Activist, blogger and self-described “genderqueer,” Ghazzawi was arrested over a week ago for her vocal criticism of the Syrian government crackdown. Many speculate she invited trouble by using her own name on both twitter and her blogs, as opposed to a protective alias. Not only is she brave, but she is also selfless. According to this NYTimes article, to prepare for potential arrest she gave full access to her accounts to friends so that no one else would be targeted simply for knowing her. As of today, she is still in captivity.
Bier is not only one of the most preeminent film directors in Denmark, she has gained international attention with two Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. After the Wedding received a nom in 2006 and then in 2010 In a Better World won the award. Her 2002 film Open Hearts adhered to many principles of the Danish naturalist film movement Dogme 95. She continues to embrace the honest and fundamental philosophies of the movement in her storytelling.
Though born and raised in Denmark, she studied art and architecture in Jerusalem. She returned to her home country to attend the National Film School.
In September of 2011, Leymah Gbowee was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her
"non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."
Born and raised in the African nation of Liberia, Gbowee’s peace activism is credited with helping bring the Second Liberian Civil War to a close in 2003. She shared the award with Yemini activist Tawakkul Karman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - who was elected president after the end of the war, making her the first ever female president of an African nation.
Gbowee began her career in trauma healing, before moving on to leading a women’s mass movement. The Daily Beast profiled her for their Women in the World project, learn more about her story here.
Marathon runners believe that their efforts become particularly difficult after the “35 kilometer mark,” she said, adding, “but they also say that you can get to the finish if you are conscious of the magnitude of the task from the very start.”
She may be the leader of a key player in Europe’s budget crisis, but Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has been at the forefront of European politics for a while now. Comparisons are drawn to former British PM Margaret Thatcher, and not just because they are the only 2 females to chair the G8 summit.
Whether or not you agree with all of her politics, it’s difficult to deny her positive international influence. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Forbes has named her the Most Powerful Woman in the World 5 times since her election in 2005.
The imminent deterioration of the Euro system has landed her in the pages of the New York Times a lot lately, but as a beacon of light in the continental financial storm.
Today is World Aids Day, but for activists like Burma’s Phyu Phyu Thin, every day is dedicated to fighting Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome in her home country. In addition to operating a clinic in Yangon that gives treatment and counseling to HIV/AIDS patients, she is a vocal supporter of Burma’s National League for Democracy. It is through this organization she initiated an HIV/AIDS project. Her support of this organization also landed her in prison for two months in 2007.
As of 2011, it is estimated 240,000 Burmese are afflicted with HIV or AIDS and according to NGO estimates as few as 10% receive treatment. Despite government antagonism, Phyu Phyu Thin continues her efforts to spread awareness about the disease and increase the percentage of those treated.
Swedish recording artist Robin Miriam Carlsson (aka Robyn) makes the kind of pop music you want your daughter to listen to - honest, empowering, unapologetic and damn catchy. Not only does she write her own stuff, she started her own label. She’s also a UNICEF ambassador and performed at the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize concert.