Pop Culture

Celebrate International Women's Day With 8 Ladies Who Are Changing The World

From engineering to photography to professional wrestling, these women are killing it across the board.

Happy International Women's Day! Today is all about celebrating the achievements of women all over the world. So if you're looking for a new #WCW, look no further than the outstanding women of Oxygen's In Progress 52 series, which features one new woman every week throughout 2016. 

They're activists. They're engineers. They're totally inspiring. No matter what your goals are, these eight women are sure to inspire you to reach further, go harder, and above all else, never doubt your ability to make a difference in the world.

1. Evita Robinson

Evita Turquoise Robinson is changing the face of travel. As a young black female traversing the world, she often found herself feeling isolated from the travel community; now, she's spearheading the black travel movement and bringing together tens of thousands of like-minded wanderers through the groundbreaking online community she created, the Nomadness Travel Tribe. How's that for inspirational? Inspire your wanderlust with Evita's travel web series, The NOMADNESS Project, and remember that being different never has to be a bad thing.

2. Leiomy Maldonado

As a transgender teen, Leiomy Maldonado found inspiration and solace in the underground world of voguing. It was her love of dance that eventually led her to success when, in 2009, Leiomy and her team of voguers, called Vogue Evolution, tore up the stage on America's Best Dance Crew.

Nowadays, if you know voguing, then you should know the name Leiomy Maldonado. Her signature hair flip, called "The Leiomy Lolly," has been imitated by the likes of Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and even Beyonce. #Goals, much?

3. Lanakila MacNaughton

When asked to imagine motorcycle riders, most people would probably picture the cast of Sons of Anarchy: lots of leather, lots of facial hair, and nothing but men. Photographer Lanakila MacNaughton is changing that, though, by using her photos to challenge the hyper-masculine motorcycle world. Her traveling photography project, called the Women's Moto Exhibit, tells the story of what she calls the "new wave of modern female motorcyclists." Lanakila is even branching out to hosting events and creating a clothing line for women riders.

4. Mia Yim

Think professional wrestling is just for guys? Think again. Women have always been kicking butt inside the ring, now more than ever. Mia Yim - also known as Jade - is one athlete who's changing the game. She may only be 26, but she's made quite a name for herself already, both on television (TNA, specifically) and on the independent circuit as well. Mia has wrestled for numerous underground leagues, including Ring of Honor (ROH) and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), and is living proof that if you really want to accomplish something, your gender should never stand in your way.

"I think it's a true revolution now in women's wrestling. It's not women's wrestling anymore. It's just wrestling," Mia said.

5. Yana Gilbuena

World traveler, foodie, and champion of Filipino food? That's Yana Gilbuena in a nutshell. The self-taught chef was on a mission to bring Filipino food to the masses, and started hosting pop-up dinners - spontaneous culinary events - in NYC as a way to share her culture's food with others, especially other Filipinos looking to reconnect with their heritage.

Once her dinners started to gain serious popularity, Yana created the Salo Project to take her show on the road. Over the course of 52 weeks, Yana held Filipino-themed pop-up dinners in all 50 states, and even did the same thing in Canada afterwards. Now, she's hoping to take her love of Filipino food all over the world and host dinners in Europe, Asia, and Africa next.

6. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

If you've ever experienced the sickening sensation of being catcalled, then you know how powerless it can make you feel. One woman, Tatyana Fazlalizadehtook a stand, and she did so through her art.

Her public art series - Stop Telling Women To Smile - pairs hand drawn portraits of women with the words they wish they could say to street harassers. "My outfit is not an invitation" reads one. "Women are not outside for your entertainment," reads another.

Tatyana used her talent to help give women everywhere a voice, and she's doing it again with her newest portrait series, Women Are Not Seeking Your Validation. Currently on display at the Corridor gallery in Brooklyn, Tatyana's work once again combines the images of women with their unique voices to make sure their stories are told.

7 & 8. Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen

Engineers both, Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen are inspiring the next generation of female inventors. They're the dream team behind Roominate, a line of "building sets" created to introduce young girls to early engineering concepts like spatial skills and problem-solving. Young builders can craft anything from dollhouses to rocket ships, and it's through play that Alice and Bettina are contributing to bridging the gender gap in STEM fields, once and for all.

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