An ode to revolutionary women

Every year, March brings about International Women’s Day, a time to reflect and celebrate the accomplishments of women in the fight against gender inequality. A woman is vice-president of the United States for the first time in history, Scotland has made sanitary products free and eight per cent of Fortune 500 company CEOs are women. These achievements are promising, however, there is still a long way to go.

Preconceived ideologies about women have been challenged since the time of the 1950s stereotypical housewife. Women of today are born activists. They can accomplish any career path and can choose whether they want to marry or bring a child into the world.

The freedom of choice is what makes the biggest difference to women of today compared to those of the past. It is what makes a woman revolutionary; to be true to themselves, do as they desire and be who they aspire to be.

Fei Monique Yang

Fei Monique Yang is an example of a revolutionary woman.

For Air France, seven per cent of pilots are women and although it is a small statistic, it is the best it has been.

"The gap is closing for women in terms of getting into male-dominated employment sectors such as piloting," she says.

Yang is a hard-working trainee pilot, harbouring a creative gift of jewellery making for her brand, Klinkan Paris, and serving smiles and stellar customer service in her job as a flight attendant for Air France.

She speaks of the current attitudes of her male colleagues towards women in her work environment.

"Things are changing. Men find women’s presence to be particularly nurturing. Also, men love the fact that women have different perspectives and views of seeing the world. It is almost refreshing for them," she says.

Nevertheless, Yang explains that patriarchal concepts still need to be changed. In her experience, she finds that the workplace is still predominantly run by males, with very few women undertaking pilot training.

She says: "There are still prejudices and limited beliefs that only men can be pilots because of how technical the job is."

Yang recounts an experience that a female friend had in which her position as the head pilot was undermined by a male employee from the airport greeting team after they landed from a flight.

"He addressed the male co-pilot as if he was the one in charge," Yang says. "They all joked about this simple mistake, but when you take a step back, it shows how they still have it in their minds that a pilot can only be male and possibly that a woman could never oversee an aeroplane."

Yang explains that her inner struggles were not rooted in her ethnicity, but more in the fact that she is a woman.

"Women of immigrant descent like me do not doubt themselves because of our ethnicity. I did not think that because I am Chinese I could not train, but I thought because I am a woman I am limited in my training," she says.

On being perceived as a revolutionary woman, Yang smiled and mentioned that she would not think herself to be so. A self-made entrepreneur of a jewellery brand, a pilot in training who believes in the future of female pilots, a flight attendant - Yang is the perfect example of a revolutionary woman in her choice of being whoever she wants to be. She embraces her calling until the end.


What makes a revolutionary woman?

Photography: Universe Never Lies

Elizabeth Poole, 77: "I am revolutionary, and I am just waiting for the next thing to happen like you. I did a lot of revolutionary things, like sailing the Atlantic through a hurricane and acting in B-movies."

Jenna Rzouki, 18: "Standing up for yourself, standing up for what you believe and leave your imprint on the world."

Maria Najin, 18: "Do what you feel called to do in life and just be yourself."

Kelly Graham, 45: "I am a volunteer for Sincere Response, a charity against knife and gang crimes. So, to be a revolutionary woman, I believe you must be an activist. We should be quite happy to help people from any walk of life, any race, and any background.“

Nicola French, 48: "I had a life-changing accident which left me disabled with a brain injury. I can’t go out without help, but I am a very strong woman. I came back from the dead and beat the odds. I never thought I would walk or talk again, but I did a two-mile walk for Children in Need."

Sofia Kharchaf, 21: "Be yourself. It does not matter if the world around you does not understand you, just be you."

Lauren White, 27: "Be independent. Have your own money and be yourself."

Shenika Rock, 30: "Own your sh*t. Don’t be like others and try to also live in the moment. Finally, stay out of your own misery."

This is from the Kindred. Identity issue, out now. Purchase the copy through the link here.