Fifteen iconic female covers that celebrate female empowerment
A review of the year’s most inspiring magazine covers to kickstart the #EmbraceEquity conversation this International Women’s Day
With inclusion and belonging a key theme this International Women’s Day, digital subscription service Readly has rounded up a list of the most inspirational women to have fronted magazine covers over the past year.
2022 was another eventful year for female change-makers as the impact of global events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, protests in Iran, deepening inflation and climate change continue to impact the wellbeing of women all over the world. Amid deeply challenging conditions, female leaders have persevered with their mission to accelerate women’s equality and reshape society into a more inclusive place.
The stories and images of these women across the World’s most iconic magazines have acted as a catalyst for thousands of conversations as well as inform, educate and inspire millions more women. With 7000 titles available on its digital platform, Readly pays tribute to the power of thought-provoking magazine covers that trigger an entire social movement. This International Women’s Day, the #EmbraceEquity campaign is taken further by the countless brave, resilient and brilliant women who are working tirelessly to better their community.
Here are the top covers from across the World:
Observer The New Review November 2022 Patti Smith
The 76 year-old rocker’s counter-cultural credentials and dynamic activism has added to her iconic status as a woman of influence. From AIDS to climate change and anti-war protests (most recently the war in Ukraine), Patti is never short of a just cause to make her voice heard.
The Guardian Weekly, 14 October 2022 - Women's protests in Iran
The young women of Iran bravely take the lead in challenging Tehran's morally bankrupt regime. These courageous women are Iran’s future who no longer can be silenced or isolated from the World. This women’s revolt comes amid scrutiny of the abuse of women in Muslim countries and how Iranian women are empowered to take charge for change.
Marie Claire May 2022 Miranda Tapsell
In her very first photoshoot as a mother featuring her mother and her baby daughter, Aboriginal actor Miranda Tapsell speaks about Black matriarchy, the challenges of raising an Indigenous child and her hopes for her daughter’s future. As Australia gets ready to vote on the Voice referendum to formally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Nations of Australia, stories like Miranda’s strengthen the push to further Indigenous rights and achieve equality.
Vogue February 2023 Love Out Loud - The Faces and Forces of Pride
Vogue’s cover featuring five of eighteen influential LGBTQIA+ personalities in the region celebrates the first ever WorldPride to be held in the southern hemisphere. The messages of pride, self-expression and the power of visibility is made possible by a foundation of inclusivity, equality and acceptance.
New York June 2022 Senator Dianne Feinstein
An agitator for gun control, civil rights and abortion access, Dianne Feinstein has long been a leading light for equality. Currently the oldest sitting senator in the US, Feinstein remains a passionate advocate despite her 52 years of service.
The Hollywood Reporter January 2022 Lena Dunham
The divisive writer, director, actress and producer best known for her iconic TV series Girls reflects on her creative process and how a mostly female backlash affected her. Never one to shy from controversy, Dunham is unapologetically authentic in the face of media scrutiny.
Donna Moderna, July 2022
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, famous author of TEDx publication “We Should All Be Feminists”, is another powerful voice for women writing under her pen name Amanda N. Adichie. The acclaimed author of various nonfiction works, novels and short stories explores themes of politics, culture, race and gender in elegant and captivating prose. In the cover story of Donna Moderna, she urges women not to be ashamed and to get rid of that constant sense of inadequacy instilled by society.
Vanity Fair February 2023 Chiara Ferragni
Blogger, designer, model and businesswoman Chiara Ferragni cuts a controversial figure in Italy for her outspokenness on issues such as violence against women, racism and facism. Dubbed the world’s most popular fashion blogger, LGBT+ supporter and abortion rights activist Chiara is not afraid to urge her 27 million followers to speak out against discrimination wherever they see it.
Courage April 2022 Luisa Neubauer
Often referred to as Germany's answer to Greta Thunberg, climate activist Luisa Neubauer is a constant agitator for climate action. A key organiser of the school strike for climate movement in Germany, Luisa has appeared at the UN Climate Change Conference, met myriad heads of state and government, organised global climate strikes and spoken at various global events.
Emotion May 2022 Nilam Farooq
Award winning German actress Nilam Farooq represents one of the many new faces of modern Germany. The daughter of a Pakistani father and Polish mother, Nilam has previously spoken out about equality and women’s rights on International Women’s Day.
Femina September 2022 Malena Ernman
Swedish opera singer Sara Magdalena Ernman is famous for her stellar music career spanning decades but these days she’s better known as climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mother. The 52 year-old is herself politically active, a supporter of the Paris Agreement, a co-author of Scener ur hjärtat (Scenes from the Heart), a book about her family, the environment and sustainability.
ELLE, March 2022, Willow Smith
Actor and singer Willow Smith represents the next generation of young women leading the female empowerment movement through her involvement with Red Table Talk. She regularly opens up the conversation about prejudice and societal expectations as an artist and activist in her own right.
Kulturnytt, February 2023, Laleh
Former refugee Laleh Pourkarim has forged a formidable music career despite her nomadic childhood having fled Iran for Azerbaijan then moved to Minsk and East Berlin before settling in Sweden. The prodigiously talented star is a devoted environmental and human rights activist who draws on her background as a political refugee to spread awareness.
Vogue NL November 2022 Precious Lee
Model Precious Lee is shaking up the fashion world. She breaks with the unwritten rules and stands behind the renewal of beauty and power of diversity and inclusiveness. In 2021 she was the first plus-sized African American woman to walk the Versace spring/summer show and the other fashion brands could no longer ignore what she caused. She fights to expand the perception of beauty beyond marginalised opinions and boundaries.
Helden November 2022 Irene Schouten
Thirty-year-old Dutch Irene Schouten is a talented long track, marathon and inline skater. At the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, she won four medals, three gold and one bronze. In doing so, she set two world records. This makes her one of the most successful athletes in the winter games in one tournament. In addition, she won the world all-around title at the World Championships in Hamar, Norway.
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