We started the year inspired by the clarion cry of the suffragist Millicent Fawcett – ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere, and its voice cannot be denied’ – and as the ensuing months have proved, this message remains as relevant now as it was a century ago, when the long campaign for women’s right to vote achieved its first, partial success. In recent weeks, what has become known as the Me Too movement has reached its first anniversary – and as I write this, I am struck by how painfully slow the changes have been when it comes to gender equality, and how brutal the arguments continue to be about what does, and does not, constitute the male abuse of power. And yet I remain hopeful, and constantly encouraged by the brilliant team that I work with at Harper’s Bazaar (which is almost entirely female, but includes two exceptional men) and by my friends and family (the closest of whom are my beloved husband and sons, who could not be more supportive of the women in their lives). The powerful emotions that have been unleashed in the wake of the allegations about Harvey Weinstein – and the rage stirred up in this Trumpian era – have been divisive, yet also allowed for deeply honest conversations. These have been explored in the pages of Bazaar – and will go on shaping the debate about the portrayal of women, as well as our ability to voice our concerns. But at the same time, the celebration of joy and beauty, art and literature, wisdom and wonderment, remains at the heart of Bazaar. Indeed, when we are confronted with the dark side of life, a lightness of touch becomes all the more precious; as profound as the miracle of snowdrops emerging from a frozen winter earth.
So here’s to the 2018 Women of the Year Awards – our annual ceremony to honour the people who embody all that we hold most dear. Some of them will be more familiar than others to the readers of Bazaar, but all have played their part in stirring us to be (in the words of the great Nora Ephron) the heroine of our own lives. Ephron’s advice is as apposite now as it was when she first offered it, in a speech to the young women who were graduating
Top left: our cover star and Actress of the Year Keira Knightley (page 160). Left: Gemma Arterton, Bazaar’s winner for Outstanding Performance (page 188)