, New DelhiZarafshan Shiraz
Making it to the top 3 with her dazzling smile, sizzling evening gown and witty answers, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was finally crowned the winner of Miss Universe 2023 during the 72nd Miss Universe pageant in San Salvador, El Salvador. It was a historic moment as it was the first time that Nicaragua won the beauty competition and the first time that the country ever made it into the Top 5 finalists, all courtesy to Sheynnis Palacios’s winning speech.
In the final Q&A round of Miss Universe 2023, all Top 3 contestants from Thailand, Australia and Nicaragua were asked, “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes who would you choose and why?” While Miss Thailand honoured Malala Yousufzai and Miss Australia chose her mother, Miss Nicaragua’s unexpected answer was, “I would choose Mary Watson Brad because she opened the gap and gave an opportunity to many women. I would want that gap to open up so that more women could work in any area they choose to work in because there is no area where women could not work in.”
Mary Wollstonecraft’s contributions to feminist philosophy and the fight for women’s rights have left a lasting impact not just on Miss Universe 2023 Sheynnis Palacios but also many others hence, immortalising her as ‘Mother of feminism’. Born on April 27, 1759 at Spitalfields in London, United Kingdom, Wollstonecraft lived a short life as she died at the age of 38, shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who later became Mary Shelley and is famous as the author of “Frankenstein.”
Despite the brevity of her life, Wollstonecraft is popular for her contributions to feminist philosophy and the fight for women’s rights as her ideas laid the foundation for modern feminism, challenged the prevailing social norms and arguments in favour of women to be afforded the same educational opportunities as men in order to enable them to contribute meaningfully to society. Her work was pioneering in its assertion of women’s intellectual abilities and the need for gender equality in education and social structures as is evident in her groundbreaking work “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” that was published in 1792.
In this influential piece, Wollstonecraft argued for the equal education of women and men, asserting that women were not naturally inferior to men but appeared so only because they lacked education. The English writer, philosopher and advocate for women’s rights rightly deserved a mention in today’s Miss Universe 2023 finale and the room broke the roof with applause as Sheynnis Palacios used the platform to credit her as an inspiration to advocate for a future forged by women with courage to push the limits of what’s possible.
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