Who run the world? 10 women who smashed the glass ceiling in 2021
It is still a male-dominated world. Maybe. But look out for those rule-breakers, the innovators and those who absolutely shattered the glass ceiling to bits this year.
For these women, the year was 2021, to bridge the gender gap and to be heard loud and clear. This was also the year to inspire all those who are still fighting their way to the top.
So let's celebrate the 10 women who made us proud this year:
Kamala Harris, United States
Harris, 57, became the first woman in the history of the United States to be elected vice president. Not only that, but she was also the first woman of colour to make it to the senior government position.
On the day of her victory, a video of an elated Harris went viral on social media, where she could be heard congratulating soon-to-be US president Joe Biden. “We did it, Joe,” she said into her cell phone.
All we would like to say is: Yes YOU did Kamala. Yes, you did.
Lt Gen Nigar Johar, Pakistan
The year could not close without a Pakistani woman making history, now could it?
In November, all eyes were on Lieutenant General Nigar Johar, who was appointed Pakistan's first female Colonel Commandant of the Army Medical Corps.
On the day of the announcement, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the appointment of Lt. Gen. Johar was “a matter of immense pride for the Pakistan Army and the country.”
Indeed it is.
Sarah Thomas, United States
Women did not lag behind in the world of sports either.
In February, Sarah Thomas, 47, became the first full-time female referee to officiate in a Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League and one of the biggest sporting events in the United States.
Earlier, Thomas had told CBS News: “I've always said that if you do something because you love it and not try to prove somebody wrong or get recognition for it, the recognition is probably just going to happen.”
Chloé Zhao, United States
This year, women were not only taking a hammer to the glass ceiling, they also ensured that the world stood up and took notice of their achievements.
Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe Award for best director. The 39-year-old filmmaker won the accolade for her movie, Nomadland, which is a unique look into the nomadic life in America. Zhao not only directed the award-winning film but also wrote, edited, and produced it.
Now that is called multitalented!
Jasmine Harrison, United Kingdom
Jasmine Harrison became the youngest woman in history to row solo across an ocean. She is only 21-years-old. Harrison, who is a swimming teacher by profession, completed the journey in 70 days, 3 hours, and 48 minutes.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, United States
In March, Nigerian-American economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman, as well as the first person from Africa, to head the World Trade Organisation. This was the first time a woman was appointed to lead the entity since it was founded in 1995.
Now that is a boss lady!
Zara Mohammed, United Kingdom
British-Muslim Zara Mohammed became the first-ever female, and the youngest Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest Muslim representative body in the Kingdom. On her appointment, Mohammed told The Guardian: "I really want to be a champion for Muslim women. You always start with yourself before telling everybody else what they have to do.”
Simone Biles, United States
“Impossible?” The word doesn’t figure in Simon Biles’ dictionary. The American artistic gymnast became the only woman this year, yes we said ONLY, to complete a Yurchenko double pike vault at the US Classic. The 24-year-old has made history.
The gravity-defying move is considered one of the toughest to accomplish and no woman before Biles had ever even attempted it.
Kaja Kallas, Estonia
Kaja Kallas, 44, became the first woman ever to be elected as Estonia's prime minister. According to Global Citizen, after taking office, Kallas also appointed women to head the foreign and finance ministries of the country but stressed that the women she had chosen earned their positions because of their skills and competence, not their gender.
Harnaaz Sandhu, India
India's Harnaaz Sandhu won the Miss Universe contest and became the first contestant from her country to win the title after a gap of 20 years.
While most people across the globe believe that winners of the competition are chosen solely based on their looks, Sandhu, 21, said that critics need to understand that pageants are not just about beauty.
"It's about having the courage to bring a difference in society and having the courage to represent yourself and know you're strong enough to go with your opinions in front of the whole universe," she said.
During the competition, Sandhu also spoke about climate change and revealed that she would aim to convince people about its devastating effects.