LIFESTYLE

BBC '100 Women Of 2016' Highlights A Year Of Defiance For Womankind

'Being a woman doesn’t define me.'

21/11/2016 13:30

If this year has taught us anything it’s that women must challenge the status quo in order to be the change they want to see.

Hillary Clinton may not have won the US election, but the very fact that she became a nominated presidential candidate marked 2016 as the year women thwarted societal expectations. 

With that in mind, it’s not entirely surprising the theme of this year’s BBC 100 Women list is defiance. 

From singer Alicia Keys making a stand against makeup to rugby star Sian Williams becoming Wales’ first full-time female professional player, the list is jam-packed with the most fantastic forms of rebellion. 

APGetty
Alicia Keys, Nadiya Hussain and Paula Hawkins are all named on the list. 

Once again the list is made up of a mixture of female trailblazers, such as entrepreneurs, engineers, sportspeople, business women, fashion icons and artists from all corners of the world.

Famous faces in the list include US gold medal winning gymnast Simone Biles, French politician Rachida Dati and chairman of Santander UK Baroness Shriti Vadera.

Other well-known wonder women include ‘Great British Back Off’ winner and television presenter Nadiya Hussain, ‘Girl On The Train’ author Paula Hawkins and model with vitiligo Winnie Harlow.

The list also includes less well-known, but equally inspirational women, such as Indian business woman Mallika Srinivasan - whose grown her family company into the third largest tractor manufacturer in the world - and Nay el-Rahi - the co-founder of a website that tracks street harassment in Lebabon.

Plus-size model Iskra Lawrence has also been named on the list for catapulting into the limelight with her un-retouched photos and campaigning on body positivity. 

A third of this year’s winning women are under the age of 30, while Saalumarada Thimmakka is the oldest woman on the list at 105 years old. The environmentalist is famed in India for planting more than 8,000 trees in 80 years.

Each of the women named on the list appears with one of her memorable quotes. A few of our favourites include:

  • Alicia Keys
    Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP
    "Everything you want to be you already are, you’re simply on the path to discovering that."
  • Iskra Lawrence
    Emma McIntyre via Getty Images
    "There is only one of you in the world, so stop comparing yourself to others and start celebrating what makes you special."
  • Simone Biles
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "You make your own luck. You make it in training. "
  • Rachida Dati
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "I have built my life on the razor’s edge."
  • Winnie Harlow
    Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
    "Being a woman doesn't define me. Being a black woman doesn't define me. So why should having vitiligo define me?"
  • Paula Hawkins
    Donna Ward via Getty Images
    "Women in their 20s and 30s are confronted by hard choices which most men are not."
  • Nadiya Hussain
    Anthony Harvey via Getty Images
    "I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’". 

The unveiling of the list marks the launch of the BBC’s women season, made up of three weeks of thought-provoking broadcast, online special reports, debates, programmes and journalism.

Fiona Crack, editor of 100 Women season said: “100 Women is now in its fourth year, and we are proud of the platform it has given to many inspirational women – using the reach and journalistic excellence of the BBC to highlight the challenges, opportunities and experiences of women across the world.

“Our main limitation is that we can only name 100. This year I’m particularly looking forward to some of the stories coming from Gaza, Uganda, Nepal and Kazakhstan. We will focus on lots of difficult issues including trafficking, secondary infertility, domestic abuse, harassment and trolling.

“We will also explore the inspiring attitudes of women and girls with features about reimaging ‘sexist’ fairy tales, harnessing the power of grandmas and how to plan a wedding for 3,000 in Africa’s most populous city.”

Follow the #100Women hashtag on Twitter for updates during the season.

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