Now that we’ve made it to March, it’s time to celebrate Women’s History. We can, of course, look to the great contributions from ladies way back in history for inspo, but today we’re taking a look at 11 influential women from around the world who are alive and continuing to make an incredible impact.
1. Minjee Lee from Australia
Golf extraordinaire Minjee Lee has 11 professional wins under her belt, represented Australia at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, and recently won the U.S. Women’s Open. Not yet in her 30s, the Perth native was originally encouraged to try golf at age 10 and has since steadily risen in the ranks as a top global golfer. Last year, Forbes placed Lee at #10 on their list of the highest-paid female athletes.
2. Waris Dirie from Somalia
Born in the Somali desert to a nomadic family, Waris Dirie was only 5 years old when she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). After fleeing a forced marriage at 13, Dirie went to London and was discovered as a model at age 18. Dirie modeled in print for top brands like Chanel, Revlon, and Levis, walked global runways, and even became a Bond girl. Eventually, Dirie spoke out against FGM, which led to her highly impactful career as an international human rights activist against the cruel practice.
3. Bethenny Frankel from America
Though she’s often known as a “Bravolebrity” for her time on The Real Housewives of New York City, Bethenny Frankel is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and mother. Frankel founded her lifestyle brand, Skinnygirl, in 2009, which includes product lines for cocktails, popcorn, condiments, apparel, and more. Her disaster relief organization, BStrong, has raised millions of dollars for disasters like Hurricane Harvey, the Puebla Earthquake, the Covid-19 pandemic response, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
4. Yeonmi Park from North Korea
Born in North Korea, defector and activist Yeonmi Park has shed light on the truth behind life in the Communist country and the struggle to escape it. After she escaped to China, starved and weighing only 60 pounds, Yeonmi’s family eventually resettled in South Korea, where she could gain an education and appeared on a South Korean television show about defectors. Yeonmi is now a naturalized citizen of the United States and shot to fame in 2014 following a viral speech, sparking her career in activism for human rights and the free market.
5. Giorgia Meloni from Italy
Giorgia Meloni made global headlines last year when she became the first female Prime Minister of Italy. Unafraid to voice her opinions on motherhood and traditional family values, she also spoke out to dispel myths about her political leanings. Last year, Forbes listed the 46-year-old premier as #7 on their list of the most powerful women in the world.
6. Guo Pei from China
Guo Pei’s artistic abilities garnered global attention after singer Rihanna wore her yellow gown to the 2015 Met Gala. Guo is considered China’s first couturier and is world-renowned for her lavish embroidery and influence from traditional Chinese designs. Guo’s husband, Jack Tsao, a Taiwanese textile dealer, empowered her to venture into haute couturière instead of tailoring, a decision which has earned Guo numerous awards and accolades, including the opportunity to design costumes for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
7. Pusarla Venkata Sindhu from India
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (a.k.a. PV) is a badminton player who ranks among Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes. At the young age of 27, Sindhu has already shown her athletic strength as India’s first female Olympic silver medalist and has won multiple global tournaments. Among her career accolades, Sindhu has also been featured on many magazine covers, including ELLE and GRAZIA, and has scored endorsement deals with JBL, Panasonic, Gatorade, Bridgestone Tyres, and more.
8. Tatyana Bakalchuk from Russia
Entrepreneur Tatyana Bakalchuk is the founder of Russia’s largest e-commerce platform and Amazon competitor, Wildberries. After meeting her husband, Vladislav Bakalchuk, and having her first of seven children, Bakalchuk created her company to initially sell apparel after discovering how difficult it was to raise children and shop for clothes in person. Her business boomed, and now Bakalchuk is considered Russia’s first self-made female billionaire with an estimated net worth of around $13.3 billion USD.
9. Katalin Novák from Hungary
First woman president of Hungary and youngest to be elected in the country’s history, Katalin Novák assumed office in May 2022. She began her career at Hungary’s Foreign Ministry, became State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities, and was most recently the Minister of Family Affairs until winning her election. A mother to three children, Novák has shared that she believes her husband and children come before politics and that family is the pillar of society.
10. Mo Abudu from Nigeria
A Nigerian media mogul, Forbes has described Mosunmola Abudu as “Africa’s Most Successful Woman,” and The Hollywood Reporter placed her on their list of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television. Abudu founded Ebonylife TV, a pan-African entertainment channel and lifestyle network, which has seen such wide success that it piqued the interest of Netflix and BBC Studios for multiple film deals. Aside from her media expertise, Abudu was also once a brand ambassador for AVON Cosmetics and even headed HR for ExxonMobil.
11. Charlotte Tilbury from England
Founder of the eponymous makeup and skincare brand, Charlotte Tilbury is a leading entrepreneur in the beauty industry. Tilbury got her start in celebrity makeup and went on to launch a YouTube channel in 2012, where she became a household name. Once her brand caught steam, Tilbury saw global critical acclaim for her products which have been featured during Fashion Week, are the favorites of many celebrities and influencers, and even earned her an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). The London native has two children with her husband, George Waud.
Since the role of a woman has evolved over time, it’s hard to place an absolute definition on what a female leader truly looks like. We’ve seen female leadership take on different personas throughout history, whether that’s the valorous biblical story of Queen Esther, Marie Curie’s intelligent discoveries, Margaret Thatcher’s trailblazing, or women who took a less front-facing role and nobly raised a family, curating a great environment in which their husband and children can thrive. Sometimes, these paths overlap, but sometimes they don’t.
There’s no right or wrong way to be an influential woman, and hopefully, with these examples of modern women making positive impacts worldwide, you can glean some inspiration to carve out your own, unique path, no matter how major or modest those dreams may be.
Readers make our world go round. Make your voice heard in the official Evie reader survey.