today in Tehran's *first ever*International marathon where women were allowed to participate for the first time 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 ✨ I spent 3 hours speaking to media this morning with a group of women from Europe about why we weren't allowed to start the 42Km race with the men until I broke down and cried on Iranian National Televison 😂🙈 #دايما_دراما ✨ Only to be told that we have to wait for the men to finish their marathon, then come back at 4 pm for the Women's only 10K. ✨ ✨ ✨ Despite all this chaos, great route and great people, great race. This is just the beginning - Next year I *know* I will come again for the full marathon. ✨ So proud and glad I witnessed Iran making history #Equality ✨ ✨ ✨ What will they say about you? Maybe they'll say you're brave enough to risk it all and make history 💪🏻 ✨ In other news, nike pro #hijab makes a debut in an international marathon ✨ #JustDoIt #IranIran #Tehran #tehrun2017 #womenPowerment #NikeWomen #NRC #WeRunIran #rememberingJB #LaraNageeba

A post shared by Manal A Rostom (@manirostom) on

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