The BBC Just Revealed the World’s 100 Most Inspirational Women

The BBC Just Revealed the World’s 100 Most Inspirational Women
The BBC Just Revealed the World’s 100 Most Inspirational Women


The BBC 100 Women list was released on Monday and covers the stories of influential women in over 60 countries. It focuses specifically on heroic women fuelled by passion to change the world around them — as well as those whose achievements have been overshadowed by more famous male siblings.

Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes Some of the women, bring stories of achievement against the odds – from the British woman who used her jail time to create an inspiring business, to the Afghan girl who was almost swapped for a boy.  Others speak about what they will be putting in the Freedom Trash Can – our digital bin for all the items women feel hold them back.

Here are some exmples of the women who made it to the list:

1) Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, 33 – Social impact entrepreneur, Nigeria.

Abisoye is the founder of GirlsCoding, an NGO that teaches girls how to code, design and build websites that help solve problems in their communities.  

2) Esraa al-Shafei, 32 – Executive director of not for profit, Bahrain.

Esraa has founded a diverse number of digital platforms to give a voice to those under-represented in the Middle East and North Africa.

3) Svetlana Alekseeva, 18 – Model, Russia.

Svetlana survived a fire that burned almost half her body and now works to help people with scars feel positive about their bodies.

4) Lizt Alfonso, 51 – Director and choreographer, Cuba.

Lizt has created an internationally recognised fusion dance company which has performed in hundreds of cities across the world.

5) Nimco Ali, 35 – Writer and activist, Somaliland.

Nimco is an award-winning FGM (female genital mutilation) activist.

6) Isabel Allende, 76 – Author, Peru.

Isabel, who was born in Peru to Chilean parents, is the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author and has sold more than 70 million books in 42 languages.

7) Boushra Yahya Almutawakel, 49 – Artist, photographer and activist, Yemen.

Boushra is the first female Yemeni professional photographer, whose work has been featured in international publications and acquired by the British Museum.

8) Alina Anisimova, 19 – Student programmer, Kyrgyzstan.

Alina leads the Kyrgyz Girls’ Space School, which aims to send the country’s first satellite into space.

9) Frances Arnold, 62 – Professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry, US.

Frances is the recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and her work on enzymes is used in laboratories, making everything from advanced medicines to biofuels and laundry detergents.

10) Uma Devi Badi, 54 – MP, Nepal.

Uma is from the Badi community, which is considered “untouchable” in Nepal, and is working to change that perception.

11) Judith Balcazar, 65 – Retired fashion designer, UK.

Judith ran several fashion companies before going on to co-found the company Giggle Knickers, which makes special underwear for women who suffer from urinary incontinence.

12) Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, 28 – Lawyer, Peru.

Arlette became the face of the NiUnaMenos (Not One [woman] Less) movement against domestic violence in Peru after a video of her being attacked by her boyfriend went viral.

13) Leyla Belyalova, 61 – University lecturer, Uzbekistan.

Leyla is a university lecturer working to preserve Uzbekistan’s mountain ecosystems and protect bird species, including raptors.

14) Analia Bortz, 51 – Doctor, rabbi and bioethicist, Argentina.

Analia is a doctor and bioethicist dedicated to the holistic treatment of women struggling with infertility.

15) Fealofani Bruun, 35 – Yachtmaster, Samoa.

Fealofani is the first Samoan and the first Pacific woman to hold the position of yachtmaster, and looks after a traditional voyaging canoe.

16) Raneen Bukhari, 31 – Curator and social media manager, Saudi Arabia.

Raneen is a curator and art consultant, who also works for her family’s design business.

17) Joy Buolamwini, 28 – AI artist/researcher, Canada.

Joy is a ‘poet of code’, using art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence.

18) Barbara Burton, 62 – CEO of BehindBras, UK.

Barbara set up BehindBras, giving women prison leavers skills to start careers in the fashion industry, after finding herself behind bars in her late 50s.  

19) Tamara Cheremnova, 62 – Author, Russia.

Tamara lives with cerebral palsy, and writes fairy tales, earning her the nickname of “Storyteller of Siberia”.

20) Chelsea Clinton, 38 – Vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, US.

Chelsea is the author of numerous books and the vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders.

BBC's 2018 100 Most Inspirational Women. Next 20 women (21-40) on the 100 women list
BBC’s 2018 100 Most Inspirational Women. Next 20 women (21-40) on the 100 women list

21) Stacey Cunningham, 44 – President, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Group, US.

Stacey is the 67th president of the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first woman to hold the position in the company’s 226-year history.

22) Jenny Davidson, 50 – CEO of Stand Up Placer, US.

Jenny helps survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and runs a shelter which accepts survivors and their pets.

The full list can be access here.