The World Today
1 April 2015 , Volume 71, Number 2

Meet 40 of the new generation of women around the world who are making their mark in politics, business, technology and media


Huma Abedin A long-time aide to Hillary Clinton; she was the US Secretary of State’s deputy chief of staff and before that, travelling chief of staff during Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. 

Lynsey Addario An American photojournalist. She recieved the MacArthur Fellowship in 2009, and her work in Waziristan in 2008 led to the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. She won the Getty Images grant for editorial photography in 2008 for her work in Darfur and the Infinity Award in 2002 by the International Centre of Photography.

Ayah Bdeir The founder and chief executive of littleBits, modular electronics that snap together with magnets. Bdeir is considered one of the leaders of the Maker Movement and Open Hardware Movement and a proponent of an open ‘Internet of Things’, which aims to develop royalty-free, open source standards.

Sangeeta Bhatia An Indian American biological engineer and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She developed a system to detect cancer that works like a pregnancy test, and is the director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies.

Rachel Botsman The author of What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live. She coined the term ‘collaborative consumption’, which has been named by TIME as one of the ‘10 ideas that will change the world’, and her TED talks on the subject have been viewed more than two million times.

Lisa Brown The Michigan State Representative, who was banned from the statehouse floor for saying the word ‘vagina’ in an abortion legislation debate.

Kimberly Bryant The founder of Black Girls Code, which aims to encourage young black girls and other minorities to pursue an interest in computer programming.

Stella Creasy A British Labour politician who has served as MP for the Walthamstow since 2010. She gained notoriety in Britain after lobbying Twitter to address harassment on the social networking site.

Mona Eltahawy An Egyptian-American journalist and commentator based in New York City. She has written essays and comment pieces for publications worldwide on Egypt and the Islamic world, including women’s issues and political and social affairs. 

Vijaya Gadde Twitter’s general counsel, and one of only  two women on Twitter’s executive team. When the Turkish government blocked Twitter in March 2013, Gadde and her 90-strong legal team filed lawsuits in local courts, eventually getting the block lifted.

Liv Garfield Chief executive of Severn Trent Water, and on the board of Tesco. She was the youngest female chief executive on the FTSE at 39, and is one of only five women represented on it. In 2014, Fortune named her the 14th most powerful woman in the EMEA region.

Xiaolu Guo A Chinese novelist and filmmaker. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, a list drawn up once a decade. Her latest book, I am China, is longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Nikki Haley The first woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina and the youngest current governor in the US. She is one of two sitting Indian-American governors.

Rachel Haot The first chief digital officer for New York City and currently deputy secretary for technology for the state. One of her first projects was creating a digital roadmap of the city.

Charlotte Hogg Chief operating officer at the Bank of England since 2013. She previously worked for McKinsey in Washington for Morgan Stanley, and for Experian as managing director UK and Ireland. 

Elizabeth Holmes An American health technology entrepreneur and the founder and chief executive of Theranos, a revolutionary blood analytics company valued at $9 billion. Theranos’s technology requires only a finger prick of blood to run up to 30 lab tests.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian President and chief executive of Women’s World Banking, the global non-profit organization devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity.

Amy Jadesimi The MD of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base, a port and support location for the oil and gas industry. It is Nigeria’s only indigenously-owned operator in this field.

Naomi Klein A Canadian author, journalist and social activist renowned for her political analyses and criticism of globalization. She is best known for No Logo, an international bestseller, and The Shock Doctrine, a critical analysis of the history of neo-liberal economics. Her latest book is This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, is a New York Times non-fiction bestseller.

Lara Logan A South African war reporter, she is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News and appears on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

Ellen MacArthur The round-the-world yachstwoman is founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which raises awareness of global resource constraints, and promotes the ‘circular economy’ movement, in which products and buildings are designed with reuse in mind.

Anna Cecilia Malmström A Swedish politician who has served as European Commissioner for Trade and before that for Home Affairs.

Pia Mancini An Argentine political scientist and digital activist. She is the co-founder and director of Net Democracy, a not-for-profit organization that explores ways of improving civic engagement through technology. The foundation’s first project is Democracy OS, an online platform for debating and voting on political issues. 

Marissa Mayer Joined Google in 1999 as employee No 20 and was the company’s first female engineer. She is president and chief executive of Yahoo!, positions she has held since July 2012.

Louise Mushikiwabo The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda. She also serves as government spokeswoman. She was previously Minister of Information.

Elizabeth Nyamayaro The senior adviser to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Head of UN Women, and is Head of the @HeforShe Campaign, a movement aimed at getting men, not just women, to champion gender equality. She recruited the actress Emma Watson to the campaign.

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon Worked for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign as battleground states director, where she helped him win all but one of the contested states. She was deputy campaign manager for Obama in 2014. She is now a partner at Precision Strategies, a political consultancy, and serves on the board of Organizing for Action, Obama’s issue-advocacy organization.

Ory Okolloh A Kenyan activist, lawyer, and blogger. She currently holds the position of director of investments at Omidyar Network. She was formerly the policy manager for Africa with Google. In 2006 she co-founded the parliamentary watchdog site Mzalendo, which sought to increase government accountability. 

Isabelle Olsson A senior industrial designer for Google. She was the lead designer of the Google Glass product.

Maya Penn A 15-year-old entrepreneur, TED speaker, philanthropist, animator, and coder. She is the chief executive of Maya’s Ideas, which creates eco-friendly clothing that is sold all over the world.

Samantha Power She came to prominence as a journalist covering the Yugoslav wars, and has been the US Ambassador to the UN since 2013. Barack Obama described her as ‘one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy’.

Catherine Rampell Writes on data-driven journalism for The Washington Post. She previously worked at The New York Times as an economics reporter, founding editor of the award-winning Economix blog, and guest columnist for The New York Times magazine’s ‘It’s the Economy’ column. 

Dana Reizniece-Ozola The Minister of the Economy of Latvia and a chess grandmaster.

Stephanie Schriock An American political strategist and president of Emily’s List, a political action committee that helps elect female pro-choice Democratic candidates. Under her guidance, Emily’s List raised more than $52 million and helped to secure the election of record numbers of women to the House of Representatives and Senate. 

Ajaita Shah The founder of Frontier Markets, which brings clean energy to low-income families in India by replacing kerosene lamps with solar power. Shah trains local people to educate and sell to rural households, creating entrepreneurs in the process.

Shiza Shahid The Stanford graduate and McKinsey consultant, below, became the chief strategist, for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, who went on to win the Nobel Peace prize for promoting female education. Together they founded the Malala Fund to turn their vision for girls’ education into reality. 

Kyrsten Sinema A former Phoenix social worker, and now Democratic congresswoman for Arizona. She is the first openly bisexual person elected to the US Congress and has campaigned against two referendums to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona.

Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide A Norwegian politician who has been Minister of Defence since 2013. She is a member of the Conservative Party of Norway. 

Debbie Sterling A Stanford graduate and the creator of GoldieBlox, an interactive book series and construction set which aims to inspire the next generation of female engineers.

Emily White Chief operating officer of Snapchat, a photo messaging app, and previously a protégé of Sheryl Sandberg at Google and then Facebook.