Afghans make up half of BBC list of ‘100 most inspiring women’

Published December 8, 2021
A combination photo of Afghan-Canadian entrepreneur Sara Wahedi (L) and former Afghan policewoman Zala Zazai (R). — Photos courtesy Twitter
A combination photo of Afghan-Canadian entrepreneur Sara Wahedi (L) and former Afghan policewoman Zala Zazai (R). — Photos courtesy Twitter

KARACHI: The BBC has released a list of what it says the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women for 2021.

The list comprises women who are hitting “reset” — those who are playing their part in “reinventing our society, our culture and our world”, according to the British news organisation.

Among the women on the list are Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Samoa’s first female prime minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Prof Heidi J. Larson, who heads The Vaccine Confidence Project, and acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Women from Afghanistan make up half of this year’s list, some of whom appear under pseudonyms and without photos for their own safety.

The names on the list are: Lima Aafshid; Halima Aden; Oluyemi Adetiba-Orija; Muqadasa Ahmadzai; Rada Akbar; Abia Akram; Leena Alam; Dr Alema; Sevda Altunoluk; Wahida Amiri; Mónica Araya; Natasha Asghar; Zuhal Atmar; Marcelina Bautista; Crystal Bayat; Razia Barakzai; Nilofar Bayat; Jos Boys; Catherine Corless; Faiza Darkhani; Azmina Dhrodia; Pashtana Durrani; Najla Elmangoush; Shila Ensandost; Saeeda Etebari; Sahar Fetrat; Melinda French Gates; Fatima Gailani; Carolina García; Saghi Ghahraman; Ghawgha; Angela Ghayour; Jamila Gordon; Najlla Habibyar; Laila Haidari; Zarlasht Halaimzai; Shamsia Hassani; Nasrin Husseini; Momena Ibrahimi; Mugdha Kalra; Freshta Karim; Amena Karimyan; Aliya Kazimy; Baroness Helena Kennedy QC; Hoda Khamosh; Mia Krisna Pratiwi; Heidi J. Larson; Iman Le Caire; Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki; Elisa Loncón Antileo; Chloé Lopes Gomes; Dr Mahera; Maral; Masouma; Fiame Naomi Mata’afa; Salima Mazari; Depelsha Thomas McGruder; Mulu Mefsin; Mohadese Mirzaee; Fahima Mirzaie; Tlaleng Mofokeng; Tanya Muzinda; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Lynn Ngugi; Amanda Nguyn; Basira Paigham; Natalia Pasternak Taschner; Monica Paulus; Rehana Popal; Manjula Pradeep; Razma; Rohila; Alba Rueda; Dr Ruksana; Halima Sadaf Karimi; Roya Sadat; Shogufa Safi; Sahar; Soma Sara; Mahbouba Seraj; Elif Shafak; Anisa Shaheed; Mina Smallman; Barbara Smolinska; Ein Soe May; Piper Stege Nelson; Fatima Sultani; Adelaide Lala Tam; Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng; Emma Theofelus; Sara Wahedi; Vera Wang; Nanfu Wang; Dr Roshanak Wardak; Ming-Na Wen; Rebel Wilson; Benafsha Yaqoobi; Malala Yousafzai; Yuma; and Zala Zazai.

Discussing Malala Yousafzai’s inclusion in the list, a BBC article said: “The youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate… is a Pakistani girls’ education activist and UN messenger of peace. She has spoken up for the right of young women to an education since she was 11.

“Her activism began with blogs for the BBC about living under Taliban rule in Pakistan and the ban on girls attending school. In October 2012, a gunman boarded her bus, looking for her, and shot her in the head.

“Following her recovery, she has continued her work as co-founder of the non-profit Malala Fund, aiming to build a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.”

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021

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