#LetsKetchup: 34 inspiring women of 2019 who became the change they want to see

Smrithi Mohan
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inspiring women of 2019

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~ Diane Mariechild. Here is a list of such inspiring women of 2019 who are bringing a change in the world one deed at a time.

The world is house to a number of incredible and groundbreaking women who have surpassed various hurdles in life and are inspiring people around the world to do good and better. From fighting against gender-based bias to working towards protecting the environment, these women are taking the world by storm. Here is a list of 34 of the most inspiring women of 2019.

Here is the list of inspiring women of 2019:

Parveena Ahanger, human rights activist, Indian-administered Kashmir

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Parveena Ahanger, the ’Iron Lady of Kashmir’. Human rights activist, heads the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). Numerous awards for her human rights work. I took her portrait early last year in Srinagar for HUEMN STORIES @_huemn with @pranavkirti. What is happening in Kashmir is brutal. Srinagar, the summer capital is under lockdown, schools and shops are closed, public transport has ceased. Communication to the outside world has been cut off. Militia are patrolling the streets and there is a curfew. Easy to understand the friendship between Modi and Trump. #kashmir #prayer #disappeared #parveenaahangar #parveenaahanger #humanrights #huemnstories #huemn #portrait #indiaportraits #india #activist #activism #humanity #hope #parveena #huemn #huemnstories

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Manal AlDowayan, artist, Saudi Arabia

Manal ALDowayan is a Saudi Arabian contemporary artist, best known for her installation piece Suspended Together from the Home Ground Exhibition at the Barjeel Art Foundation in 2011. 

Kimia Alizadeh, athlete, Iran

Kimia is an Iranian Taekwondo athlete who became the first Iranian woman to win a medal at the Summer Olympics.

Susmita Mohanty, entrepreneur of India’s first private space start-up.

An entrepreneur of India’s first private space start-up, this lady truly aimed for the sky. Her determination and love for space paved the way for many young minds to think out of the box.

Alanoud Alsharekh, women’s rights activist, Kuwait

Alanoud Alsharekh is a Kuwaiti women's rights activist who is a founding member of Abolish 153, a campaign calling to end honour killings in Kuwait.

Marwa Al-Sabouni, architect, Syria

Marwa Al-Sabouni is a Syrian architect and writer who believes that architecture plays a role in maintaining a city's peace.

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MiMi Aung, project manager at NASA, US.

The lead engineer on the JPL Mars Helicopter Scout, the first extraterrestrial aircraft, MiMi Aung is a project manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Nisha Ayub, transgender activist, Malaysia

Her bold action opposing the Malaysian laws that were detrimental to the interest of people to live in peace without being harmed and oppressed was honoured with Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2015.

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(2/2) “I was put in a male prison. Being trans makes you such an easy target. The first morning, I was pushed into a corner by a few men who forced me to perform sex acts on them. The wardens knew what was going on, but they didn’t care. I hadn’t done anything, I hadn’t hurt anyone, yet people were still treating me that way. I just wanted to die. • When I first came out of prison, I was very angry. I was angry with people, and especially angry with men. But as I started to speak up, I realised that it wasn’t just about me. There are loads of transgender women who have gone through the same thing as me in prison. • Trans people are just as human as everyone else. We cry in tears, we bleed red, we have dreams and hopes, we want to be loved and cared for. So haters – keep on hating. Trans life matters.” • Nisha Ayub is the award-winning founder of SEED, Malaysia’s first #trans - led organisation. Hit the link in the bio to meet the rest of our #100women 2019.☝️ #nishaayub

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Sinéad Burke, disability activist, Ireland

A teacher, writer, influencer and activist Sinéad Burke is working towards bringing a change and he aims to tilt the world's camera.

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In September last year, I got an email from @nationalmuseumsscotland about their upcoming exhibition, ‘Body Beautiful’. It’s the first exhibition of its kind - dedicated solely to discussing diversity in fashion, across the societal intersections. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work with the curators and many departments within the Museum, lending some pieces from my wardrobe and creating the world’s first little person mannequin to display them. More on that soon! . . In yesterday’s @guardian, I spoke with Chitra Ramaswamy about the exhibition, which opens next week in Edinburgh, on May 23rd. One of the questions Chitra asked, “Do you find having to be the constant educator of your own life exhausting?” I responded... “If you are in any way diverse, there is a sense that it’s your responsibility to educate the majority. That’s not fair or true. I choose to do this, and I choose it for now.” . .

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Scarlett Curtis, writer and campaigner, UK

A feminist activist has organized the Pink Protest to fight against period poverty and also campaigned to successfully include female genital mutilation in the Children's Act Scarlett Curtis is the face of change and inspiration.

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#AD. My Skin, My Way. Tattoos, fake tan, scabs, bruises, scars that track the history of my life. This body that I’m in hasn’t always been my favourite thing in the world. From the age of 14 - 17 I could only wear size 22 women’s clothes which tented my teenage body. Because of my back condition, the feeling of fabric touching the skin on my back was something I was constantly afraid of. To be 24 and wearing a tight top with my arms out feels a bit like a miracle. @GilletteVenus is asking women to celebrate and honour the skin they’re in and shining a light on women who write their own rules - however you feel, it’s a pretty incredible step for a major beauty brand to focus on helping women to feel confident and comfortable, not inadequate and ashamed. Today I’m grateful to be living in the skin I’m in and living in a world where the brands I use every day have the same morals that I do. Sometimes it’s the little things #MySkinMyWay #MakingWaves ? @ameliaallenphotography

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Ella Daish, environmentalist, UK

The women aiming to reduce period plastic, this UK based environmentalist is trying to persuade government and companies to reduce plastic from the period.

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Throwback to last December when I launched the Eco Period Box and did a reverse advent calendar, filling my box full of eco-friendly period products that were donated to Llamau in January. ? Unfortunately I haven’t had time to do it this year as I’ve been so busy with the #EndPeriodPlastic campaign and meeting more and more councils in Wales about using the period dignity funding on eco-friendly products – exciting! You can still donate in in Dublin, @theecolarder in Edinburgh and @dashvegan in Nottingham who are still doing the Eco Period Box! Please do keep donating eco-products to charities like The Homeless Period and Womens Aid centres across the country! You can also drop off pads to @bloodygoodperiod donation points in The Body Shop stores across the country - they accept eco-friendly brands too! ❤  #EcoPeriodBox

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Lucinda Evans, women’s rights activist, South Africa

Lucinda is known for her nationwide fight to end gender-based violence and femicide. She also has an NGO that works towards helping women who face domestic violence.

Owl Fisher, transgender activist, Iceland

Fisher worked in crafting legislation to expand the rights of trans and nonbinary people in Iceland.

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I used to love sports. I still do. I watched the Olympics and most other major sports event on TV with my mum as a kid, and I was quite active in sports at school. I even became quite good at one point, and competed on a national level in Iceland. There is a wall in my childhood bedroom covered in medals from various age groups in the boy’s division. But despite enjoying sports, I started to withdraw as I grew older due to feeling increasingly distressed about the fact I was trans. I didn’t see how I could maintain any sort of training or career as a trans person, and I feared I would be ridiculed and stigmatised. If I had known that it didn’t have to be the end of any sort of potential athletic career, I might have continued. Maybe in a parallel universe I did. But I can certainly testify that through hormone therapy, I have lost any sort of advantage I might have had over cis women. I’ve always been naturally strong, but it’s quite obvious that I don’t have the same ability and strength now as I did. That was quite hard for me to come to terms with. This banal discussion about trans people in sport is therefore immensely frustrating, and based on fear and baseless concern about some alleged superiority of trans women in terms of physical abilities. If that was the case, then surely we’d have trans women in droves dominating in sport. The reality is that trans people more often than not quit sport, and let go of their dreams due to stigma, discrimination, inaccessibility and harmful misinformation. ? by @alonglines. #trans #transgender #nonbinary #nonbinarytrans #queer #lgbt #lgbtqia #sports #transinsport #transandproud #wewontbeerased #thisiswhatnonbinarylookslike #thisiswhattranslookslike #athlete #sport #competitivesports

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Jalila Haider, lawyer, Pakistan

The founder of the organisation 'We the Humans - Pakistan', is a human rights activist, attorney and rights defender from Quetta, a city in the province of Balochistan, Pakistan.

Holly Austin Smith, sex trafficking survivor, US

A sex trafficking survivor, Holly an author is trying to educate and inform the world about sex trafficking and how it is not just the problem of a developing country.

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Aranya Johar, poet, India

Human rights activist and the founder of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) Parveena Ahanger is known as the Iron lady of Kashmir who fought for her brother with grit and persistence.

Also Read: 11 Photographers of the decade who captured our hearts

Ahlam Khudr, protest leader, Sudan

A protest leader, Ahlam is fighting for the children who have disappeared or have been killed in Sudan, after the death of her 14-year-old son.

Lauren Mahon, cancer campaigner and co-host of podcast You, Me and The Big C, UK

Known for her podcast 'You, Me and the Big C' that began its broadcast while she was fighting triple-negative breast cancer. She discussed the various treatments and issues related to the illness.

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Stepping Out ?? Oh You Thought This Post Was Another Style One? Wrong My Friends. Oh So Wrong. You See I’ve Got You Here Under False Pretences. Tomorrow Is An Opportunity For Real Change. Your Country Needs You To Step Out. Show Up. To The Polling Stations. Especially If You’re Female Under 30. You Have The Power To Tip The Scales. As I’ve Said In Previous Posts. IMO Voting Based On Mudslinging Ain’t On. Each Party Will Have Their Downfalls. No Version Of Biggetry, Racism Or Homophobia. Is Any Worse Than The Other. It’s Vile. You May Not Be Team Jezza. Like I’m Not Team Boris. But It’s Unlikely Either Of Them. Will Be Acting Prime Minister. For Very Long Once The Dust Has Settled. Regardless Of The Party Voted Into Power. What We Need Is To Look At Party Policy. Who Is Getting Us Closer To Where We Want To Be? Let’s Look At Where We Are Right Now Shall We. Since Tories Came Into Power There Have Been... 800 Libraries Closed. 40% Fewer Police Community Support Officers. 20,000 Fewer Police. 11,000 Fewer Firefighters. 859 Children’s Centres Closed. 940 Youth Centres Closed. 850 Public Loos Closed. 1,224 Bus Services Stopped. Hate Crime Incidences Have Tripled In Ten Years. Pretty Much Across The Board By The Way. And Crucially Guess How Many Paid Political Ads. That Tories Have Submitted To Facebook. Have Been Rejected Owing To Being. Quote. “Indecent, Dishonest & Untruthful” By First Draft? 5,952 Pal. FIVE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO. Guess How Many Labour Have Had Rejected? Zero. Nada. Ziltch. None. The Tories Are Lying To You Bruv. They Are Selling Your NHS. Closing Your Public Services. They Don’t Care About You Or Those You Love. Please PLEASE Look Into Voting Tactically. The Link To Check Your Constituency Is In My Bio. I’ll Be Voting For The Party. Who Wants To Fundamentally Better Things. For Everyone. I’ll Be Voting @UKLabour. OBVS. I’ve Lost 300+ Followers Since The Election Chat. And I’ll Be Honest. If You Ain’t Down I Don’t Want You Here. Being Apolitical In These Times. Of Political & Moral Turmoil. Is An Act Rooted In Privilege. You Have 24 Hours. Get Informed. Get Voting. GET TORIES OUT.

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Francia Marquez, environmentalist, Colombia

Awarded with Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 for her work stopping the gold mine in her community, Francia Marquez, marched to Bogotá the capital with 80 women who trekked 350 miles and demanded the removal of illegal miners from there.

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La dignidad no tiene precio

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Subhalakshmi Nandi, gender equality expert, India

Fighting her way towards improving gender equality in Asia, Subhalakshmi Nandi is the face of strength and empowerment.

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Trang Nguyen, conservationist, Vietnam

Trang is a wildlife conservationist, environmental activist and a writer who is known for her efforts in saving the wildlife and to stop wildlife trafficking.

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Natasha Noel, yoga expert, India

A yoga guru, motivational speaker and social media influencer Natasha Noel fought depression and mental health issue to become a strong example for many.

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Dear women, You have so much power in you. Dear women You can put make up or no make up at all. Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear woman, You can be a homemaker or be the next CEO if your company OR BOTH! Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women, You can have short hair, long hair or no hair. Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women, You don’t have to have it together all the time. You can share your emotions and be vulnerable. Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women you can smile or always have “resting bitch face” Doesn’t make you less of a woman. Dear women, You can put people in place if they are threatening you. Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women you can make perfect round rotis or know the best places to order from. Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women, You can choose to study in the future or get married (as long as ITS YOUR CHOICE) Doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. Dear women Dont be afraid to take up space. Dear women You can fight for what’s right. Dear women. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Because your voice needs to be heard either in loud cries or silent whispers Your voice, your thoughts your intelligence MATTERS. Dear women no matter how much they kick you, laugh at you, throw you to the ground. You always rise. Because people are afraid of a strong woman. Sometimes even other women are afraid because for so many years we were taught to be inferior. So they’ll call you names and try to ridicule you because you are different. You don’t fit into their stereotypical box. You say it how it is. You’re breaking through the conditioning And they are petrified. Because they can’t stomach YOU becoming something. So no matter what they say or even if they burn you to the ground ... Dear woman, Like a Phoenix rises for it ashes so do you. ? . . Photo credits @twinklepattnaik ? Pratice daily. Stay safe. Stay humble. #youcreateyourownreality

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Avani Chaturvedi

Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi is the first female fighter pilot of India who is inspiring many young girls to aim and fly high.

Megan Rapinoe, footballer, US

Megan Anna Rapinoe is an American professional soccer player who captains Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States women's national soccer team, playing primarily as a winger.

Bonita Sharma, innovator, Nepal

Bonita Sharma is a young change-maker in Nepal who has empowered girls and women in Nepal through her project on nutrition education. 

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Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, India

A brand for feminism, Vandana Shiva is a scholar, gender activist, food-sovereignty advocate and prolific writer.

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Smile, life is too short ?

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Pragati Singh, doctor, India

Suggesting and explaining that asexuality is a thing this young woman established an organisation called, ‘Indian Aces’ to help many by giving them a platform to speak out.

Greta Thunberg, climate change activist, Sweden

Great Thunberg has become a star, inspiring people with her thoughts and her work in fighting towards climate change. She spoke on the issue at the UN Climate Action Summit addressing all the world leaders.

Purity Wako, life coach, Uganda

Purity Wako is a life coach from Uganda who aims to help women in Ugandan women feel empowered in their relationships and is calling for all women to have legal rights in marriage. 

Marilyn Waring, economist and environmentalist, New Zealand

Marilyn is a New Zealand feminist, former politician, author, academic, an activist for female human rights and environmental issues and development consultant.

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"குழந்தையை பெற்றெடுத்த தாய்மார்களை, குழந்தைகளை கவனித்துக்கொள்ள விடாமல், அவர்களை அலுவலகத்திற்கு மீண்டும் வரவ வைக்கும் செயலை நாடுகள் செய்கின்றன. ஒவ்வொரு நாடும் தங்களிம் ஜி.டி.பி-யை உயர்த்தும் முயற்சியிலேயே இருக்கின்றன" - மெரிலின் வாரிங், எழுத்தாளர், நியூசிலாந்து. #100Women #marilynwaring

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We salute and respect each and every one of these amazing human beings.

mayor singer journalist Artist athlete writer lawyer US Yalitza Aparicio designer Parveena Ahanger actor and director Afghanistan. Jalila Haider AI pioneer Alanoud Alsharekh Algeria. Susmita Mohanty anthropologist anti-corruption activist anti-upskirting campaigner Argentina. Raya Bidshahri artist and writer Australia. Hollie bioartist bioethicist Brazil. Jawahir Roble Canada. Swietenia Puspa Lestari cancer campaigner and co-host of podcast You CEO chemistry professor Chile. Greta Thunberg China. Luchita Hurtado China. Maria Ressa clean water advocate climate change activist Colombia. Gina Martin computer programmer computer scientist congresswoman conservationist consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician cyclist Dayna Ash digital equality expert Dina Asher-Smith disability activist diver and environmentalist doctor doctor and scientist DR Congo. Subhalakshmi Nandi economist and environmentalist Ecuador. Lucinda Evans educator Egypt. Ashcharya Peiris Egypt. Maria Fernanda Espinosa engineer entrepreneur environmentalist farmer filmmaker Finland. Gina Zurlo footballer footballer and boxer forensic psychologist founder of anti-heels petition #kutoo fresh food entrepreneur futurist gender equality expert Germany. Hiyori Kon Iceland. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce India. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez India. Benedicte Mundele India. Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman India. Lyubov Sobol India. Pragati Singh India. Trang Nguyen Indonesia. Megan Rapinoe innovator Iran. Katie Bouman Ireland. Lisa Campo-Engelstein Israel. Autumn Peltier Jamaica. Zarifa Ghafari Japan. Aïssata Lam Japan. Asmaa James Jasmin Akter journalist and activist Kenya. Zehra Sayers Kimia Alizadeh Lebanon. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni Lebanon. Nanjira Sambuli life coach Malaysia. Judith Bakirya Manal AlDowayan Marwa Al-Sabouni Mauritania. Soo Jung Lee Me and The Big C Mexico. Ida Vitale microfinance expert monk Nepal. Vandana Shiva Netherlands. Jamie Margolin New Zealand. Amy Webb Nigeria-Bahrain. Rana El Kaliouby Pakistan. Tayla Harris Paralympic swimmer Philippines. Djamila Ribeiro Piera Aiello poet Precious Adams professional boxer project manager at NASA protest leader referee Rida Al Tubuly Roman Catholic nun Russia. Samah Subay scholar of religion scientist screenwriter and producer Senegal. Bella Thorne sex trafficking survivor Sierra Leone. Aranya Johar Singapore. Bethany Firth South Africa. Sister Gerard Fernandez South Korea. Fei-Fei Li space entrepreneur speculative designer Sri Lanka. Danit Peleg Sudan. Amy Karle Sudan. Fiona Kolbinger sumo wrestler Sweden. Lauren Mahon Sweden. Paola Villarreal swimmer Syria. Bonita Sharma Tabata Amaral Tanzania. Lisa Mandemaker Thailand. Mabel Bianco transgender activist Tunisia. Noor Shaker Turkey. Hayfa Sdiri Uganda. Ayah Bdeir Uganda. Marilyn Waring UK-Somalia. Najat Saliba UK. Charlene Ren UK. Ella Daish UK. Julie Makani UK. MiMi Aung UK. Owl Fisher UK. Raja Meziane UK. Salwa Eid Naser UK. Sarah Martins Da Silva UK. Sharan Dhaliwal UN General Assembly Uruguay. Purity Wako US. Ahlam Khudr US. Erika Lust US. Farida Osman US. Francia Marquez US. Gada Kadoda US. Huang Wensi US. Nisha Ayub US. Onjali Rauf US. Sara Wesslin US. Scarlett Curtis US. Sinéad Burke US. Veronique Thouvenot Venezuela. Yumi Ishikawa Vietnam. Natasha Noel Vietnam. Van Thi Nguyen women’s rights activist writer and campaigner writer and equality activist Yemen. Kalista Sy yoga expert