Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez goes indoor skydiving for her birthday Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention More than 200 women, transgender inmates to be transferred from Rikers Island MORE (D-N.Y.), soccer player Megan Rapinoe and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg have each made BBC’s list of this year’s 100 most inspiring and influential women.
The list, released on Wednesday, pays tribute to women across the world who have driven change. The question this year’s list is centered around asks, “What would the future look like if it were driven by women?”
Ocasio-Cortez is listed under the “Leadership” category, which consists of 19 women out of the 100 chosen. Under the post designated to the congresswoman, the BBC notes the 29-year-old's feat earlier this year of becoming the youngest women in history to serve in Congress as well as her campaign against a 10-term incumbent Democrat that marked one of the biggest defeats in last year’s primary season.
“We are fighting for a future where no person is left behind,” Ocasio-Cortez told the BBC. “When people want to stop talking about the issues that black women face, trans women face, immigrant women face, we've got to ask them, ‘Why does that make you so uncomfortable?'”
“Because it's not just about identity, this is about justice. Everyone deserves justice,” she added.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden who sparked demonstrations across the globe in the past year, is one of 14 women listed under the “Earth” category.
Thunberg, who captured international headlines last month after she railed against world leaders at the U.N. summit over their inaction on climate change, told the BBC that people “are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people."
“And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly,” she continued.
Megan Rapinoe, co-captain of the US Women's National Team and a two-time World Cup winner, is one of 13 women who made the list under its “Sport” category. Under her posting on the list, BBC notes the player’s athletic accomplishments as well as her activism for gender pay equality in soccer and other social issues surrounding race and LGBTQ rights.
“If everybody was as outraged about racism as those who suffer it, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay as women, that would be the most inspiring thing for the future to me,” she told the BBC.
The BBC said the list was was compile by its "100 Women team," which "drew up a shortlist based on names gathered by them and suggested by the BBC's network of World Service languages teams."
"We were looking for candidates who had made the headlines or influenced important stories over the past 12 months, as well as those who have inspiring stories to tell, achieved something significant or influenced their societies in ways that wouldn't necessarily make the news," the agency added.
The BBC said the pool of "names was then assessed against this year's theme - the Female Future - and measured for regional representation and due impartiality, before the final 100 were chosen."