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9 Inspiring Women You Should Know About In 2022

From inspiring a revolution for freedom in Iran to working to end FGM and child marriage in Kenya, women around the world demonstrated courage, dedication and resilience in the fight for justice and equality this year.

From inspiring a revolution for freedom in Iran to working to end FGM and child marriage in Kenya, women around the world demonstrated courage, dedication and resilience in the fight for justice and equality this year.

Here are just some of the trailblazing women you should know about in 2022.

1. Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska

Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, graced a special digital cover of Vogue, speaking about her marriage, being the first lady and the toll the war has taken on her country.

“These have been the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian,” the 44-year-old former comedy writer said in the interview. “Frankly I don’t think anyone is aware of how we have managed emotionally.”

Zelenska shared the photos from the shoot on her Instagram, writing, “To be on the Vogue cover is a great honor and dream of many successful and prominent people of the world. The only thing I wish for all of them is that it is not because of war in their countries.”

“And now I would like you to see every Ukrainian woman here, in my place. Who fights, volunteers, settles in a refugee camp, does her job under the sound of a siren, holds on under the occupation,” she wrote. “She has the right and deserves to be on the covers of the whole world. Each of you, fellow Ukrainian women, is now the face and cover of our country.”

2. Women In Iran

On Sep. 16, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman, died after she was arrested by “morality” police for allegedly not complying with Iran’s mandatory hijab law.

Hundreds of women in Iran have taken to the streets in unprecedented protests, risking everything to protest for justice for Amini and freedom.

3. Francia Márquez, Colombia’s First Black Woman Vice President

Francia Márquez, a former housekeeper and an environmental activist lawyer, has been elected as Colombia’s first Black woman vice president.

The 40-year-old ran alongside leftist politician and former rebel fighter, Gustavo Petro, and won more than 50% of the votes in the election on Sunday June 19.

Márquez grew up in a conflict-ridden region in the state of Cauca, where she became pregnant at 16 and had to work in gold mines and as a live-in maid to support her child.

She went on to become an environmentalist activist lawyer who campaigned against illegal mining and underrepresentation.

In 2018, she was awarded the Goldman environmental prize for organizing a 10-day march from the Amazon to Bogotá with 80 Black women to call on the government to remove illegal miners, who were polluting the surrounding areas.

4. Kenyan Nurse Anna Qabale Duba

Anna Qabale Duba, a Kenyan nurse who campaigns against child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), was crowned the world’s best nurse for her work.

31-year-old Qabale Duba, a FGM survivor who narrowly escaped child marriage at age 14, now holds a masters in Epidemology and works as a nurse at a hospital in Marsabit, where she works to end harmful cultural practices such as FGM and child marriage.

The only university graduate from her village of Torbi and the only educated child in her family, she is the founder of a community organization that helps improve access to education, health, social services and economic empowerment for girls and women in Kenya.

Under the foundation, she built a school in her village for children to study in the morning and adults in the afternoon.

Besides teaching students how to read and write, the school teaches women about sexual and reproductive health and rights, which has led to a drastic reduction in FGM and early marriage in the community, according to Aster Guardians, the organizers of the Global Nursing Award.

5. Japanese Woman MP Ayaka Shiomura

Ayaka Shiomura, a Japanese woman lawmaker proposed a bill to protect teens from being exploited by the adult industry, despite being laughed at by other MPs.

Shiomura was laughed at during a parliamentary session on March 28 after she called on lawmakers to create a mechanism that would allow young people to void their employment contracts for adult films.

Human rights advocates had raised concerns that a new law would put teen girls at risk of being exploited by the adult film industry, especially those who are being coerced into appearing in adult films.

Shiomura has been lobbying lawmakers to address the loophole since February.

On March 25, almost 40,000 people, including former adult film stars and sex workers, signed and submitted an online competition demanding lawmakers take action on the issue.

6. Swedish Figure Skater Josefin Taljegård

Swedish figure skater Josefina Taljegård defied tradition as the only woman athlete wearing pants for the women’s short program at the Beijing Olympics.

On Tuesday Jan. 15, Taljegård wore a black one-piece suit covered in rhinestones and white details.

She was the only woman among 30 contestants that chose to wear pants.

“I chose it because it fits the music, and also because I feel very strong and confident in this kind of clothes,” Taljegård said.

7. Thai Activist Rapper Milli

Thai rapper MILLI has become a viral sensation after eating mango sticky rice during her debut at the Coachella music festival in California.

19-year-old Danupha Khanatheerakul, known by her stage name MILLI, also made history on Sunday April 17 as the first Thai solo artist to ever perform at Coachella.

As her last song came to an end, the rapper, who is also known for her activism, grabbed a bowl of mango sticky rice and starts eating it on stage.

Her one of a kind performance prompted people to share pictures of the delicious dish, leading the hashtag #MangoStickyRice, to trend on Twitter.

Demand for dessert then skyrocketed on food delivery apps in Thailand, according to the Guardian.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also expressed interest in making the dessert part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Listing at a press conference following MILLI’s performance.

8. British Actress Emma Watson

Actor Emma Watson made a statement in support of trans rights and inclusion while presenting an award at the BAFTA Awards on Sunday Mar. 13.

Watson was introduced on stage by Rebel Wilson, who said, “Here to present the next award is Emma Watson. She calls herself a feminist, but we all know she’s a witch.”

When she reached the podium, Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series by British author J. K. Rowling, said, “I’m here for all the witches, by the way.”

Watson’s comments come just days after Rowling, who has been widely criticized for her anti-trans views, again denied that trans women are women.

9. Dina Boluarte, Peru’s First Woman President

Dina Boluarte became the first woman president of Peru after the former president Pedro Castillo was impeached and arrested in a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday Dec. 7.

Boluarte, a 60-year-old leftist lawyer and Castillo’s vice president, was sworn in to replace him, and pledged to end corruption in the country.

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