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10 (S)heroes for the new decade

It's the 2020s and it's a new dawn.

"I'm absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything... living standards and outcomes."

Barack Obama - December 2019. 

Damn straight Obama.

More and more women are stepping into positions as leaders - we explore 10 such leaders for the new decade.

1. Autumn Peltier

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Canadian Indigenous water activist since she was 8, she is now 18. She lives on Wiikwemkoong territory on Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. She has been taking the First Nations message to a global stage, speaking at the UN and around the world.

Canadian Indigenous water activist since she was 8, she is now 18. She lives on Wiikwemkoong territory on Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. She has been taking the First Nations message to a global stage, speaking at the UN and around the world.

“One day I will be an ancestor and I want my descendants to know that I used my voice so that they could have a future.”

Find out more about Autumn and follow her on Instagram here

2. Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez

Youngest women ever voted into Congress in the US - she has been a powerhouse since she took up office, campaigning for a democratic socialist movement in the US. She's taken on oil giants, Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg and even those trying to shame her student dance days.

Follow her steps to Congress and three other women's attempts in the powerful Netflix special Knock Down the House

3. Diana Rios

Indigenous activist and leader from the Peruvian Amazon. Her father along with 3 other Asheninka leaders were murdered in 2014 - Diana Rios has been fighting for justice ever since. She has travelled to France, New York and Washington DC, campaigning tirelessly. Finally in December 2019, five years after the murder the accused are being brought to trial.

This case sets a new legal precedent for persecuting the murderers of environmental defenders around the world.

Find out more about Diana and follow the case

4. Greta Thunberg

Named Time's Person of the Year 2019, this list would be amiss without Greta. Credited with catalysing the youth climate movement, she went from striking on her own in August 2018 to more than 7 million joining her in September 2019. She ended the year with a powerful message, she handed the microphone over to other youth activists at the recent UN climate summit, saying; “It’s really about them. We talk about our future, they talk about their present.”

Follow Greta on Twitter (if you're not doing so already)

5. Nina Gualinga

Indigenous woman leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She's been advocating for climate justice and indigenous rights since she was 8 years old. She was awarded the WWF International President’s Youth award in 2019.

“My inspiration comes from the earth itself, all the beauty of life expressed in so many ways. My motivation comes from the people around me who are fighting every day to protect their families and their home, the Amazonian rainforest."

Find out more about Nina

6. Isra Hirsi

16 year old Isra has activism in her blood. Her mother is Ilhan Omar, part of the Congress "squad", so called "willingness to take on the Washington establishment." Following in her mother's footsteps Isra has played a key role in leading the school climate strikes in the US. In September 2019 across two Fridays more than 7.5 million people around the world went on strike.

"People of color are disproportionately affected by climate change and that kind of just gets ignored. People are living with these things right now...Environmental racism is a really big thing."

 

7. Melati Wijsen

Melati now aged 18, set up Bye Bye Plastic Bags in Bali, Indonesia with her younger sister when she was 12. Inspired by Mandela and Gandhi from school, they took on plastic waste. A 2015 report revealed that Indonesia was the second biggest polluter of plastic marine waste.

They petitioned citizens, local businesses and educational institutions to change their ways. Soon after launching they had promises from the Governor of Bali at the time. 

“As a 17-year-old changemaker, what has been super interesting and a learning curve for me has been learning how to deal with politicians. Dancing with politicians — it’s three steps forward, two steps back, and then again and again. But I understand that we need to be doing it together.”

She has gone on to speak at UN and World Bank meetings. Watch this space.

Follow Melati on Instagram

Watch her TED talk with her sister from 4 years ago

 

8. Jameela Jamil

Described as a "feminist-in-progress", we can't get enough of this powerhouse. From her @i_Weigh body confidence campaign to her sharing personal stories about airbrushing, abortion and activism. This girl is on fire!

She's launching a podcast about shame this year. And we can't wait!

Find out more about Jameela in our earlier blog

9. Zuzana Caputova

Slovakia's first female President took office this year. Lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, Caputova has been hailed as Slovakia's “Erin Brockovich" after a 14 year long trial against a toxic waste dump. The fight earned her a prestigious Goldman Environmental prize in 2016

Her victory comes at a time where other nation states in Central Europe shift further to the right of the political spectrum.

“I am happy not just for the result, but mainly that it is possible not to succumb to populism, to tell the truth, to raise interest without aggressive vocabulary.”

She's a mother of two as well 💪🏼

Watch her award acceptance speech

 

10. Sanna Marin

At 34, she has become the world's youngest Prime Minister, in Finland in December 2019. She heads a coalition of female-led parties. Sanna comes from a modest background, first in her family to go to uni and she started her political career at the age of 20. She has been a rising star ever since. did we mention that she also has a young daughter! Phwoar!!!!

 Let's go girls.

 

 



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