There's no arguing that 2012 was a year filled with passion. There was much to get fired up about this year -- for better or worse. Thankfully, at least for women, fighting the good fight -- whether at the polls or the Olympic Games -- truly ended up paying off. And ensuring that we're all better off.
Here, 12 of the biggest wins for women in 2012 ...
- Susan G. Komen Foundation pledged to continue to fund Planned Parenthood. Back in February, the organization apologized for saying they had decided to defund Planned Parenthood and reversed their decision. In turn, many women could continue to rely on Planned Parenthood for important preventative health services, including breast cancer screenings.
- Sandra Fluke went head-to-head with Rush Limbaugh. And stood up for any woman who has ever been outrageously slut-shamed for speaking her mind.
- The Affordable Care Act made co-pays for birth control a thing of the past. Beginning August 1, private insurance companies had to start providing contraception without co-pay! The rule applies to a bevy of other preventative women's health services, including well-woman visits, mammograms, gestational diabetes screening, HPV DNA testing for women 30+, STI screening (including HIV), breastfeeding support/supplies/counseling, and domestic violence counseling. Yippee!
- We rocked the Olympics. Not only were there more female athletes at the London Games than at any other in history, but we dominated the U.S. team in every way. More women than men made the U.S. team and won far more gold medals than men. By the time the US hit its grand total of 46 gold medals at the Games (more than any other nation), women had won 29 of them. Awesome.
- 10-11-12. This day marked the world's first United Nations International Day of the Girl.
- The speech every woman should hear. Prime Minister Gillard of Australia's speech on the floor of the Australian House of Representatives called out misogyny in politics and, in turn, reverberated 'round the world.
- Women were elected in record numbers to Congress. The new Congress will have the largest number of incoming female House members since 1992, and a record 28 women of color altogether, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers.
- Females elected to the Senate set a new record. Even with the retirements of Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), women gained ground in the U.S. Senate, expanding their ranks from 17 members to 20, which is a new record!
- Male candidates who campaigned on controversial, extreme remarks about rape and abortion LOST big. In issouri, Claire McCaskill defeated challenger Representative Todd Akin, Mr. Legitimate Rape himself, while, in Indiana, Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancies from rape are something “God intended.”
- Tammy Baldwin (D-Indiana) won a Senate seat. In defeating the legendary Tommy Thompson, Baldwin -- the first openly gay woman elected to Senate -- enjoyed a historic victory.
- The first female combat veterans were elected to Congress. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) will both head to Congress in 2013 and make history for women.
- President Obama won re-election. The president's re-election ensured women will have four more years of a commander-in-chief who believes we are "not an interest group," that we are "mothers and daughters, and sisters and wives ... half of this country," and perfectly capable of making our own choices about our health.
What do you think was the biggest win for women this year?
Image via ElizabethforMA/Flickr