What a year 2015 was! From the birth of Caitlyn Jenner to the Supreme Court’s ruling, here are 10 most empowering moments from 2015 that will hopefully motivate you to declare your purpose and passion in the upcoming year.

1 empowering moments 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court rules for marriage equality – On June 26, the Supreme Court finally declared same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, which meant that same-sex marriages were legalized nationwide. This decision was celebrated across the country.

2 empowering moments 2015

Women graduates of Army ranger school go down in history – Back in August of 2015, two women graduated from the most difficult combat training course in the United States Army, and a third one joined them in October. “This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential, ” said Army Secretary John M. McHugh of this historic moment.

3 empowering moments 2015

Ireland legalizes same-sex marriages – Just a month before same-sex marriages were legalized in the United States, the same happened in Ireland. This was a bit surprising considering that Ireland is a strongly Catholic country, which decriminalized homosexual activity as late as 1993.

4 empowering moments 2015

Bruce Jenner transitions to Caitlyn – Caitlyn came out as transgender in an interview with Diane Sawyer, back in April. Three months later, she graced the cover of Vanity Fair, and started promoting transgender issues and helping the public understand what it means to be transgender.

5 empowering moments 2015

White House hires first openly transgender person – The trans community in the United States had nothing but praises for President Obama and the White House when they hired an openly transgender staff member in August.

6 empowering moments 2015

35 women tell their stories of being sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby – Sexual assault survivors rarely report their experiences to the police or even their loved ones mainly out of fear of unforgiving public scrutiny. In the past, when an occasional woman accused Bill Cosby of assault, no one would believe her and the public even went on to publicly shame her. However, this wasn’t the case when 35 of these women posed for a photo for the cover of New York Magazine and shared their similar stories.

7 empowering moments 2015

Monica Lewinsky’s talk on cyberbullying – When the former White House intern’s affair with Bill Clinton was made public in 1995, she became a target of humiliation both on TV and the Internet. This is why her talk at the TED conference was extremely meaningful. She urged everyone to stop being bystanders and become ‘upstanders’ when they notice privacy breaches and emotional violence online.

8 empowering moments 2015

Nike unveils a sneaker for people with disabilities – Three years after Matthew Walzer, who suffers from cerebral palsy, wrote a letter to Nike (which went viral) asking for more accessible footwear, the company released a new sneaker just for people with disabilities. Instead of laces, this sneaker features a zipper that goes all the way to the back, and makes it easy for the person who’s wearing it to slide in his foot easily, or open it with just one hand.

9 empowering moments 2015

Black Live Matter demands justice for all victims of police violence – Christian Taylor, Walter Scoot, and Sandra Bland are just some of the names that we’ll never forget thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement. There are many stories of black men and women who died in 2015 alone during an encounter with a police officer, and this organization made it impossible for the public to ignore the harassment of people of color.

10 empowering moments 2015

Syrian refugees get into Europe after being blocked in Hungary – Back in September, thousands of refugees from Syria finally reached Austria and Germany, after Hungary tried to stop them from moving west. A lot of Germans lined up at train stations to welcome incoming refugees and provide them with food and toys for the kids.

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