GENaustin’s Top 10 Favorite Things (and People, and Events) of 2011

In No Particular Order, GENaustin’s (Possibly Biased, Definitely Subjective) Top 10 Picks of 2011.

Hilary Clinton: The former first lady, former Senator, and current secretary of state is a model of lifelong service to country. According to Newsweek, two years into her tenure as America’s 67th secretary of state, she has out-traveled every one of her predecessors, with 465,000 air miles and 79 countries already behind her. One of the central goals of her tenure as Secretary of State has been the empowerment and welfare of women across the world. “I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.”

Miss Representation – This important film explores how the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. Miss Representation

21, Adele- One of the most popular (and possibly overplayed) albums of the year was Adele’s 21. We’re open to disagreement on this choice, but for our money it’s been good to see an artist prove that being a size zero and gyrating around covered in feathers is not necessary for success in the music industry. Plus we just like singing it in the car, incredibly off-tune. (Honorable mentions: San Antonio band Girl in a Coma & Ume, fronted by former GENaustin-er Lauren Larson )


Ellen Sir-Leaf Johnson: The current President of Liberia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Today, across the globe, women, and also men, from all walks of life are finding the courage to say, loudly and firmly, in a thousand languages, “No more.” They reject mindless violence, and defend the fundamental values of democracy, of open society, of freedom, and of peace. So I urge my sisters, and my brothers, not to be afraid. Be not afraid to denounce injustice, though you may be outnumbered. Be not afraid to seek peace, even if your voice may be small. Be not afraid to demand peace. If I might thus speak to girls and women everywhere, I would issue them this simple invitation: My sisters, my daughters, my friends, find your voices! – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Melissa McCarthy was this year’s breakout star in Bridesmaids, embodying a character so self-assured that despite the character’s many embarrassing actions, she ends up being the most (hilariously) dignified character in the film. In an industry where good roles for women are limited and good roles for plus-sized women are almost non-existent, Mellissa McCarthy’s amazing performance will hopefully open doors for other talented women in Hollywood. (Honorable Entertainment Mentions: Tina Fey for her book Bossypants & Amy Poehler for her roles in Parks and Recreation & Smart Girls at the Party)


 The We Are Girls Conference We might be a little biased here, but this year’s We Are Girls Conference at Austin High was our most successful event ever, with over 1200 girls, parents, and educators convening for one amazing day.

Aung San Suu Kyi: Released this year after seven years of house arrest (part of a total of 15 years she’s spent in house arrest under Burma’s military dictatorship), the opposition leader & pro-democracy activist bravely continues to fight for the rights of Burmese citizens.

US Women’s National Soccer Team- This July, the US Women’s National Soccer team made it to the Women’s World Cup Finals. The US team is the only team to make it to the finals every year since the beginning of the Women’s World Cup. Though they eventually lost to Japan in the penalty shoot-out, the team’s determination & athleticism was awe-inspiring.

The Hunger Games The Hunger Games is the next big movie franchise to come from young adult novels, but unlike a certain sullen teen with a fondness for the sparkly undead, Katniss Everdeen isn’t waiting around for anyone to rescue her. Technically the movie doesn’t come out until 2012, but let’s just say this is our favorite movie trailer of the 2011? Hunger Games Trailer

Joceyln Lam- We’ve included some very powerful world leaders on this list- but changing the world doesn’t require being an elected official. This year, 5th grader Jocelyn Lam proved anyone can make a difference, donating her life savings ($300) to try to help forestall budget cuts which were forcing the layoffs of teachers in her school district. Her selflessness is an example to girls (and women) everywhere.

And finally, our list would not be complete without:

Happy Holiday’s from GENaustin, everyone!

Vanessa Wright