April Wins: 5 ways women killed it at work in april
Every month, The New Feminist is shining the spotlight on womxn breaking the molds, patriarchy, and glass ceiling, both at the workplace and their community across the globe. Here are record-breaking leaders who made a landmark difference at work last month.
The women’s Istanbul Half Marathon 2021, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, was the site for a historic achievement on 4 April. With a remarkable time of 1hr 4:02, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich smashed the record for the world half marathon. The 26-year-old athlete shaved almost thirty seconds off the previous record of 1hr 4:31, clocked by Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh in February 2020 in the UAE.
The new world champion covered the first 10km in 30:21. Chepngetich had also won this race in 2017 and 2019. Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw (1hr 4:40) and Kenyan Hellen Obiri (1hr 4:51) rounded up the top three spots in the long-distance race. The event marked the first occasion where three women finished under sixty-five minutes in one half marathon.
On 10 April, Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to top the Grand National on Minella Times, an Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse. The 31-year-old’s Irish jockey’s victory came after 44 years since Charlotte Brew became the first woman to tackle the National.
Katie Walsh once came close with third place in 2012. “She works so hard and is an inspiration for women and for men,” Walsh said of Blackmore to the BBC. The daughter of a school teacher and dairy farmer, Blackmore rode ponies as a young kid near her residence in County Tipperary.
Blackmore’s trainer Henry de Bromhead also scored a hattrick celebration, becoming the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, and Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao became the first woman of colour to win the best director Oscar and the second woman ever to bag the highly sought-after award on 25 April. Her film ‘Nomadland’ explored the plot of marginalized Americans roaming the west. The film also took home the best picture, and its lead, Frances McDormand, was recognized as the best actress.
However, while the world came together to celebrate Zhao’s landmark achievement, her win was met with nationalist backlash and silence by the Chinese media. Cinemas in China unexpectedly scrapped Nomadland’s scheduled release, and the 93rd Academy Awards was also inaccessible on local television or streaming channels. The filmmaker is also renowned in China for being the stepdaughter of actress Song Dandan.
On 27 April, French football manager and former player Sonia Bompastor was appointed as the first female coach for the French women’s giant Lyon, replacing Jean-Luc Vasseur following the defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-finals. Bompaster is a former global defender who has secured 156 caps for France. She played for Lyon from 2006-2009.
In a historic first, the 40-year-old will be the first woman to coach the team that has reigned European women’s club football in recent years. Lyon has won the past 14 French league titles and the last five Champions League titles.
In recognition of her fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, local activist Loujain al-Hathloul won the eighth Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize on 19 April. The sixty-thousand-euro European rights prize is awarded annually for civil society action in defence of human rights by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). al-Hathloul spent a thousand and one days in prison due to her stand and was only released in February 2020, though she is still subject to house arrest and other restrictions in her homeland.
“[She] is one of the leaders of the Saudi feminist movement, having campaigned to end the male guardianship system, as well as the Saudi ban on women driving, and for greater protection for women facing abuse in the Kingdom,” PACE said in a statement.
Currently, the 31-year-old remains on probation and is barred from leaving Saudi as part of a five-year sentence. She had lost a court appeal against the travel ban and sentence, handed to her on charges of terrorism-related crimes in December 2020.