7 Women We Are Grateful For This Thanksgiving

7 women we are grateful for this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for this year. There are a few very special women in particular we would like to thank.

1. Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham and Mindy Kling

These two women have brought two characters to the small screen that we aren’t used to. They wear normal sizes (that’s right normal, not obese), regularly embarrass themselves and are figuring out love one train wreck at a time. And in real life, these women are even more delightful and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. They both regularly talks about the portrayals of women in television, body issues in Hollywood and what it is like to be in the power seats at such young ages. A prime example of why we are grateful for both of these ladies can be found in this amazing interview Dunham did with Kaling for RollingStone in which they call out reporters for only asking female questions about being in the minority instead of about their work.

2. Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

It’s been a tough road since Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo. She was criticized for every move she made from the get-go. From being pregnant when taking the job, to her short maternity leave to her banning of a work-from-home-policy for Yahoo employees, to name a few. No boss is going to be totally beloved but she seemed to get the brunt of backlash from the press. But we would like to commend her for staying strong and changing the company’s parental-leave policy, extending the time that new parents can take off. Other benefits for new parents include $500 for household expenses, such as laundry, house-cleaning, food or childcare, as well as Yahoo!-branded baby gear, a spokeswoman says (pet owners at Yahoo! also get some freebies). According to The Wall Street Journal, the firm also offers an eight-week unpaid sabbatical for every five years of tenure with the company.This showed a major effort on Marissa’s part. The woman who said there is really no such thing as burn out and that there are 130 hours of work time in a week if you shower strategically has realized that not everyone is the same. The policy not only shows that she is being more supportive of women, but it includes benefits for men as well. This is a big move and shows that she wants Yahoo! to be a more modern company that wants men to be viewed as primary parents as well.

It was also reported recently that she takes new product managers at Yahoo on international trips to help them design better and also bond with eachother. Not bad Marissa. Not bad!

3. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga for Versace

Besides just being a fabulous entertainer (she deserves a lot of applause, applause), Lady Gaga is also not afraid to call out a magazine for photoshopping (even though that may risk her getting another cover for them.) She even said the magazine’s picture was too photoshopped when she was receiving an award from that magazine (Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards)! “I felt my skin looked too perfect,” she said, according to Huffington Post. “I felt my hair looked too soft. … I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning. What I want to see is the change on your covers,” she said. Way to call it out.

4.  Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

All of the women and men who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary were heroes that tragic day but we want to commend Roig-DeBellis. When she heard the shooter she took her fifteen young students into a closet and told them everything would be okay. She told Glamour the children “knew something bad was happening. But I had to keep them calm. If one of them started to cry, we all would have cried.” She saved 15 lives that day and gave hope to the rest of us in the midst of this awful event. “In the middle of complete chaos, panic, darkness and real danger [she] made them feel safe and loved,” Arianna Huffington said when she presented Roig-DeBellis with the Glamour Woman of the Year Award. In addition to this heroic act, she started a charity called Classes 4 Classes, a non-profit meant to connect children and foster living with love, kindness, empathy, and compassion. She also ran the marathon for the 27 children and adults slain that day. This woman is the true definition of a hero.

5. The women who make us laugh

Tina Fey and Any Poehler

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig, Meghan McCarthy, Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer have kept us laughing all year. From Tina and Amy proving they were the best awards show hosts EVER to Meghan McCarthy dominating the summer with The Heat. Amy Schumer turned Comedy Central upside down with her sketch/live comedy/interview show. Her video parody of how women can’t take compliments went viral and rang true for, well, every woman ever. Sarah Silverman summed it up best when she said, “Women run comedy. I mean, it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Chelsea Handler. Women run comedy. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. Women have had to be undeniable in order to come to light, and they have, so there’s a real force now. It’s an undeniable force. Is anyone better at hosting awards shows than Amy and Tina? I mean, it’s nothing. All that’s left is that question that is always, always, always asked. I’m glad you asked, because then I get to say that.”

6. Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

She did so much for women this year with her book Lean In and LeanIn.org. But most importantly she got us talking about the state of women in the workplace. There is still a lot to be done and she is the one to lead the pack.

7. The stars of the film Girl Rising

Girl Rising, a documentary directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, tells the stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine countries who fight against cultural traditions, expectations and barriers for their education and a voice. We watched Malala Yousafzai fight for her life after speaking out against the Taliban’s practice of banning girls from school and we were inspired. Written by nine celebrated writers and narrated by nine renowned actresses including Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, Girl Rising showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education as forces strong enough to change the world. Watch it now.

Meredith Lepore

Meredith is the former editor in chief of the women's career site, The Grindstone. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire @ Work, The Jane Dough, DailyWorth, SheKnows.com, Business Insider and Learnvest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys reading, jogging, SoulCycle and playing with her small dog, Otis.