Main content

8 stars who have made powerful statements for women

The 8th March marks the arrival of International Women's Day 2018: a worldwide event that, in the words of the official website, "celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women."

With that in mind, we thought we'd reflect on the trailblazing stars that are making a stand and using their voice and their platform to empower and assist. Here are eight musicians with eight powerful messages for women everywhere...

Taylor Swift dedicated her legal win to victims of sexual assault

Taylor Swift has won her sexual assault case

Taylor wants her win to "help those whose voices should be heard"

Taylor Swift won her four year court case against a radio DJ who groped her during a meet-and-greet with fans in 2013.

Taylor sued the DJ for just $1 (72p) to make a statement about sexual assault and dedicated her legal victory to people in similar situations to her who may not be able to defend themselves in the same way she had.

"I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this," she said in a statement after her trial.

"My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves."

Kesha has written songs to empower women (and herself)

Kesha's single Woman will probably never get much radio play because of its lyrics; censoring the bad language would do a disservice to the heart and soul of this empowering anthem.

I wanted an anthem for anyone else who wants to yell about being self-sufficient and strong

In an essay she wrote for Rolling Stone magazine, Kesha explained why Woman was such an important song for her fans and one that helped her return to music after her legal battle with her former label and producer.

"I have always been a feminist, but for much of my life I felt like a little girl trying to figure things out," she wrote. "In the past few years, I have felt like a woman more than ever. I just feel the strength and awesomeness and power of being female."

"We hold the key to humanity. We decide if we populate the Earth, and if so, with whom. We could just decide not to have any more kids and the human race would be over. That is power.

"I just really love being a woman and I wanted an anthem for anyone else who wants to yell about being self-sufficient and strong. (Yes, men, this song can be for you too.)"

Lady Gaga urged her fans to vote for Hillary Clinton

Many stars got involved in Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the US president in 2016 including Katy Perry and Beyoncé. Lady Gaga went the extra mile, appearing at rallies to endorse the Democratic politician because of her stance on women's rights (among other things).

Hillary kept going and she kept fighting for women's rights
Lady Gaga

"She kept going and she kept fighting for women's rights," Gaga told people attending a Clinton rally in November 2016.

"She kept fighting for the care of our children. She kept fighting for those that are in need."

"And the truth is that Hillary Clinton has done this for her entire career, and now when I say career is that she didn't just wake up one morning and decide she wanted to be president."

P!nk encouraged fans who used their brains not their bodies

P!nk has always championed individuality and not conforming to societal expectations and on International Women's Day back in 2016, shared a post that reiterated this sentiment:

We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty

"Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess… Keep on resisting the urge to cave."

More recently, though, P!nk shared a powerful message while accepting her VMA Video Vanguard Award in 2017. Here's a magical snippet...

"Recently, I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me, out of the blue, ‘Mama?’ I said, ‘Yes, baby?’ She said, ‘I’m the ugliest girl I know.’ And I said, ‘Huh?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’ And my brain went to, ‘Oh my god, you’re six. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this?

"And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, mama.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’ ‘OK! So, baby girl. We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.'"

Demi Lovato bared all to promote body confidence

Demi Lovato has spoken about body image problems and eating disorders, but in 2015 posed naked for Vanity Fair to encourage fans to love their shape.

"It shows other women that you can get to a place where you can overcome the obstacles of body image issues and you can feel comfortable and confident in your skin," she told the US magazine.

"I learned after working very hard on my spirituality and my soul and my body that you can get to a place where you love that skin that you’re in and I’m excited to share that with the world."

Lauren Jauregui educated us all about feminism

Lauren Jauregui is Fifth Harmony's most politically motivated member and in early 2017 explained how 5H represented diversity and spoke powerfully about feminism.

The issue at the end of the day that feminism fights for is equality, men and women alike
Lauren Jauregui

"We’re four women who are completely different ethnicities, completely different body types, completely different walks of life and opinions," she told Nylon magazine. "You can see that when you watch an interview, when you meet us.

"If the word 'feminism' bothers you, there’s a reason why it bothers you, and only because it involves women. The issue at the end of the day that feminism fights for is equality, men and women alike."

Jesy Nelson encouraged fans to ignore the haters

Little Mix star Jesy Nelson has faced her fair share of criticism and online trolls during her time in the spotlight.

If you feel confident, then you should be able to wear whatever you want
Jesy Nelson

But the singer has sailed above all the negativity thanks to her bandmates and spoken about finding the strength to celebrate your body, no matter what shape or size you are.

"I just think everyone has something negative to say, and I think with four girls who are so confident and we want to rock it with confidence," she told Idolator in 2016. "There are not many girls who feel that confident in the world.

"We’re sending out a good message to young girls that it doesn’t matter what size you are - if you feel confident, then you should be able to wear whatever you want."

Ariana Grande calls out sexism where she sees it

Ariana Grande famously shut down an American radio presenter when he asked her to choose between only having her phone or her make-up.

I want to fight for everyone
Ariana Grande

"Is this what you think girls have to choose between?" She responded, looking seriously perturbed by the question. "Is this men assuming this is what girls choose between?" The Power 106 FM interview was packed with sexist comments, but she rose above it all.

She talked about facing sexism when she visited 1Xtra in 2015, saying: "I feel the pressure to respond, not because I’m reacting to a personal attack, but because I want to fight for everyone," she told Yasmin Evans and Twin B.

"I feel like I need to speak out about the things that upset me, because otherwise why do I have this voice?"

Like Radio 1 on Facebook, or follow on Instagram at BBCRadio1, and on Twitter at @BBCR1.

More from Radio 1