She Persisted—Intro by Senator Elizabeth Warren

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at a protest in front of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters in November 2017. Getty Images

This introduction, along with other stories celebrating the leaders in the fight for feminism, is featured in Newsweek Special Edition: She Persisted.

For at least two generations, parents and teachers have told little girls and little boys the same thing: You can be anything! Astronauts. Welders. Doctors. Truck drivers.

But an unspoken message was directed to the girls: You will be locked out of millions of rooms where important political and economic decisions are made. You will have to fight harder to earn less. And you will have to smile while you eat a lot of dirt along the way, from pats on the fanny and jokes about your body to assault. Even basic protections that have helped equalize women's opportunities for over 40 years, like access to birth control and abortion, might or might not be around any longer when you need them.

2017 was the year the message shifted. In January, the Women's March, the largest rally in history, roared across this country and around the world, and millions of women jumped feet-first into politics. In February, when Mitch McConnell had me thrown off the floor of the United States Senate for reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, millions of women took up "Nevertheless, She Persisted" as their rallying cry. And throughout the summer and fall as one woman after another came forward to expose the grotesque sexual behavior of powerful men, the power hierarchy in workplaces across America began to tremble.

Today's message to our daughters is simple: when we raise our voices and fight for what we believe in, we can make change. We know because we are doing it.

—Senator Elizabeth Warren

This introduction was excerpted from Newsweek Special Edition: She Persisted. For more on some of the most courageous women in history and their fight for equality pick up a copy today.

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