Over the years, we have seen successful women stepping up and ruling in all fields. These women have been breaking gender stereotypes and carving new paths for themselves and other women. From excelling in politics to successfully running thriving businesses, many women inspired us in 2020. They have been playing on the forefront and taking the world by the storm with their determination, hard work, and unbreakable willpower. And they truly deserve our appreciation. Here are 12 of the most influential women achievers who made headlines this year.
1. Ngangom Bala Devi
Bala Devi is one of the few Indian women who became a professional football player this year. She currently plays forward for Scottish Women’s Premier League club, Rangers, and India’s national football team. But this year she signed a professional contract and became the first Indian woman to score in a professional football league in Europe. She is also the first Indian footballer to have become the AFC International player of the week in December 2020.
2. Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar
Lt. General Madhuri Kanitkar became the third woman to hold the Lieutenant General rank in February 2020. This rank is the second-highest rank in the Indian Army and she is the third woman officer to get to this position. And not just this, she is also the first woman paediatrician to hold the rank among Indian Army doctors.
3. K.K. Shailaja
K. K. Shailaja has been one of the most influential women achievers of 2020. The Health Minister of Kerala has received a lot of appreciation and applause for her efforts in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. She was even invited and honoured by the United Nations on June 24, 2020, for a panel discussion. Earlier, she had been lauded for her efforts in containing the Nipah virus in 2018.
4. Tanushree Pandey
When the world was kept away from the dark realities and social injustice of the Hathras rape, this journalist was fighting relentlessly to bring out the truth. Tanushree Pandey works with the India Today Group and has been constantly updating every one of the injustices done to the family of the victim. It was because of her brave efforts that the world knew how the victim’s body was burnt by the police in attempted secrecy and in the absence of the family.
5. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier
Jennifer Doudna is an American biochemist, and Emmanuelle Charpentier is a French professor and researcher. The ladies won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for the development of a method for genome editing. The women were the first duo ever to have won a Nobel Prize in Science. This is a revolutionary discovery in the field and has had a major impact on life sciences.
6. Katalin Kariko
Hungarian biochemist Katalin Kariko is the woman behind the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. With almost 40 years of research, this was a breakthrough moment for her. Katalin Kariko is now the new favourite contender to win a Nobel Prize for this breakthrough discovery.
7. Agnes Chow
Popularly known as the ‘Goddess of Democracy’ in Japan, Agnes Chow is a social activist and politician from Hong Kong. Currently, she is serving a sentence of 10 months in jail. But her followers, fellow politicians, and journalists have been by her side supporting her in her fight for democracy. Agnes has been fighting against unfair laws with a commendable spirit, making her one of the top women achievers of this year.
8. Bilkis Bano
Bilkis Bano aka Bilkis Dadi has been the face of the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests. The 82-year-old has also featured in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list. Her determination to fight for equality and justice has made her one of the top women achievers of this year.
9. Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is one of the much-appreciated women achievers on this list. With strict policies and regulations, she led her country through the COVID-19 outbreak this year. The youngest Prime Minister of New Zealand in 150 years, Ardern has been dealing with the crisis with no stone left unturned. She also received a call from Queen Elizabeth II applauding her for her prompt and quick decisions.
10. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris very recently became America’s first female, first Black, and first South Asian Vice President. She made history in the US Senate by becoming the first woman ever to hold that post. And her fierce commitment, belief, and undeterred public services make us look up to her. She will be starting her term alongside President Joe Biden from January 2021.
11. Faye D’Souza
Faye D’Souza is the face of journalism we needed to see in 2020. Unabashed and truthful, Faye attracted eyeballs for her honest and fearless journalism. And not just this year, she has been excelling at her work for many years now. Covering the important topics and picking up issues that matter, she educates her followers without any sugarcoating.
12. The women fighting the virus at home and at work
Millions of women around the world have been the first line of defence against the virus. Whether it’s at home or at work as essential workers, women have borne the brunt of it, from additional housework, acting as teachers for their kids, caregivers for the elderly at home, and making sure their paying jobs stay intact.
These were some of the women achievers who inspired us, tell us who inspired you in the comments below.