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Is 2018 Becoming the Year of the Woman?

“The Future is Female” has recently become a popular catchphrase. But what if the present is female, too? As the news continues to break regarding sentences for Larry Nassar and movements such as #MeToo and the Women’s March garner larger following, the fight for gender equality is starting the year off going full steam ahead.

Breaking most headlines throughout January was the intense news coverage of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, who was recently tried and sentenced to several hundred years in prison for sexual assault and child pornography.

In light of many celebrities coming out with their stories of sexual assault, seeing the results of a well-handled trial already felt like a win for women everywhere. Then you add in the fact that the trial was preceded over by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who allowed nearly 160 women and girls to come forward and make statements about Dr. Nassar, and you begin to realize how truly revolutionary this trial has been.

“Mattel ought to make toys so that little girls can look at you and say, ‘I want to be her,” said Aquilina. “Thank you so much for being here, and for your strength.”

Most recently, Nassar was sentenced in another trial with an additional 40 to 125 years in prison for sexual abuse, a trial made famous by its violent proceedings.

Around the same time in January, the Women’s March took the United States by storm. The march occurred on the same day as last year, though the general message had shifted slightly from anger towards the President to a greater celebration of women and a hope for future advancements.

These events combined bring to light an image of strong women confronting men and demanding what should always have been theirs: equality. However, it seems such an image could not last indefinitely.

When the announcements for the nominations for the Grammys were released, they were celebrated for their inclusion. And indeed, the main category, Best Album, included no white males, a first in years. However, the winners results were met with much harsher criticism.

Out of the 95 categories, women took home only 3 awards, only one of which was broadcast during the live show. Despite being the most nominated woman there, SZA took home no awards. Despite 4 out of 5 of the nominees for best pop song being women, they each lost to Ed Sheeran with his song “Perfect.”

“I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on the executive level to step up,” said Recording Academy President Neil Portnow.

This statement has been met with immense backlash, with immediate statements coming from artists such as P!nk and calls for Portnow’s resignation. On Monday, a letter crafted and signed by six women in major label companies was sent to the Recording Academy’s board of trustees, criticizing it for being “woefully out of touch with today’s music.”

Though the letter did not call for Portnow’s resignation, it did imply that his statement shows there is a deeper problem at root, a problem of gender inequality.

The past month has brought many ups and downs for women everywhere. Although it is unclear, and perhaps never will be clear, whether the fight for equality is a winning battle, it seems that 2018 could bring about larger fundamental changes. The future is female, and the future is now.

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