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#XOXO2021: 8 Women Who Inspired Us Through The Toughest Year Of The Millennium

Throughout 2020 as the world grappled with the horrors of an unprecedented pandemic, it was the women leaders who led by example. It was reiterated time and again, that countries, states, and cities under women’s leadership fared way better during the crisis in comparison to those led by men. But that certainly wasn’t the only field where these women stole the show. 

While women like Jacica Arden and KK Sahilaja were winning accolades for their COVID-19 response, Kamala Harris was making her way to create history. At the same time, Faye D’Souza and Rana Ayyub were setting an example, in what can be best described as, how it’s effing done!

As challenging as 2020 has been, it clearly gave us some very inspiring women role models. It is the strength and resistance shown by these women that truly defined the year for us and we are pretty sure that it would be the enthusiasm and courage of many like them that would power the coming year for us. That said, all the women who inspired us through one of the toughest years of the millennium definitely deserve a shoutout, and thus without much ado, here’s a list of the top 10 women icons who inspired us through the year:

Kamala Harris


“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last—because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” said Kamala Harris in her dynamic address after becoming the first-ever woman Vice-President of the USA. The feat happens to be all the more significant given the #BlackLivesMatter movement and protests that erupted earlier this year. But that’s now it, throughout her election campaigns, Kamala gave us one moment after the other to look up to her. Our favourite has to be when Kamala promptly called out Mike Pence for interrupting her during the presidential debate. One hell of a moment if you ask us! 

Jacinda Arden


All throughout 2020 as the world grappled with the gnawing shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, it was the countries and cities led by women leaders that showed a contrasting trend. Under the able leadership of Jacinda Arden, New Zealand surely was one of these countries that had the least caseload and certainly one of the best leaders. Guided by empathy, Jacinda really proved that it’s love that moves the world and there is so much to learn from this young, vivacious leader. 

Faye D’Souza


At a time when journalists, journalism, and media houses, in general, are getting called out for their compromised standards and unethical reporting, there are a handful of people who take reporting seriously and Faye D’Souza is one of them. She really set the bar high with her pandemic coverage, to-the-point news points and for her courage to call out the centre when required. She recently won the South Asia Digital Media Awards for her story on KEM and all we can say is that it is very well deserved. 

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju


After enduring years of transphobia and campaigning against it through social media, Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju hit an important milestone earlier this year after finishing her MBBS. She is now a certified doctor and refuses to answer to any of the titles like “Ch*kka, tr*nny, f*ggot, m*ttha, k*jja, and countless others that were earlier used to insult her. Now that’s one powerful way of shutting down your haters!

Dadi Bilkis Bano


Fondly regarded as the Shaheen Bagh Dadi, Bilkis Bano, one of the most prominent faces of the Citizenship Amendment Act recently featured among TIME magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ in the world. Touted as the “voice of marginalised” by many, Bilkis Bano led a movement that would be remembered as the real testimony of the strength of the Indian women.

Manasi Joshi


The current para-badminton world champion, Manasi Joshi won several accolades and awards recently. She currently stands second in SL3 singles by Badminton World Federation and has been listed as the “Next Generation Leader” by Time Magazine. In recent times, she has done exceptional work in changing people’s perception of disability and is an inspiration for anyone who was ever told that they are not good enough.  

Tanushree Pandey


Earlier this year as the country wondered why on Earth would the UP government stop media and opposition from making it to the Hatras rape victim’s place, it was journalist Tanushree Pandey who actually started the wave. From the allegations on the UP police of forcefully burning the victim in the middle of the night and silencing the victim’s family, it was Tanushree’s unyielding efforts in the case’s reporting that brought the nation’s attention to the complicated narrative. 

Menaka Guruswamy & Arundhati Katju


It was the zealous efforts of lawyers and partners Menaka Guruswamy & Arundhati Katju that catalysed the repelling of section 377 and thus the decriminalization of homosexuality in India. The two now have embarked on the mission to fight for same-sex marriages in India and make them legal. 

Amidst all that this year brought with it, it even gave us these 8 exceptional women, amongst many others, to look up to and take inspiration from. More power to you, ladies. 

Featured Image: Instagram



14 Dec 2020

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