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Preet Chandi to Xiomara Castro — meet the women making history in 2022

From politics and justice to sport and entertainment, women in all spheres across the globe are already excelling this year.

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Role models are recognized as crucial to helping the world overcome gender bias and achieve gender equality: if women can see themselves represented, they can do it.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreaktheBias – to promote a world free of stereotyping and discrimination.

And it starts by celebrating the groundbreaking achievements of strong women role models across the planet – who are breaking down barriers to allow others to follow in their footsteps.

Also read: Meet 19th century India’s ‘new woman’—Ramabai Ranade, mix of Marathi tradition and modernity


Maya Angelou

The late American author and activist Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter, when the US Mint started rolling out the coin on 11 January. The coin is part of the American Women Quarters Program, which also includes Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American Hollywood film star, the US Mint told Reuters.

Antonette Wemyss Gorman

Appointed in January as the first woman to run Jamaica’s military, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman has faced down danger and sexism in her 29-year career but hasn’t let gender hold her back. “I was never focused on the fact that I was a woman,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I think a lot of times women make a mistake of focusing on their gender and cause their own limits in what they are doing.”

Xiomara Castro

Xiomara Castro was sworn in as Honduras’s first woman president at the end of January in front of a cheering crowd that included Kamala Harris, US Vice-President. Harris pledged US government support to stem migration and fight corruption in Central America.

Infographic about female political empowerment.
Image: World Economic Forum

Preet Chandi

When British army officer Preet Chandi set off on her solo expedition to the South Pole, she did it to inspire her eight-year-old niece. “I want [her] to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless. This journey aims to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries. By promoting and completing this challenge, it allows me to act as a role model to young people, women and those from ethnic backgrounds.” Chandi is thought to be the first woman of colour to complete the journey unsupported.

Ayesha Malik

Justice Ayesha Malik was appointed Pakistan’s first female Supreme Court judge in January. “An important and defining moment in our country as a brilliant lawyer and decorated judge has become Pakistan’s first female SC judge,” tweeted Maleeka Bokhari, parliamentary secretary for law and a legislator of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. “To shattering glass ceilings,” she added.

Also read: ‘I opened a closed door’ — Fathima Beevi, India’s 1st woman judge in SC who remains an enigma


Hannah Green

Australian Hannah Green became the first woman to win a mixed-gender professional golf tournament, at the TPS Murray River event in her home country. The former Women’s PGA Championship winner battled through gusty conditions to record a five-under-par final round of 66 and break a four-way tie with Andrew Evans, Matthew Millar and Blake Collyer.

Jane Campion

New Zealand film director Jane Campion became the first woman to receive multiple Oscar nominations for best director when she was nominated for The Power of the Dog in February. It comes almost 20 years after she was nominated in 1993 for The Piano. In the history of the Oscars, only seven women have been nominated for best director and only two have won: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland in 2021.

Chloe Kim

At the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Californian Chloe Kim became the first woman to win back-to-back golds in the Olympic snowboard halfpipe.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Federal appellate judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden to become the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. Her nomination on 25 February fulfilled a campaign promise Biden made exactly two years earlier to deliver the historic appointment. He said: “For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America. I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications.” Hearings on Jackson are set to begin on 21 March, in a first step before she can be voted on by the full chamber.

Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content

This article was originally published in the World Economic Forum.

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