BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list this year?

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The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019.

This year 100 Women is asking: what would the future look like if it were driven by women?

From climate change activist Greta Thunberg, to trans woman Nisha Ayub who was put into a male prison aged 21, many on the list are driving change on behalf of women everywhere. They give us their vision of what life could look like in 2030.

Others, such as the "ghost" politician defying the mafia, and the footballer battling misogyny, are using their extraordinary personal experiences to blaze a path for those who follow.

The BBC's 100 women of 2019

  • Precious Adams

    US Ballet dancer preciousagram

    Precious Adams spent so much time dancing round the living room as a child, that her mum signed her up for dance lessons. She trained at several top ballet schools, including the National Ballet School of Canada, the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow.

    She was promoted to first artist by the English National Ballet in 2017, and won the Emerging Artist Award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards the following year. She has been credited with opening up a conversation on ballet dancers being able to wear tights that match their skin tone.

    My hope for the future is that more and more people engage with the arts. I'd like as many people as possible to find the same joy, freedom, and fulfilment from the arts that I have.

  • Parveena Ahanger

    Indian-admin Kashmir Human rights activist

    Parveena is known as the "Iron lady of Kashmir". Her teenage son disappeared in 1990, at the height of an uprising against Indian rule in Kashmir.

    He is one of thousands of "disappeared" there - leading Parveena to set up the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). She says she has not given up hope of seeing her son again, with next year marking the 30th anniversary of his disappearance.

    The grief of losing my son to enforced disappearance inspires me to struggle for justice and accountability, and I aspire to work towards making the world a better place, especially for women.

  • Piera Aiello

    Italy Politician

    Known as Italy's "ghost" politician, Piera Aiello ran for office with her face covered by a veil due to threats from the mafia. In 2018, after winning her seat as an anti-mafia candidate, she finally revealed her face to the public.

    She has used her experience of being forced to marry the son of a mafia boss at 14 to advocate for the rights of police informants and their children.

    The truth lives on.

  • Jasmin Akter

    UK-Bangladesh Cricketer

    Jasmin is Rohingya, described by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. She was born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh just after her father died.

    Since arriving in the UK as a refugee, she has excelled at cricket, and together with her friends started an all-Asian girls' cricket team in Bradford. This year she was selected to represent England in the first Street Child Cricket World Cup for charity.

    All I know is the feeling, the sheer pleasure of the motion feels greater when every breath blows with liberation.

  • Manal AlDowayan

    Saudi Arabia Artist

    Contemporary artist Manal AlDowayan's work explores invisibility, archives, memory and the representation of women in her country. From black and white photographs of Saudi Arabia's female workforce, to a frozen flock of birds imprinted with the permission slip Saudi women require to travel.

    In 2018, the British Museum placed two of her artworks on long-term display in the Islamic Gallery.

    Every day I am confronted with the incredible brilliance and courage of women around me, and I can only see a better future when these women have their place in society and history.

  • Kimia Alizadeh

    Iran Athlete kimiya.alizade

    In 2016, Kimia became the first Iranian woman to win a medal at the Olympics since the country began competing in 1948. As a taekwondo athlete, Kimia is credited with "emboldening Iranian girls and women to push the boundaries of personal freedom" by the UK's Financial Times newspaper.

    The 21-year-old is now training three times a day to seek qualification for Tokyo 2020, where she hopes to inspire the next generation of Iranian women in martial arts.

    In Iran, female athletes face different challenges. But I hope in the face of all the hardships we will continue and never give up.

  • Alanoud Alsharekh

    Kuwait Women's rights activist

    Dr Alanoud Alsharekh is a founding member of the Abolish 153 campaign, calling for Kuwait's "honour-killing" law to be scrapped.

    She works with institutions to improve gender equality in the Middle East, and was the first Kuwaiti awarded France's National Order of Merit, for her defence of women's rights.

    Training and empowering future female leaders is a major issue that I am doing my part to see resolved in the immediate future, not only in Kuwait but across the region.

  • Marwa Al-Sabouni

    Syria Architect

    When war broke out in architect Marwa Al-Sabouni's home city of Homs, Syria, she refused to leave.

    She has written a book documenting this time, and has drawn up plans to rebuild the destroyed Baba Amr district, in a way that would bring different classes and ethnic groups together.

    She runs the world's only website dedicated to architectural news in Arabic, and has received the Prince Claus award, which honours “outstanding achievement of visionaries at the front-line of culture and development”.

    Without home there is no future. My hope is that we can raise enough awareness to build places for people to which they can truly belong. It isn't an exaggeration to claim that much of the troubles of our time would be diminished through this act.

  • Rida Al Tubuly

    Libya Peace campaigner

    Rida Al Tubuly is one of many women pushing for gender equality - but she's doing it from a warzone. Her organisation, Together We Build It, pushes for women's involvement in solving Libya's conflict.

    In 2018, she told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that high level UN meetings about Libya's future were failing to include women. The university professor holds a postgraduate degree in International Human Rights Law.

    Women's future is now, not tomorrow and not the day after. I promote peace at all levels, and I'm confident that women are able to very soon change the status quo in fields historically designated to men, such as peace building and conflict mediation.

  • Tabata Amaral

    Brazil Congresswoman

    Tabata Amaral, one of Brazil's youngest congresswomen, came to national attention this year when a video of her grilling the country's education minister went viral.

    Dubbed "Brazil's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez" by the press, the 25-year-old grew up on the outskirts of Sao Paulo where she lost her father to drug addiction. Dedicating herself to her education, she won a place at Harvard University with a full scholarship, and graduated in Political Science and Astrophysics. As a member of parliament, her main agendas are education, women's rights, political innovation and sustainable futures.

    My biggest hope for the future of women in Brazil is that our fight for equal rights, for equal opportunities, be so consolidated that the next generation of girls will be born knowing no limits to their dreams.

  • Yalitza Aparicio

    Mexico Actress/Human rights activist yalitzaapariciomtz

    Yalitza Aparicio trained as a primary school teacher, but ended up being cast as the lead in Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar-winning film Roma after accompanying her sister to the audition.

    She became the first indigenous Mexican woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the role. She now advocates for gender equality, rights for indigenous communities and constitutional protection for domestic workers.

    The ideal future for women is one in which we achieve gender equality; we have the same rights and the same opportunities men have. In the workplace, a future in which our pay is fair and we are compensated for the value we generate - that would be a good start.

  • Dayna Ash

    Lebanon Cultural activist

    Born in Lebanon but raised in the US, poet Dayna Ash was shocked when she was advised to hide her sexuality on her return to Beirut at 16.

    So she founded Haven for Artists, an all-inclusive organisation for artists and activists, and the city's only cultural and creative safe space for women and the LGBTQI+ community. She and her team run the centre for free, allowing vulnerable people to live in the residence and encouraging them to exchange tools, skills, and experience.

    Freedom is not only ours to demand but to design.

  • Dina Asher-Smith

    UK Athlete

    Dina is the fastest woman in British history and the first British woman to win a major global sprint title.

    She took gold in the final of the women's 200m at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, after she had already taken silver in the 100m.

    Sport allows you to view your body in a positive way as you see the amazing things it is able to do and how it can change. This helps to build self-esteem and leads to healthier lifestyles both in a physical and mental capacity. I want sport to be an area where young women can be unapologetically themselves.

  • MiMi Aung

    US Project manager NASA

    NASA's MiMi Aung is responsible for a team designing a helicopter to fly on Mars. After travelling alone from Myanmar to the US to further her education at 16, MiMi is now project manager at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology.

    She is challenged with building an aircraft light enough to fly in the very thin atmosphere of the Red Planet - it should reach the surface in February 2021.

    My view for the future is continued advancement and innovation of new capabilities. Personally for me, it has been about first-of-its-kind, increasingly capable autonomous systems for space exploration. I believe that critical thinking is key to making major advancements.

  • Nisha Ayub

    Malaysia Transgender activist

    At 21, trans woman Nisha Ayub was sentenced to three months in a male prison under a provision of Sharia law which prohibits "a male person wearing women's attire or posing as a woman in a public space.”

    Since her release, she has been a tireless advocate for the rights of transgender people in Malaysia, co-founding SEED - the country's first ever trans-led organisation - and creating T-Home, which addresses the issue of homelessness for older trans women who are left without family support. She was awarded the US International Women of Courage award in 2016 for her work.

    Trans people are just as human as everyone. We cry in tears, we bleed red, we have dreams and hopes, we want to be loved and cared for, we have feelings and emotions as we are your own reflection... we are not asking for special rights but the same equal rights as others.

  • Judith Bakirya

    Uganda Farmer

    Raised on a farm in Uganda, Judith Bakirya became the first of her peers to win a scholarship to a prestigious girls' boarding school, going on to obtain a masters in the UK and a job in the City.

    But unsatisfied in her work, she quit, using her savings to fly home and found an organic fruit farm, Busaino Fruits & Herbs. Since winning a national agriculture award, she has used the platform to draw attention to women's rights issues, including lack of land ownership, lack of access to education and domestic violence.

    Working with women smallholder garden owners in innovative ways, honouring indigenous knowledge and developing biodiverse agroecosystems, promotes sustainable food production and nutrition.

  • Ayah Bdeir

    Lebanon Entrepreneur

    Branded as 21st Century building blocks, Ayah Bdeir's littleBits company makes kits of electronic blocks that snap together with magnets, allowing anyone to "build, prototype, and invent".

    Already used in thousands of schools across the US, this year Ayah launched a $4m value initiative with Disney to try and close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM), supplying 15,000 10-year-old girls in California with free littleBits kits.

    I am on a mission to make sure every kid — regardless of gender, background, or ethnicity — has the skills to invent the world they want to live in.

  • Dhammananda Bhikkhuni

    Thailand Monk

    Buddhism is Thailand's most common religion, with some 300,000 Buddhist monks. But female monks - known as bhikkhunis - aren't recognised, and are banned from being ordained on Thai soil.

    So in 2003, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni flew to Sri Lanka to be ordained, and returned as Thailand's first female monk. There are now 100 others like her. She is abbess of Songdhammakalyani - the country's first ever all-female Buddhist monastery.

    We still need to struggle to make the ordination of women in Thailand a reality.

  • Mabel Bianco

    Argentina Doctor

    Feminist medical doctor Mabel Bianco has spent four decades putting women's health, reproductive rights, abortion, and HIV/AIDS on the public policy agenda in Argentina.

    She has introduced policies to save women's lives - from tackling breast cancer to violence against women - and has been a pioneer of sex education in the face of Roman Catholic conservatism.

    This year marks her 30th as president of the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM) supporting the rights of women in Latin America and the world.

    I want a near future without women dying needlessly. I hope we will reach a point where women all over the world can decide freely about their lives, their bodies, and whether to be mothers or not without risking death, and are able to live without gender violence.

  • Raya Bidshahri

    Iran Educator

    Raya is founder and CEO of the award-winning Awecademy, an organisation with a mission to use education to improve the world.

    It aims to inspire teachers and students with online learning modules like 21st Century Skills and Cosmic Citizenship, to bring positive change to humanity for the future.

    I am intelligently optimistic about the future. This is because the future of humanity is not pre-defined or set in stone, but rather it's up to us to create it. We can choose to create a future that is brimming with prosperity, progress, and love.

  • Katie Bouman

    US Scientist

    Katie was a key leader on the team that developed algorithms and techniques to recover the first-ever image of a black hole.

    She started the project as a graduate student, and is now an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology.

    Katie collaborated with a number of women on the Event Horizon Telescope team to pull off this feat, on everything from instrumentation to black hole theory.

    My ambition for the future is that we use artificial intelligence and machine-learning methods to design better scientists, who tell us how to go and discover the world around us.

  • Sinéad Burke

    Ireland Disability activist

    After recounting not being able to reach the locks on toilet doors in a candid speech in 2017, Sinéad Burke quickly became one of the world's most influential disability activists. Calling for all design to be more accessible, she has challenged some of the biggest names in the fashion industry - including Anna Wintour - to make clothing more inclusive.

    This year she became the first little person to appear on the cover of Vogue, and is launching her first podcast, aimed at challenging us to confront our biases and feel empowered to impact the world.

    As women move into positions that can create systemic change, we must be explicit in our refusal to repeat the cycles of oppression and exclusion that have been indelibly etched into our consciousness and beings. Our approach to redesigning the future must be intersectional.

  • Lisa Campo-Engelstein

    US Bioethicist

    Author of Contraceptive Justice: Why We Need a Male Pill, bioethicist Lisa Campo-Engelstein's work aims to improve women's lives through finding new methods of contraception.

    She also specialises in improving fertility for cancer survivors.

    A word after a word after a word is power. (Margaret Atwood)

  • Scarlett Curtis

    UK Writer/Campaigner

    Scarlett is co-founder of The Pink Protest, an online community of activists who supported the successful #FreePeriods campaign to get free menstrual products in schools in England.

    They have also helped push a bill through Parliament to make FGM part of the Children's Act. Scarlett's book, It's Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies), brings together high-profile figures to talk about their experiences of mental health and the stigma surrounding the issue.

    Because the future will not be drawn without them.

  • Ella Daish

    UK Environmentalist

    Delivering post in rural Wales, Ella was shocked by the amount of discarded plastic on the streets.

    So she started a campaign for plastic-free period products, successfully lobbying manufacturers to make real changes and councils to spend their period poverty funding on eco-friendly products.

    My hopes for the future are that period products come without plastic, governments make sustainable choices and manufacturers put the planet before profit.

  • Sharan Dhaliwal

    UK Artist and writer

    British-Indian Sharan is founder and editor-in-chief of Burnt Roti magazine, focusing on mental and sexual health for young South Asians, and LGBTQ rights. Aided by crowdfunding, she published her first print issue in April 2016 and has since launched an online version.

    The platform hosted the Let's Talk About Sex workshop in London in 2018, to try to end stigma around being South Asian and sexually active.

    Our conversation around gender has become more visible and we're fighting for recognition of people who identify differently to how they were assigned at birth...It's hard to identify progress with hostile political climates governing our language and accessibility.

  • Salwa Eid Naser

    Nigeria-Bahrain Athlete yes_iam_salwa

    Salwa Eid Naser stunned the field in the 400m final in Doha this year by running faster than any woman has done for more than three decades.

    The reigning 400m world champion was born in Anambra State, Nigeria, but moved to Bahrain at 14 seeking opportunities to further her running career. She now represents the Gulf State internationally.

    I don't fear nothing for the future because it is something I can handle when it comes. I really want to get it all - now I have the world gold medal, I want to keep going and get the Olympic gold medal.

  • Rana El Kaliouby

    Egypt AI pioneer

    Rana el Kaliouby is a pioneer of artificial emotional intelligence, or Emotion AI. Her start-up Affectiva has developed software that can understand emotions by analysing facial expressions through a camera.

    The technology is being installed in vehicles to detect sleepy drivers. Also a passionate advocate for gender equity in tech and AI, Rana is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and a post-doctorate from MIT.

    AI is at an inflection point: it's increasingly acting on our behalf, taking on roles traditionally held by people. As we plan for a future, we need to ensure that diversity of all kinds - gender, race, age, education and perspectives - are represented.

  • Maria Fernanda Espinosa

    Ecuador UN General Assembly

    When Maria Fernanda Espinosa became president of the UN General Assembly, she became only the fourth woman to hold the position in the body's history - and the first from Latin America and the Caribbean.

    She has called on governments to put forward billions of dollars to tackle climate change, and announced her determination to fight gender discrimination.

    I envisage a future where efforts by the multilateral systems have led to the equal participation of men and women in politics, and to the protection of the rights of women who fight daily for jobs with equal conditions, and of women and girls who are the victims of violence.

  • Lucinda Evans

    South Africa Women's rights activist

    As South Africa faces rising rates of murder and rape against women and girls, Lucinda has emerged as a voice for women. She leads nationwide marches, rallying thousands of women in the streets of Cape Town, challenging government to translate policy into action.

    Lucinda founded Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women), a non-profit organisation offering services including counselling, search committees for kidnapped girls and safe houses for women escaping domestic abuse.

    My hopes, as a Khoisan woman, are that we will one day be freed from violence against our bodies, and the bodies of our daughters, sisters, mothers and aunties. I hope that one day we will have a female president. For this, I will continue to advocate and rise in pain to power.

  • Sister Gerard Fernandez

    Singapore Roman Catholic nun

    Sister Gerard is a Roman Catholic nun in Singapore, who worked for three decades as a death row counsellor.

    Now 81, she has "walked with" 18 inmates before their deaths, describing her calling as helping "people who are broken".

    A female future, like any other, would be one filled with kindness, dignity and equality; a world without discrimination or hate, one that's driven by compassion.

  • Bethany Firth

    UK Paralympic swimmer

    Overcoming a fear of water after falling into an adult pool as a toddler, Bethany Firth burst onto the swimming scene at the London 2012 Paralympics. Bethany, who has learning disabilities, is now a four-time Paralympic gold medallist and multiple world record holder, and was Britain's most decorated athlete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

    This year she won two golds at the World Para-swimming Championships in London, and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to swimming in 2017.

    In swimming I think we've already got good equality in the sport but I'm really pleased to see new innovations such as mixed relay events being included at major events like the World Championships and Paralympic Games and only increasing opportunities to compete on the same stage.

  • Owl Fisher

    Iceland Transgender activist

    Owl - aka Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir - is a journalist, writer and trans campaigner. They are the co-director of My Genderation, a film project focusing on trans lives and trans experiences.

    They also work with All About Trans, a project creating positive representation of transgender people in the media. They co-wrote the Trans Teen Survival Guide, to help empower transgender and non-binary teens.

    The future must move beyond the oppressive binaries of sex and gender - otherwise we will never truly break free and deconstruct the systems that have kept us complacent for so long.

  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

    Jamaica Athlete

    After storming to victory in 10.71 seconds at the women's 100m final in Doha in September 2019, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce now boasts more 100m world championship titles than Usain Bolt.

    It makes the Jamaican track and field sprinter the oldest woman to ever win an Olympic or world 100m title - and the first mum to do so since 1995. She carried son Zyon, two, on her lap of honour, saying she wanted to "inspire women thinking of starting a family".

    Finding balance is never easy but we as women get to decide. I never limit myself as to what is possible as long as my body will cooperate. It's important for the future of athletics that women continue to challenge themselves. I am excited to see just how far I can go, even at this stage of my career.

  • Zarifa Ghafari

    Afghanistan Mayor

    At 26, Zarifa Ghafari is one of Afghanistan's first female mayors. The country's president appointed her mayor of Maidan Wardag, where support for the Taliban is widespread. She took the job despite it being too dangerous for her to live there - her office was mobbed by angry men on her first day.

    In the face of this adversity, she has taken to the streets with free rubbish bags as part of her clean city initiative, and says her goal is to make people believe in women's power.

    I'm the first female mayor for this war-torn province but I don't want to be the only one forever. I wish there were more women working alongside me in local government and leading departments and I am trying to make this a reality for other Afghan women.

  • Jalila Haider

    Pakistan Lawyer

    Human rights lawyer Jalila specialises in defending women's rights in Pakistan, and provides free legal services to women in poverty.

    She is founder of We the Humans, a non-profit organisation working with local communities to provide opportunities for vulnerable women and children. She is the first female lawyer from the persecuted Hazara community, and in 2018 she went on hunger strike demanding protection for her people.

    Looking back into the past leads to the realisation that the entire politics of conflict, war and destruction is interconnected with Patriarchy. This is the time now that the world should accept the future as female; [women] are the symbol of peace, fertility, creation and coexistence. Let the women lead.

  • Tayla Harris

    Australia Footballer/boxer

    Tayla Harris is an Australian rules footballer playing for Carlton Football Club in the AFL Women's league, and a professional boxer.

    Since a photo of her kicking a ball during a match attracted misogynistic comments in March, a bronze statue of her has been unveiled in Melbourne's Federation Square, immortalising the kick in Australian sporting history. She also holds an unbeaten professional boxing record.

    A tattoo on my right arm reads 'fortune favours the brave'. I got this when I had my first professional boxing fight and moved away from family and friends to live in Melbourne and since this milestone, I've been fortunate to experience things I never would have thought possible.

  • Hollie

    US Sex trafficking survivor

    Hollie is a survivor of sex trafficking from Columbus, Ohio, US. She was first sold by her mother at the age of 15 and was enslaved through drug-use for 17 years. With the help of an innovative court programme called CATCH Court - which spots criminals who are actually victims - she was able to escape in 2015. Most women who are sex trafficked in the US are branded with tattoos or scars and she has since transformed the tattoos on her own body.

    She is working as a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence at a local Columbus court and is at the helm of Reaching For the Shining Starz – a non-profit organisation that helps victims of sex trafficking.

    Sex trafficking survivors are the most powerful, motivated, and compassionate group of people I've met in my lifetime. The ability to learn to trust, love, and forgive after we've been betrayed and badly abused – often by the people we loved – astonishes me. We genuinely are a resilient group that come back stronger than before.

  • Huang Wensi

    China Professional boxer

    Huang Wensi, 29, is one of a small but growing number of female boxers in China.

    Challenging traditional stereotypes of women's roles, she overcame postpartum depression to win the Asia Female Continental Super Flyweight Championship gold belt in 2018. She wants to continue to fight social stigma against women in sport.

    I want to prove that women have the power to move the world. I hope more women are not just defined by their family, but their dream, too.

  • Luchita Hurtado

    Venezuela Artist

    This year, artist Luchita Hurtado landed her first solo show in a public gallery - at the age of 98.

    Born in Venezuela, and wife of influential artist Lee Mullican, she spent years treating her art as a private diary, before some 1,200 of her works were unearthed while curators were clearing out her late husband's studio. Hurtado's environmental advocacy continues to inform the visual language of her work.

    We should think before we vote

  • Yumi Ishikawa

    Japan Founder #kutoo

    Tired of the pain she suffered wearing heels eight hours a day at work, Yumi decided to vent her frustration on Twitter.

    Within days, Japan's #kutoo movement was born, with thousands of women sharing stories about being forced to wear heels to work as part of their uniform. Yumi gathered a petition of 20,000 signatures which she presented to the government over the issue.

    We're still in the situation where lots of people don't even realise there's gender discrimination in Japan, and for the #KuToo campaign too, lots of people don't regard it as an issue of discrimination. I hope people notice this kind of discrimination in our daily lives, and realise men and women are equal.

  • Asmaa James

    Sierra Leone Journalist/activist

    Through a career in journalism and community social work, Asmaa has become the voice of Sierra Leone's voiceless.

    After learning of the rape of a five-year-old girl, she used her media platform to launch the Black Tuesday campaign, which encouraged women to wear black on the last Tuesday of each month to protest over the increase in the rape and abuse of girls under 12. The movement prompted presidential action to reform sexual violence policies.

    To all the women out there - we will find ourselves in male-dominated professions. Take the opportunity to stay on and persist. This is how the future holds more of us as leaders.

  • Aranya Johar

    India Poet aranyajohar

    Aranya uses beat poetry to address issues like gender equality, mental health and body positivity.

    Her performance of A Brown Girl's Guide to Beauty has been viewed over three million times on YouTube.

    If women joined the workforce the global GDP could increase by $28 trillion. Why are we limiting half of the world's population and their potential? What could a gender equal world look like? And how far are we from it?

  • Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

    US Anthropologist

    Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is an urban anthropologist, working to make cities better places to live in.

    She co-founded The Women Led Cities Initiative, which aims to bring women's voices to the forefront of urban planning and design.

    The future of our cities is female because it has to be. Without a greater level of diversity, through women's input and impact on our urban environments, we are at an impasse for the future of these, our manufactured habitats.

  • Gada Kadoda

    Sudan Engineer

    Dr Gada Kadoda helps women in remote areas use solar power to bring electricity to their villages by training them as community engineers.

    She was named a Unicef innovator to watch as the driving force behind Sudan's first innovation lab, giving students a space for collaborative working and problem-solving. She is founder of the Sudanese Knowledge Society, which gives young researchers the opportunity to freely interact with scientists and scholars from inside and outside the country.

    Women's urgent futures depend on mastering liberation tools to enrich our options.

  • Amy Karle

    US Bioartist

    Born with a rare condition which left her with missing skin, Amy Karle grew up fascinated by the possibility of what the human body could be capable of with the right technology.

    Now an award-winning bioartist, her work includes a human hand design made with 3D-printed scaffolds and stem cells.

    Biotechnology can lead us into a very promising future or irreversible demise. It is of vital importance that we thoroughly and thoughtfully contemplate the range of dangers and potentials and work together to establish strategies to utilise our technology for the best and highest good of humanity.

  • Ahlam Khudr

    Sudan Protest leader

    Self-proclaimed 'mother of all Sudanese martyrs', Ahlam's 17-year-old son was killed in a peaceful protest in 2013. Since then, Ahlam has dedicated her life to seeking justice for him, and fighting for the rights of those killed or 'disappeared' in Sudan.

    She was part of underground forums and protests and was "brutally beaten" when caught by security forces. In the movement that started in December 2018 against then-President Omar al-Bashir, Ahlam became a prominent protester, leading rallies with strong ties to the youth on the ground.

    Sudan will become again an important and powerful country. The young Sudanese have learned about their rights. Once they have become aware of what rights they are entitled to, they will never accept to abandon them.

  • Fiona Kolbinger

    Germany Cyclist fionakolbinger

    In 2019, cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger became the first woman ever to win the Transcontinental Race - one of the world's toughest cycling races.

    Covering 4,000 km in 10 days - from Bulgaria to France - she beat off 264 competitors, the majority of which were male.

    I hope that one day, nobody will be underestimated because of gender, age, ethnicity or educational background any more – creating a respectful society that promotes confidence and gives equal chances to everybody.

  • Hiyori Kon

    Japan Sumo wrestler

    Hiyori Kon, 21, is a sumo wrestling prodigy in a country where women are still barred from competing professionally.

    She was the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Little Miss Sumo, which charted her battle to change the rules of one of the world's oldest sports, and give a voice to women in sumo.

    I would like to give the opportunity for children all over the world to get involved with sumo, and make sumo an Olympic sport.

  • Aïssata Lam

    Mauritania Microfinance expert

    Aïssata Lam set up the Youth Chamber of Commerce of Mauritania to support young women entrepreneurs struggling to access funding for their start-ups.

    She is a vocal advocate for women's rights, using her platform to honour exceptional Mauritanian women, and was appointed to the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council by French President Emmanuel Macron.

    The time is coming when women's voices cannot be silenced, nor ignored. The time is coming when women's equal participation in today's most pressing issues is necessary. The time is coming when women's seat at the table is non-negotiable. This time is now.

  • Soo Jung Lee

    South Korea Forensic psychologist

    Forensic psychology professor Soo Jung Lee has worked on numerous high-profile murder cases in South Korea. Based at Kyonggi University in Seoul, she has challenged the legal system, helping introduce an anti-stalking bill.

    She believes stalking leads to more serious crimes in many cases, where the majority of the victims are vulnerable women.

    As a forensic psychologist, I want the future to be a safe place for my children.

  • Fei-Fei Li

    US AI pioneer

    Fei-Fei Li arrived in the US from China at 16 with no English language skills, working part-time in her parents' dry-cleaning business.

    Now widely credited as a pioneer of artificial intelligence, the former Google vice president co-directs Stanford's institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), which is looking at how to develop ethical AI. Li is co-founder of AI4ALL, which is focused on recruiting more women and minorities to build AI.

    We are on the cusp of the Age of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This new era has the potential to help us realise our shared dream of a better future for all of humanity, but it will bring with it challenges and opportunities we can't yet foresee. My hope is that we will bring more voices, more views, and more expertise to the discussion.

  • Erika Lust

    Sweden Filmmaker erikalust

    An award-winning independent adult filmmaker exploring how women can help shape the future of porn.

    She has also written a guide for parents on how to talk to their children about porn.

    Pornography isn't going anywhere; if we take action now, we can decide what happens next.

  • Lauren Mahon

    UK Cancer survivor

    Nominated for BBC 100 Women list by Jameela Jamil and the I Weigh community, Lauren Mahon is one third of the powerhouse trio "kicking cancer's arse" on BBC 5 Live's podcast You, Me & The Big C.

    The campaigner has set up online community Girl vs Cancer to provide young women with information on cancer charities, news on the nuances of treatments and tips for what to buy a bestie with cancer.

    My hope for the future is that every single female-identifying or non-binary human on the planet stands in their power and purpose. This is how we're going to change the world.

  • Julie Makani

    Tanzania Doctor/scientist

    Julie is from Tanzania, one of five countries in the world with the highest estimated number Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) births annually. She has dedicated the past two decades to research on treatment for the disease and working to influence health policies so that individuals across Africa can access vital diagnostic tests and medicines.

    She is trying to establish life-changing interventions including blood transfusion and hydroxyurea, a medicine with strong effects on the bone marrow— a step towards the treatment of Sickle Cell Disease. Now she is researching a cure using gene therapy.

    Sickle cell disease research in Tanzania will have a significant impact in raising awareness about a disease that affects many people in Africa and the achievements made to improve healthcare.

  • Lisa Mandemaker

    Netherlands Speculative designer lisamandemaker

    Lisa Mandemaker is leading the team building a prototype artificial womb, in collaboration with the Máxima Medical Centre in Holland.

    It is hoped the wombs will replace incubators for babies within the next 10 years. Social designer Lisa sees design as a tool for debate, to challenge assumptions, question or excite.

    The beginning of life slowly becomes a domain that we can design, and everyone should be part of the discussion on how we design this.

  • Jamie Margolin

    US Climate change activist

    At 16, Jamie co-founded the Zero Hour movement, using social media to organise the first youth climate change marches in 25 cities, including Washington DC.

    She has since testified before the US Congress alongside Greta Thunberg.

    The future must be decolonised and re-connected to the ancient wisdom of the Earth we once cherished. Climate change is a man-made problem, which is why women should rule the world.

  • Francia Marquez

    Colombia Environmentalist

    A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez spearheaded a 10-day, 350-mile women's march to the country's capital, to take back their ancestral land from illegal gold miners.

    After 22 days of protests on the streets, the Colombian government agreed to stem illegal mining in the mountainous region of La Toma. The human rights and environmental activist has faced death threats over her actions, which won her the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

    My hope is that human consciousness is being raised to understand that we are not masters of nature, we are part of it, and so we must take care of it, in the same way that it takes care of us.

  • Gina Martin

    UK Campaigner

    After being upskirted at a music festival, Gina Martin launched a campaign to make upskirting illegal in England and Wales. The law was changed this year after an 18-month legal fight.

    Four men have been convicted under the new legislation so far. Prosecutors say all of the victims were "simply going about their business on public transport, shopping or attending events when they were targeted".

    I spend my time wondering what society would look like if we cared about the things that don't directly affect us. My hope is that, in my lifetime, I get to see that.

  • Sarah Martins Da Silva

    UK Consultant gynaecologist/obstetrician

    Sarah is one of Scotland's leading gynaecologists.

    As a senior lecturer in reproductive medicine at the University of Dundee, she has focused on solving male infertility, to try to stop women being subjected to unnecessary and invasive fertility treatments.

    I hope that we can harness science, technology, investment and innovation in male reproductive health to redress global inequalities and the current burden of fertility on women.

  • Raja Meziane

    Algeria Singer

    Singer Raja Meziane's political music video Allo le Système! has been viewed more than 35 million times on YouTube. Her anti-government songs tackling social injustice, alleged corruption and inequality have seen her forced into exile from Algeria.

    Now based in Prague, she is a vocal supporter of Algeria's protests in 2019, which have seen tens of thousands of young people taking to the streets calling for change.

    To those who oppose us, we say, 'Strike the woman, and you strike the rock'. (Winnie Mandela)

  • Susmita Mohanty

    India Space entrepreneur

    Hailed as 'India's space woman', spaceship designer Susmita founded India's first space start-up.

    A passionate climate action advocate, she uses her business to help monitor and understand climate change from space.

    I fear that in three to four generations our home planet will not be very habitable anymore. I hope that humanity will wake up to a Greta-esque urgency for climate action.

  • Benedicte Mundele

    DR Congo Fresh food entrepreneur

    When Benedicte looked around the Democratic Republic of Congo, she could see plenty of raw produce from potato to passionfruit, but still people were living in food poverty.

    She says supermarkets were full of products originally grown in DR Congo, but exported out, processed with preservatives, before being reimported at expensive prices. She founded Surprise Tropical, a food canteen serving healthy, takeaway food in the suburbs of the capital, Kinshasa. Five years on, the company's online business delivers fresh produce throughout the city.

    The future belongs to those who see the opportunities behind what others see as problems or frustrations.

  • Subhalakshmi Nandi

    India Gender equality expert

    Based at the International Center for Research on Women, Subhalakshmi has spent over 15 years working to improve gender equality in Asia.

    Her focus is the rights of women farmers, ending violence against women and improving women's education.

    My hope for the future is that women will no longer be invisible and uncounted. Women themselves will be organised and will better articulate the work that they do to uphold the entire economy and society. Government data and policy will also respond to the reality of women's work, both paid and unpaid.

  • Trang Nguyen

    Vietnam Conservationist

    Trang Nguyen grew up in Vietnam, confronted from a young age with monkeys chained up for sale on the streets and bears held to extract bile for traditional medicine. So she obtained a PhD in Biodiversity Management, and set up WildAct, a non-profit organisation which helps authorities monitor illegal wildlife trade markets.

    In 2018, it launched the country's first ever master's course in Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade, to help train the next generation of conservationists.

    People need to put aside their prejudices and work together to gain a better understanding of the issues of conservation and create solutions for the problems that will be effective and long lasting. For the future of nature conservation, it is important that women's voices are heard and their actions are recognised.

  • Van Thi Nguyen

    Vietnam CEO

    Van is co-founder of the Will to Live Center, which provides training for disabled people in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi.

    Her aim is to create an equal working environment for all. She also runs social enterprise Imagator, which employs 80 people, half of whom have a disability.

    I wish the environment in Vietnam enabled people with talent and devotion to develop, instead of people feeling like they need to move abroad to use their skills.

  • Natasha Noel

    India Yoga expert

    Natasha is a yogini, a female master practitioner of yoga and wellness coach.

    The body positivity influencer often opens up about her traumatic childhood on social media, after losing her mother at the age of three and being the victim of child abuse.

    My hopes for the future are that we live in an empowered world for every human being. Equal opportunities and equal basic liberties...everyone working to improve their emotional intelligence and their intelligence quotient. So empathic and consciously aware humans are created.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    US Congresswoman

    This year, aged 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She grew up in the Bronx and volunteered as a campaigner in the 2016 Presidential elections.

    Against all the odds, she defeated a veteran congressman in the June 2018 primaries, and has since been dubbed the future of the Democratic party. Her trademark look is no accident – she chose red lipstick and hoops for her swearing in ceremony so that “next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they're dressing like a Congresswoman.”

    We are fighting for a future where no person is left behind. When people want to stop talking about the issues that black women face, trans women face, immigrant women face, we've got to ask them, ‘Why does that make you so uncomfortable?' Because it's not just about identity, this is about justice. Everyone deserves justice.

  • Farida Osman

    Egypt Swimmer

    Nicknamed 'the golden fish', in 2017 Farida became the first woman in Egypt to win a medal when she claimed bronze in the 50m butterfly at the FINA World Aquatics Championships.

    She won another bronze this year. She gives lectures at universities to inspire the younger generation to pursue swimming, and is training to fulfill her ambition of winning a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

    My hope for the future is to have more female athletes excel at their sport in order to represent Egypt well internationally. I want them to believe in their dreams and do whatever it takes until it becomes a reality.

  • Ashcharya Peiris

    Sri Lanka Designer

    Ashcharya Peiris was on her way home from work at a bank in Sri Lanka when a bomb blast left her blind in 2000. She lost her job to her disability, but ended up fulfilling her dream of becoming a fashion designer by describing her designs to a seamstress.

    She was a finalist in Sri Lanka's Up & Coming Fashion Designer competition, and is now a motivational speaker in garment factories, inspiring young women to follow their own dreams.

    Trials and tribulations in life are nothing but disguised blessings that empower you to achieve your goals.

  • Danit Peleg

    Israel Designer

    Fashion designer Danit once found herself at a conference with nothing to wear, so quickly designed a skirt on her laptop and 3D-printed it.

    She wants all women to have the same option. Her entirely 3D-printed collection has been showcased by Vogue and US supermodel Tyra Banks.

    In the future, I hope technology improves, and women will be able to choose sustainable but still fashionable garments when they get dressed in the morning.

  • Autumn Peltier

    Canada Clean water advocate

    Autumn Peltier has been campaigning for clean drinking water for indigenous people in Canada since she was just eight years old.

    This year, at 14, she was named Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, taking on the role from her great-aunt Josephine Mandamin.

    One day I will be an ancestor, and I want my great-grandchildren to know I advocated for them so they can have clean drinking water and have a future.

  • Swietenia Puspa Lestari

    Indonesia Diver/environmentalist diverscleanaction

    Swietenia founded the Divers Clean Action Foundation to clear marine debris in Indonesia. They now have 1,500 volunteers working across the island nation and South East Asia.

    She also initiated the #nostrawmovement campaign in the country, which saw the reduction of single-use plastic straws in more than 700 restaurants.

    Youth are the agents of change, and create change faster, whilst women are the agents in each household, who will make eco-friendly decisions for future generations.

  • Megan Rapinoe

    US Footballer mrapinoe

    Megan Rapinoe is a two-time World Cup winner and co-captain of the US Women's National Team. She led the team to victory in the 2019 Women's World Cup, scoring some of the biggest goals of the tournament.

    She was named Best FIFA Women's Player 2019. Megan is a vocal advocate for equality in soccer, taking legal action against the US Soccer Federation over equal pay, calling out racism by fans and has become the face of LGBTQ rights in the game.

    If everybody was as outraged about racism as those who suffer it, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay as women, that would be the most inspiring thing for the future to me.

  • Onjali Rauf

    UK Writer

    Onjali Rauf was recovering from life-saving surgery when the idea for her first book came to her.

    Inspired by a real-life meeting between herself and a refugee mother in Calais, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis and won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019. She is also founder of Making Herstory, which seeks to end the abuse, enslavement and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond.

    The future for us women seems both a beautiful and a precarious thing. Beautiful because in so many ways, untold stories of just how much women have been sacrificed at the altar of male progression are finally seeing the light of day. But the advancements are fragile too – with outright misogynists and abusers still in seats of power and women still battling wars that our great-grandmothers were battling too.

  • Charlene Ren

    China Clean water advocate asificared

    As a graduate student, Charlene Ren created MyH2O, a solution to the lack of clean drinking water in rural China.

    Now her non-profit platform has created a nationwide water information mapping network, training locals and students to do their own testing so water organisations know where to take action and which communities are in need.

    The gender ratios are extremely biased in the NGO sector - significantly more women have chosen to serve in a sector that receives minimal funding, resources and acknowledgement yet [they] strive to create a better and inclusive future.

  • Maria Ressa

    Philippines Journalist

    Maria Ressa is an award-winning journalist from the Philippines who set up website Rappler to expose fake news.

    She has received rape and death threats online for being an outspoken critic of President Duterte's violent war on drugs, and has been arrested twice this year accused of 'cyber libel'. Ms Ressa is being represented by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

    For the next generation, the battle is going to be the battle for truth. What's happening to us in the Philippines isn't unique – we are just the canary in the coal mine. You have to shine the light, you have to speak, you have to say what is happening.

  • Djamila Ribeiro

    Brazil Writer/equality activist djamilaribeiro1

    Writer Djamila Ribeiro is one of the most influential figures in the Afro-Brazilian women's rights movement.

    Her work focuses on themes including black feminism, racism, and female empowerment. She is founder of the Sueli Carneiro's Seal initiative, which publishes black writers' works at affordable prices.

    To think about the future, first it's necessary to recognise past mistakes. Only by facing colonialism and its consequences, will it be possible to co-exist with dignity

  • Jawahir Roble

    UK-Somalia Referee

    Jawahir Roble is the UK's first Muslim, black, female, hijab-wearing referee.

    Having come to the UK from Somalia at the age of ten, she discovered a passion for sports which led her to become a referee. She now studies football coaching and management, hoping to complete her degree in 2020.

    I have two dreams: one day to referee in the Women's World Cup Final and to get as many girls as possible playing football. I urge more women to participate and take up refereeing

  • Najat Saliba

    Lebanon Chemistry professor

    Professor Saliba is conducting world-leading research on polluted air. She grew up on her family's farm in rural Lebanon, but when civil war prompted a move to the city, she was awakened to the disturbing realities of air pollution.

    After watching relatives, friends and colleagues develop health complications as a result of exposure to toxic substances in the environment, she hopes her innovative work with a Beirut university will make it possible to address some of the most pressing environmental challenges.

    Like the positive and negative dipoles defining a chemical bond, and the yin and the yang staging the balance in nature, women and men must co-reign to solve our current and future environmental threats.

  • Nanjira Sambuli

    Kenya Digital equality expert

    Nanjira leads the World Wide Web Foundation in its bid to increase digital equality.

    She looks for solutions to ensure nobody is left behind when it comes to web access, whether disadvantaged by gender or geography.

    My hope is that we see it happen more and more, and not only when women are 'given' positions to fulfil diversity quotas or clean up messes. We have a ways to go for 'The Female Future' to unleash its true potential to heal the world.

  • Zehra Sayers

    Turkey Scientist

    Biophysicist Zehra Sayers has been hailed as a beacon of hope for the Middle East (Nature journal) for her success in her contribution to bringing scientists from eight Middle Eastern countries together.

    During her 15-year tenure as chair of the Science Advisory Committee of SESAME project, she worked with a group of scientists including those from Israel, Palestine, Turkey and Cyprus, under the same roof to found a CERN-like laboratory. She shared the prestigious 2019 Award for Science Diplomacy for the feat.

    I am very happy to see young female scientists at SESAME today, either as staff members or as users. I believe that SESAME provides several opportunities for women from the Middle East to make their research more visible and their voice better heard.

  • Hayfa Sdiri

    Tunisia Entrepreneur

    At 16, Hayfa founded not-for-profit Entrcrush, an online platform for future entrepreneurs where they could be matched with donors, and take e-courses in areas like management and accounting.

    She works with the UN in Tunisia on gender equality initiatives.

    One day, I want to wake up to find gender equality is real. I will stay out late that night; I will wear whatever I want to, without worrying about being harassed. I will be free to live by myself if I want to; I will earn as much as a man.

  • Noor Shaker

    Syria Computer scientist

    Computer scientist Noor Shaker left Syria for Europe in 2008 to follow her passion for Artificial Intelligence. After a successful decade in academia, she turned her skills toward entrepreneurial innovation. Motivated by her mother's fight against cancer, Shaker was compelled to bring her knowledge of AI to the medical world.

    The result is a ground-breaking technique using AI to design new medicines faster than humans. Her work has attracted the attention of some of the top global pharmaceutical companies, and she has been named one of MIT's 'Innovators under 35'.

    Algorithms can now autonomously improve and provide augmented capabilities for innovation in ways never possible before. This will empower the next generations with tools for early detection and prevention of deadly diseases leading to longer and healthier lives.

  • Bonita Sharma

    Nepal Innovator

    Inspired by her mum's determination to obtain a degree despite pressure to become a housewife, Bonita Sharma helps educate and empower women and girls in her native Nepal.

    In a bid to tackle child deaths to malnutrition, she designed Nutribeads, a bracelet for new mums with different coloured beads to remind them what to feed their babies. Her projects have been awarded funding from the UNESCO Malala Fund, and she has founded her own organisation to empower women and girls: The Social Changemakers and Innovators.

    There are people in the world who are facing the devastating consequences of inequality in health, education and nutrition right now, and there are women and girls who are working relentlessly to change this status quo. I hope every woman and girl will have an opportunity to reach their full potential in life without any discrimination.

  • Vandana Shiva

    India Environmentalist

    In the 1970s, she was part of a movement of women who threw their arms around trees to prevent them being felled - the original 'tree-huggers'.

    Now a world-renowned environmental leader and winner of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize, the 'ecofeminist' sees women as the custodians of nature.

    I hope that women will lead a transition away from catastrophe and collapse, and sow the seeds of our common future.

  • Pragati Singh

    India Doctor

    When qualified doctor Pragati Singh started researching asexuality, she received messages from women who didn't want to have sex but were facing an arranged marriage.

    So she began organising meet-ups for people looking for non-sexual relationships. She now runs Indian Aces, an online community for asexual people.

    It's time we try increasingly inculcating *feminine* characteristics in our feminism - less 'strong', more 'empathetic'.

  • Lyubov Sobol

    Russia Anti-corruption activist

    Lawyer Lyubov Sobol investigates alleged corruption in Russia, documenting her work through social media and a YouTube channel with over a million subscribers.

    She and other opposition candidates were banned from standing in local elections in Moscow this summer, sparking demonstrations by tens of thousands of young people.

    To be honest, I don't really think about the future. We live in an unpredictable country. Anything can happen here. But in some long-term perspective I do believe that we will win. We will defend our country. Russia will be free and happy.

  • Samah Subay

    Yemen Lawyer

    Samah is a lawyer who has worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances since the war in Yemen started in 2015. She provides legal support to families whose children have 'disappeared'.

    This year her team at Mwatana for Human Rights managed to reunite some of these families, though she continues to advocate for the release and education of many more children still in detention.

    The time will come when people will be convinced in the pointlessness of wars. Then change will come, including legislative changes in terms of the rights of women specifically and Yemeni people in general.

  • Kalista Sy

    Senegal Screenwriter/producer

    Self-taught screenwriter Kalista Sy's TV series Mistress of a Married Man sent shock waves through her home country when it was released earlier this year.

    Dubbed 'Senegal's Sex and the City', the viral sensation features sexually liberated, hard-working and successful female characters who address the struggles of women in West Africa, from polygamy to domestic abuse and mental health issues.

    Despite everything that women go through, despite all the mistakes they had to make, despite all the 'you can't do this', they know they can rise up, and be the best version of themselves - because the future will not be drawn without them.

  • Bella Thorne

    US Actress/director

    This summer, 22-year-old actress and director Bella Thorne released her own topless photos after a hacker threatened to leak them, saying, “It's my decision now, you don't get to take another thing from me.”

    Bella, who has just directed her first porn film, says the abuse of women online can only change if more female content creators are involved in projects that celebrate sexuality.

    The female future for me is finally having equality. Women feel this pressure to say 'yes', like it's instinctual. I think that the female future is finally not having to do that anymore.

  • Veronique Thouvenot

    Chile Health expert

    Veronique Thouvenot leads the Zero Mothers Die initiative.

    It aims to save the lives of pregnant women and their babies through tech, providing women with mobile phones and health information by text. It is run by the Millennia2025 Foundation, of which Dr. Thouvenot is co-founder and scientific director.

    Help save women's lives with Zero Mothers Die!

  • Greta Thunberg

    Sweden Climate change activist

    In August 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg skipped school to protest outside the Swedish parliament. What started as a one-person strike has since spread to a worldwide protest over climate change. Her actions have mobilised activists across the world, with millions of young people taking part in Fridays for Future.

    This year, she travelled by solar-powered boat from Europe to the United States - an epic journey undertaken to encourage others to reduce their carbon footprint. She has also opened up about her diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, saying "given the right circumstances, being different can be a superpower".

    We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

  • Paola Villarreal

    Mexico Computer programmer

    Self-taught computer programmer Paola helped reverse 20,000 racially-biased drugs convictions by developing Data for Justice, a tool with an interactive map comparing police activity in white and minority neighborhoods.

    She won the MIT Innovators Under 35 Latam award for the project.

    There's still time to use data and technology to redistribute power among those that have been historically forgotten. If we don't do so now, data and tech will only automate the status quo and all the biases and inequalities that currently exist.

  • Ida Vitale

    Uruguay Poet

    At 95, poet Ida Vitale is winner of the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world.

    Only the fifth woman to win the prize, she is the last surviving member of the important Uruguayan art movement known as the Generation of '45. She ends one of her most famous poems, Fortune, with the line "To be human and a woman, no more, no less."

    To have been able to speak and walk freely, and existed without mutilation, and entered churches, or not, and read, heard music that is dear to me, to have been at night a being, as in the light of day. (Fortune, 2005)

  • Purity Wako

    Uganda Life coach

    Purity is a modern day 'senga'. The role traditionally sees aunt-figures training brides-to-be in how to sexually satisfy their husbands.

    But Purity wants to shake-up the role, helping Ugandan women feel empowered in their relationships. She is calling for all women to have legal rights in marriage.

    Freedom for women is the salvation of future generations. We cannot continue to live in the past. We need to be loud - there are few women who speak up because they fear the judgement of society. Let's teach these girls to love themselves and believe in themselves.

  • Marilyn Waring

    New Zealand Economist/environmentalist

    Best-known for becoming New Zealand's youngest member of parliament in 1975 aged 23, Marilyn Waring is a pioneer of feminist economics, and author of the groundbreaking Counting for Nothing, which highlighted the value of womens' unpaid work.

    An environmental activist, she was also instrumental in the passing of New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.

    What we decide to measure now is what we will prioritise in the future”, “Underneath the numbers, a philosophical judgement is always being made based on values, not facts." (Still Counting, by Marilyn Waring)

  • Amy Webb

    US Futurist

    Amy Webb is a futurist who advises government leaders and the CEOs of some of the world's largest companies on how to prepare for complex futures.

    In 2015, she decided to make all of her research open source, freely available to the public.

    Our ideas about the future are shaped by our own upbringings, world views and cognitive biases. One reason for humanity's continued struggles is our conflicting visions of how the future should look. The solution to that struggle is inclusivity.

  • Sara Wesslin

    Finland Journalist

    Sara Wesslin is a Skolt Sami journalist. The Sami are the only indigenous people in the EU.

    Realising two of Finland's three Sami languages were on the brink of extinction, Sara successfully lobbied Finland's education minister to provide funds for Sami language teaching. She is one of only two journalists broadcasting in the Skolt Sami language in the world.

    I feel it that Skolt Samis are moving forward. We are very proud of our culture, we are very proud of every single language speaker. I think it's going to be a very powerful culture still, even though we are a minority.

  • Gina Zurlo

    US Scholar of religion

    Having studied everything from megachurch social media use to whether women are more religious than men, Gina Zurlo is an expert in religion statistics.

    She is co-director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts, US.

    In a female future, women around the world have complete physical security and can be their own decision-makers socially, economically, and religiously.

How were the 100 Women chosen?

The BBC's 100 Women team drew up a shortlist based on names gathered by them and suggested by the BBC's network of World Service languages teams. We were looking for candidates who had made the headlines or influenced important stories over the past 12 months, as well as those who have inspiring stories to tell, achieved something significant or influenced their societies in ways that wouldn't necessarily make the news. The pool of names was then assessed against this year's theme - the Female Future - and measured for regional representation and due impartiality, before the final 100 were chosen.

Photo copyrights: Karolina Kuras, Hans Jørgen Brun, Nicola Virzì, Sage Sohier, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Mooreyameen Mohamad, Amelia Allen, Getty Images/Maja Hitij, Getty/Marilla Sicilia, UN, British Swimming, Hauser & Wirth, Oresti, Tsonopoulos, Kawori Inbe, Amal Adam, Matt Kay, Constanza Lavagna, Paula Mitre, Theo Kruse, Venura Chandramalitha, Luis Crispino/Claudia Magazine, Anders Hellberg, Graciela Buffanti, Wakophotography, IBF China, Germana Costanza Lavagna, Neal Hardie, Sharon Kilgannon, Hanna Sotelo, Sumit Kumar Singh, Päivi Mäkelä, Pimienta Films, Siddharth Das, Venura Chandramalitha, Linda Roy by Irevaphotography

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