From CEOS and politicians to humanitarians and athletes, we profile 30 extraordinary women in leadership including Reese Witherspoon, Jacinda Ardern and Queen Rania Al Abdullah who are smashing glass ceilings for gender diverse world.
The politician: Jacinda Ardern
The 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand is proof the world is better with women in power.
Ardern was the world’s youngest female head of state when she was elected, at just 37. But her commitment to equality and justice has endured for decades.
The activist: Greta Thunberg
She may only be 17-years-old, but Greta Thunberg is capturing the attention of the world’s most powerful leaders.
The 17-year-old Swede rose to prominence when she began publicly voicing her passionate opinions on climate change inaction.
The CEO: Shemara Wikramanayake
Starting her career as a corporate lawyer, little did Shemara Wikramanayake think she would become Australia’s best paid CEO.
With a salary of A$18 million, she scored the title after becoming head of Macquarie Group in July 2018 – an achievement that was also a first for a woman.
The producer: Reese Witherspoon
The actress is on a mission to diversify Hollywood.
As Hollywood award ceremonies continue to draw flack for poor diversity, with few female filmmakers recognised this year, Hello Sunshine’s success is an important step forward for recognition of women’s stories.
The creative: Dominique Crenn
She might be the first female chef in the US to attain three Michelin stars and hold the title of The World’s Best Female Chef (2016), but Dominique Crenn would rather her gender stayed out of the story.
The chef-proprietor of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco believes the first step towards a more equal workforce is to stop adding the word ‘female’ to job titles.
The writer: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, and grew up in the house in Nsukka previously occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe.
Perhaps she absorbed the spirit of Achebe, for she showed a flair for writing from an early age – a talent that has taken her to stages around the world and her books into millions of homes.
The scientist: Kriti Sharma
Sharma displayed her talents early on, growing up in Rajasthan, India, where she was building robots and computers from spare parts by the time she was 15.
Impressive though that was, her talents weren’t to be limited to mechanical aptitude. Now just 31, Sharma has proved herself a leader in how we think about artificial intelligence.
The athlete: Ash Barty
It’s taken a long time, but a young Australian has finally risen to the top of the tennis world.
Young Australian of the Year 2020, Barty has reached number one in women’s professional tennis while managing to avoid many of the traps such success can lay for the unwary. As such, she has become an inspiring role model for women around the world.
The humanitarian: Queen Rania Al Abdullah
An advocate of protecting children’s rights, educating girls and empowering women, Queen Rania Al Abdullah uses her wide reach as the wife of the King of Jordan to bring social justice and gender equality centre-stage.
One of the biggest lessons the Jordanian royal believes we can do is life each other up, with the 49-year-old sharing her throne with younger women.