125 Women of Impact


Our women of impact hail from all over the globe: from Malawi to Egypt, Burma to Afghanistan, India to the United States. Some of their names have been splashed across headlines; others have toiled unheralded. They've balanced remarkable careers with a passion for freedom. Many of their stories are harrowing--all are inspiring.

From CEOs charging headfirst into innovation to activists rallying against human-rights abuses, these women will influence countless generations. Their accomplishments are sometimes Herculean displays of physical endurance, like the saga of Claire Lomas, who overcame paralysis to complete a marathon. Others are boundary breakers, like Ellinah Wamukoya, Africa's first female bishop, or the U.S. female combat veterans who sued to win the right to fight on the front lines. Each of their successes proves that the action of a few can ripple outward. As they tackle global challenges, they're enfranchising women, encouraging them to rise up and to raise up each other.

Also on our list this year are 25 girls under 25 who are defying traditional roles and fighting for their right to a brighter future. Already they are making their mark on the world. Despite opposition of all kinds, none of these women will be silenced--proof that in 2013, there's nothing that women can't do.

JOYCE BANDA

MALAWI'S MADAME PRESIDENT

WHEN JOYCE Banda took office last year, she quickly became the darling of the global-health set thanks to her revolutionary Safe Motherhood initiative. Malawi is making huge investments in training for nurses, building better clinics, and bringing local chiefs on board to champion safe childbirth practices in their villages.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS

HEALTH-CARE CZAR

AS THE secretary of Health and Human Services since 2009, Kathleen Sebelius was one of the biggest supporters of the effort to redesign health care in America. The former governor of Kansas is now charged with the monumental task of implementing Obamacare. It's a landmark position that gives her the power to affect the lives of millions of people, including women who were previously discriminated against with higher health-care costs.

SHEIKHAS MOZAH AND AL-MAYASSA

QATAR'S CULTURE QUEENS

IN THE tiny emirate of Qatar, Sheikhas Mozah and Al-Mayassa are wowing tastemakers by investing in top-notch educational facilities and spectacular new museums by the likes of I.M. Pei.

MARAA SANTOS GORROSTIETA

MEXICO'S DRUG-WAR MARTYR

AS MAYOR of the small town of Tiquicheo, Maria Santos Gorrostieta spoke out fearlessly against Mexico's cartels. She paid for her bravery with her life: in November, she was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by unknown assailants.

MAO HENGFENG

CHINA'S ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST

AFTER REFUSING to abort her third baby under China's strict one-child policy, Mao Hengfeng has become one of the country's most outspoken activists and has braved jail to speak out about Beijing's myriad human-rights abuses.

TAVI GEVINSON

FASHION BLOGGER

SHE STORMED the fashion world at just 11 years old. Since then, Tavi Gevinson has launched Rookie, a magazine about pop culture, fashion, and feminism aimed at teenage girls that celebrated its first anniversary last September. Media critics give Gevinson high praise. She was even recently featured in the PBS series Makers: Women Who Make America.

FATOUMATA DIAWARA

MALI'S PIED PIPER OF PEACE

WHEN JIHADISTS seized control of Mali's north, instituting harsh Sharia law and banning music, 30-year-old chanteuse Fatoumata Diawara fought back with a song: "Mali-ko (Peace/La Paix)," a rousing battle cry calling on Malians to rise up and save their culture from the fundamentalists.

PARK GEUN-HYE

SOUTH KOREA'S COMMANDER IN CHIEF

IN A country still dominated by patriarchy, Park Geun-hye made history in December as South Korea's first female president. …

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