By Erin Valentine
Original post for Legendary Women
Leaders need to be strong, courageous and innovative. Female leaders also need an unbreakable backbone, endurance, and more, to make their voices heard. These ten women are changing and transforming the world, one pioneering idea at a time.
A voice for women in the female-light tech industry, Tracy Chou is a problem-solver who is bringing awareness to the gender imbalance of the tech industry. Chou has started a compilation of the tech industry’s employees, focusing on the lack of diversity in gender. She asked for companies to submit their number of female employees compared to the total employees. Obviously the numbers were sadly low. But, Chou said that this project is a way to mark progress regarding gender representation in the tech industry.
Kira Orange Jones
Kira Orange Jones is a driving force behind reinventing the New Orleans school system. By advocating for better school environments, along with being elected onto the schoolboard, Jones has started changing the idea of education in New Orleans. Named in Time’s 2015 100 Most Influential People, Jones is currently the Greater New Orleans executive director of Teach for America. Jones’s work has transformed the public education in New Orleans, increasing the graduation rate significantly.
Saran Kaba Jones
Originally from Liberia, Saran Kaba Jones is a clean water advocate and a social entrepreneur. As founder and executive director of FACE Africa, Jones has worked to provide clean water to rural and poor parts of Liberia. Jones has been appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for the county of River Cess in Liberia. She also co-founded Empire Group, which creates small-scale businesses in hospitality, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Chanda Kochhar is the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, the largest private bank in India. Known as one of the most powerful women in business, Kochhar is no stranger to leadership and innovation. Also one of the most powerful women in India, Kochhar was named one of Time’s 2015 100 Most Influential People in the World. Kochhar has stated that while the leadership atmosphere in India has changed in the past 30 years, women need to believe in themselves and their ability to have professional and family lives.
Founder of World Pulse, an online communication network that connects and promotes female leaders all over the globe, Jensine Larsen is a social media entrepreneur. An advocate for the use of social media and technology to accelerate women’s global empowerment, Larsen has traveled around the globe, speaking to, meeting, and empowering women to embrace leadership roles in their community.
Janet Mock is an author, editor, and transgender rights activist. A transgender women herself, Mock has worked to create a safe space and understanding for trans voices through social media. Mock also creates transgender-specific programs for the LGBTQ youth center of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, co-director of Caring Across Generations, and the 2014 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award, Ms. Poo has helped make significant change for a variety of causes. Ms. Poo is a strong advocate for improving the long-term care system in the United States. She also was an essential part of the passing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York State in 2010, which guaranteed domestic workers basic labor protections
Hayat Sindi is a Saudi Arabian medical scientist who has been a major influencer for point-of-care medical testing and biotechnology in the world. One of the first female members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, Sindi is also one of the most influential Arabs in the world. She is also a strong promoter of science education in the Middle East, particularly for girls. Drawing from her personal success from education, she promotes the need for equal education.
Dr. Tererai Trent
An advocate for educating women and sending them to school, Dr. Tererai Trent grew up in Zimbabwe with a strong desire to learn. After being married at a young age and having children, Trent still wished to receive her education and go beyond her village. Due to perseverance and a stroke of luck, she was able to get the education she desired. Trent has quite the story of a self-starter, which was featured in the book, Half the Sky. Oprah, after hearing of Trent’ success and having her on her show, donated $1.5 million to Trent so she could build her own school in her old village in Zimbabwe.
Cheery Zahau is a well-known women’s rights activist from Burma, who is currently based out of Thailand. Zahau advocates for equal representation of women in the Burmese government, along with improvements in gender equality in the country overall. Zahau has helped bring international attention to issues such as the Burmese military regime’s use of rape as a weapon. Some of her current positions are leader of the Women’s League of Chinland and an advocacy officer at the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma.