With their help we will explore a variety of themes, including using anger to spark action, and uncovering women from the shadows of history.
Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes.
Some will be telling us about what they will be putting in the Freedom Trash Can – our digital bin for all the items women feel hold them back.
Others will bring us stories of achievement against the odds – from the British woman who used her jail time to create an inspiring business, to the Afghan girl who was almost swapped for a boy.
The BBC 100 Women of 2018 are listed in alphabetical order below, with their age, profession, country of birth and biography.
1) Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, 33 – Social impact entrepreneur, Nigeria.
Abisoye is the founder of GirlsCoding, an NGO that teaches girls how to code, design and build websites that help solve problems in their communities.
2) Esraa al-Shafei, 32 – Executive director of not for profit Majal.org., Bahrain.
Esraa has founded a diverse number of digital platforms to give a voice to those under-represented in the Middle East and North Africa.
3) Svetlana Alekseeva, 18 – Model, Russia.
Svetlana survived a fire that burned almost half her body and now works to help people with scars feel positive about their bodies.
4) Lizt Alfonso, 51 – Director and choreographer, Cuba.
Lizt has created an internationally recognised fusion dance company which has performed in hundreds of cities across the world.
5) Nimco Ali, 35 – Writer and activist, Somaliland.
Nimco is an award-winning FGM (female genital mutilation) activist.
6) Isabel Allende, 76 – Author, Peru.
Isabel, who was born in Peru to Chilean parents, is the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author and has sold more than 70 million books in 42 languages.
7) Boushra Yahya Almutawakel, 49 – Artist, photographer and activist, Yemen.
Boushra is the first female Yemeni professional photographer, whose work has been featured in international publications and acquired by the British Museum.
8) Alina Anisimova, 19 – Student programmer, Kyrgyzstan.
Alina leads the Kyrgyz Girls’ Space School, which aims to send the country’s first satellite into space.
9) Frances Arnold, 62 – Professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry, US.
Frances is the recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and her work on enzymes is used in laboratories, making everything from advanced medicines to biofuels and laundry detergents.
10) Uma Devi Badi, 54 – MP, Nepal.
Uma is from the Badi community, which is considered “untouchable” in Nepal, and is working to change that perception.
11) Judith Balcazar, 65 – Retired fashion designer, UK.
Judith ran several fashion companies before going on to co-found the company Giggle Knickers, which makes special underwear for women who suffer from urinary incontinence.
12) Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, 28 – Lawyer, Peru.
Arlette became the face of the NiUnaMenos (Not One [woman] Less) movement against domestic violence in Peru after a video of her being attacked by her boyfriend went viral.
13) Leyla Belyalova, 61 – University lecturer, Uzbekistan.
Leyla is a university lecturer working to preserve Uzbekistan’s mountain ecosystems and protect bird species, including raptors.
14) Analia Bortz, 51 – Doctor, rabbi and bioethicist, Argentina.
Analia is a doctor and bioethicist dedicated to the holistic treatment of women struggling with infertility.
15) Fealofani Bruun, 35 – Yachtmaster, Samoa.
Fealofani is the first Samoan and the first Pacific woman to hold the position of yachtmaster, and looks after a traditional voyaging canoe.
16) Raneen Bukhari, 31 – Curator and social media manager, Saudi Arabia.
Raneen is a curator and art consultant, who also works for her family’s design business.
17) Joy Buolamwini, 28 – AI artist/researcher, Canada.
Joy is a ‘poet of code’, using art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence.
18) Barbara Burton, 62 – CEO of BehindBras, UK.
Barbara set up BehindBras, giving women prison leavers skills to start careers in the fashion industry, after finding herself behind bars in her late 50s.
19) Tamara Cheremnova, 62 – Author, Russia.
Tamara lives with cerebral palsy, and writes fairy tales, earning her the nickname of “Storyteller of Siberia”.
20) Chelsea Clinton, 38 – Vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, US.
Chelsea is the author of numerous books and the vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders.
21) Stacey Cunningham, 44 – President, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Group, US.
Stacey is the 67th president of the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first woman to hold the position in the company’s 226-year history.
22) Jenny Davidson, 50 – CEO of Stand Up Placer, US.
Jenny helps survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and runs a shelter which accepts survivors and their pets.
23) Asha de Vos, 39 – Marine biologist, Sri Lanka.
Asha works in the area of marine conservation to increase diversity, inclusivity and opportunity in the field.
24) Gabriella Di Laccio, 44 – Soprano and founder of DONNE: Women in Music, Brazil.
Gabriella is an international award-winning soprano and founder of a project to celebrate and highlight female composers.
25) Xiomara Diaz, 34 – Entrepreneur, restaurant owner and charity founder, Nicaragua.
Xiomara uses her business connections to identify and fight sexual exploitation and raise awareness of the issue in Nicaragua.
26) Noma Dumezweni, 49 – Actor, eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland).
Noma is the first woman to play the adult version of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, playing in London’s West End and Broadway, New York.
27) Chidera Eggerue, 23 – Blogger – ‘Slumflower’, UK.
Chidera is a best-selling author and activist behind the social media movement #saggyboobsmatter, driving new conversations about perceptions of women’s bodies.
28) Shrouk El-Attar, 26 – Electronic design engineer, Egypt.
Shrouk is a refugee and full-time engineer, who uses belly dancing to raise awareness and campaign for the rights of the LGBT+ community in Egypt.
29) Nicole Evans, 44 – Online retail sales facilitator, UK.
Nicole was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at the age of 30, and now supports other women who are experiencing early menopause.
30) Raghda Ezzeldin, 26 – Free-diver, Egypt.
Raghda is a record-breaking free-diver, who descends to extreme depths without breathing apparatus.
31) Mitra Farazandeh, 42 – Artist, Iran.
Mitra is an artist who speaks out about living with physical disabilities.
32) Mamitu Gashe, 72 – Senior nurse aide/fistula surgeon, Ethiopia.
Mamitu is now an internationally certified fistula surgeon, after being treated for fistula (an injury which can occur in childbirth) herself.
33) Meena Gayen, 36 – Business owner, India.
Meena has worked with other women in the Sundarbans delta to build a brick road to make their village more accessible.
34) G.E.M., 27 – Singer-songwriter, China.
G.E.M. is a top-selling female musician who uses her influence to support charities and organisations dedicated to music, education and poverty.
35) Fabiola Gianotti, 58 – Particle physicist, Italy.
Fabiola is a particle physicist and became director general of Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in 2016.
36) Julia Gillard, 57 – Former Australian prime minister, UK.
Julia was Australia’s first female prime minister and now promotes education and leadership for women and girls.
37) Elena Gorolova, 49 – Social worker, Czech Republic.
Elena campaigns against forced sterilisation and works to return institutionalised children to their birth families.
38) Randi Heesoo Griffin, 30 – Olympic hockey player and data scientist, US.
Randi challenged critics of equal pay for women in ice hockey, using data that proved they were as popular on social media as the men. She also scored the first goal for the United Korea Olympic team at the 2018 Games.
39) Janet Harbick, 33 – Altruistic surrogate and tanning consultant, Canada.
Janet is a working mother of five children and an altruistic surrogate who is pregnant with her second surrogate baby.
40) Jessica Hayes, 41 – Teacher, US.
Jessica is a consecrated virgin – vowing perpetual virginity as a bride of Christ – who teaches high-school theology classes and serves as a vocational adviser.
41) Thando Hopa, 29 – Model, lawyer, activist, South Africa.
Thando is a diversity and inclusion advocate. Cast in the Pirelli calendar 2018, she is the first person of colour in South Africa to have featured in the publication.
42) Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, 35 – Environmentalist and advocate for indigenous people and women, Chad.
Hindou is an indigenous woman of Chad, advocating for the protection of the environment and for the rights of indigenous peoples on an international scale.
43) Reyhan Jamalova, 16 – Student and entrepreneur, Azerbaijan.
Reyhan is a young entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Rainergy, a company that harvests energy from rainwater.
44) Jameela Jamil, 32 – Actress, writer, activist, host, UK.
Jameela currently stars in Mike Shur’s critically acclaimed NBC series The Good Place. She launched the social media platform @i_Weigh, which calls on her followers to post about what they feel proud of.
45) Liz Johnson, 32 – Paralympian and entrepreneur, UK.
Liz is a swimmer who won Gold at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, and has set up a recruitment agency which aims to close the disability employment gap.
46) Lao Khang, 26 – Rugby player and coach, Laos.
Lao led the Laos women’s national rugby team to historic international victories, and is the first Hmong woman to earn her rugby coach licence.
47) Joey Mead King, 44 – Model, Philippines.
Joey works as a model and presenter across Asia, and she and her partner Angelina Mead King appeared in a documentary which chronicled the couple’s journey when Angelina came out as transgender.
48) Krishna Kumari, 40 – Politician, Pakistan.
Krishna was elected to the Pakistan Senate after campaigning for women’s rights, having previously been forced into bonded labour for three years.
49) Marie Laguerre, 22 – Civil engineer and architecture student, France.
Marie has created a platform for women to share stories of street harassment, after a video of her calling out her harasser went viral on social media.
50) Veasna Chea Leth, 44 – Lawyer, Cambodia.
Veasna was the first woman to study law at Cambodia’s Royal University of Law and Economics, and lived in a basement space beneath the college due to a lack of female dorms.
51) Ana Graciela Sagastume Lopez, 38 – Prosecutor, El Salvador.
Ana was appointed head of a unit investigating cases of femicide in 2016 and earlier this year was named El Salvador’s women and femicide special prosecutor co-ordinator.
52) Maria Corina Machado, 51 – Political leader, Venezuela.
Maria is a political leader who has campaigned to safeguard democratic processes in Venezuela.
53) Nanaia Mahuta, 48 – Minister of Maori development, New Zealand.
Nanaia has served in the New Zealand parliament for 22 years and was the first female parliamentarian to wear a Maori face tattoo.
54) Sakdiyah Maruf, 36 – Stand-up comedian, Indonesia.
Sakdiyah is Indonesia’s first female Muslim stand-up and uses comedy as a way to challenge Islamic extremism and violence against women.
55) Lisa McGee, 38 – Writer, UK.
Lisa is a Northern Irish playwright and the writer and creator of Derry Girls, Channel 4’s most-watched comedy since 2004.
56) Kirsty McGurrell, 30 – Charity co-ordinator, UK.
Kirsty set up 4Louis, a charity that provides memory boxes for bereaved parents, after her own son Louis was stillborn.
57) Becki Meakin, 52 – General manager of Shaping Our Lives, UK.
Becki has a disability and researches inequalities experienced by disabled domestic abuse survivors, and advises refuge services on being more inclusive.
58) Ruth Medufia, 27 – Metal worker, Ghana.
Ruth is a female welder who lives in an urban slum community and aspires to be a role model for young women in the construction industry.
59) Larisa Mikhaltsova, 66 – Model and music teacher, Ukraine.
Larisa is an accordion music teacher and became a model for the first time at the age of 63.
60) Amina J Mohammed, 57 – Deputy secretary general, United Nations, Nigeria.
Amina is a former minister of environment in Nigeria and has previously been a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
61) Yanar Mohammed, 58 – President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), Iraq.
Yanar runs a network of shelters to help survivors of abuse in Iraq and has helped more than 800 women leave violent situations.
62) Joseline Esteffania Velasquez Morales, 26 – Student and NGO co-ordinator, Guatemala.
Joseline works in communities to help educate girls and young women about sex and relationships, and strives to end forced marriages.
63) Robin Morgan, 77 – Author and activist, US.
Robin has authored 20 books, and is a leader of the US women’s movement and founder of The Sisterhood Is Global Institute and the Women’s Media Center.
64) Nujeen Mustafa, 19 – Student, Syria.
Nujeen fled the war in Syria, crossing thousands of miles in her wheelchair, and now campaigns on behalf of refugees with disabilities.
65) Dima Nashawi, 38 – Artist, Syria.
Dima is an artist, clown and visual storyteller, who collects and reflects tales from Syria.
66) Helena Ndume, 58 – Ophthalmologist, Namibia.
Helena has performed sight-restoring surgeries upon 35,000 Namibians, free of charge – many of her patients now call her “Namibia’s miracle doctor”.
67) Kelly O’Dwyer, 41 – Member of Parliament, Australia.
Kelly serves as the minister for jobs and industrial relations, and minister for women in the Australian parliament, and is the first female Australian cabinet minister to give birth whilst serving in office.
68) Yuki Okoda, 23 – Astronomer, Japan.
Yuki studies physics, and was the first person to discover a new star that could shed light on the origins of our solar system.
69) Olivette Otele, 48 – Professor in History at Bath Spa University, Cameroon.
Olivette is a historian and memory scholar who works on European colonial history and post-colonial legacies.
70) Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, 56 – Mayor of Mexico City, Mexico.
Claudia is the first female mayor of Mexico City and is also a Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicist.
71) Park Soo-yeon, 22 – Digital campaigner, South Korea.
Soo-yeon is the founder of an organisation that seeks to eradicate digital sex crimes.
72) Ophelia Pastrana, 36 – Comedian and media personality, Colombia.
Ophelia is a physicist, economist and comedian, who is also an outspoken transgender media personality.
73) Viji Penkoottu, 50 – Activist, India.
Viji set up a women’s union in Kerala and led the fight to get basic rights for women working as saleswomen – including the right to sit during working hours.
74) Brigitte Sossou Perenyi, 28 – Documentary producer, Ghana.
Brigitte is an award-winning documentary producer, who told her story of being a Trokosi – a practice that sends girls to serve priests in shrines as payment for the “sins” of their family – and being trafficked from Togo to Ghana.
75) Vicky Phelan, 44 – Educational manager, Ireland.
Vicky exposed the CervicalCheck Screening scandal in Ireland, after discovering she and hundreds of other women were not told they had been given incorrect smear test results.
76) Rahibi Soma Popere, 55 – Farmer and founder of the Seed Bank, India.
Rahibi pioneered a movement to preserve indigenous seeds, boosting agriculture in her tribal community in west India.
77) Valentina Quintero, 64 – Journalist, Venezuela.
Valentina has dedicated herself to showing Venezuelans every corner of their country, writing and presenting TV programmes about tourism and environmental issues.
78) Sam Ross, 30 – Catering assistant, UK.
Sam has worked for 10 years as a catering assistant at Glasgow City College, and travels the world representing people with Down syndrome.
79) Fatma Samoura, 56 – Fifa secretary general, Senegal.
Fatma is the first woman and the first African to hold the position of secretary general of Fifa.
80) Juliet Sargeant, 53 – Garden designer, Tanzania.
Juliet is a doctor-turned-garden designer working to make “places that feel as good as they look”.
81) Sima Sarkar, 44 – Full-time mother, Bangladesh.
Sima needed to carry her 18-year-old disabled son to an examination and the photo went viral on social media.
82) Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43 – Activist, Iran.
Shaparak publicly removed her headscarf to oppose the compulsory hijab rule for women in Iran, and is now living in exile, facing a 20-year prison sentence.
83) Haven Shepherd, 15 – Student and swimmer, Vietnam.
Haven is a Paralympic hopeful, having survived a suicide bomb set off by her parents.
84) Nenney Shushaidah Binti Shamsuddin, 42 – Judge, Malaysia.
Nenney fights for the protection of Muslim women in her courts and wants to change the negative perceptions of Sharia law.
85) Hayat Sindi, [age undisclosed] – Chief scientific adviser to the president of the Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia.
Hayat is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists, a Unesco goodwill ambassador for science, and founder of the i2 Institute for imagination and ingenuity.
86) Jacqueline Straub, 28 – Theologian, journalist and author, Germany.
Jacqueline hopes to become a Catholic priest and is campaigning to break the Vatican’s ‘glass ceiling.’
87) Donna Strickland, 59 – Professor of physics, Canada.
Donna is a professor of physics at the University of Waterloo in Canada and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018.
88) Kanpassorn Suriyasangpetch, 30 – Dentist/tech entrepreneur, Thailand.
Kanpassorn founded the first mental wellness app for people in Thailand, after experiencing her own mental health problems.
89) Setsuko Takamizawa, 90 – Retired, Japan.
Setsuko is learning English to help guide tourists who will visit Tokyo for the city’s 2020 Olympics.
90) Nargis Taraki, 21 – NGO legal adviser, Afghanistan.
Nargis was her parents’ fifth consecutive daughter and was almost exchanged for a boy; but her parents let her complete her education and she now campaigns for female empowerment.
91) Ellen Tejle, 34 – CEO at media house Fanzingo, Sweden.
Ellen launched the global A-rate campaign, which raises awareness about women’s representation in film.
92) Helen Taylor Thompson, 94 – Former spy and charity founder, UK.
Helen was part of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s “secret army”, sending coded messages to spies during World War Two, and went on to set up Europe’s first Aids hospice.
93) Bola Tinubu, 51 – Lawyer, Nigeria.
Bola is a corporate lawyer who established the first free children’s helpline in Nigeria.
94) Errollyn Wallen, 60 – Composer, Belize.
Errollyn is a composer and performer, who has written 17 operas and won an Ivor Novello for Classical Music Award.
95) Safiya Wazir, 27 – Community activist, Afghanistan.
Safiya arrived in New Hampshire, USA, when she was 16 years old and became the first Afghan refugee to be elected as a state representative in New Hampshire in the 2018 mid-term elections.
96) Gladys West, 88 – Mathematician, USA.
Gladys is a former teacher and mathematician whose work has recently been recognised as instrumental in developing GPS.
97) Luo Yang, 34 – Photographer, China.
Luo has been taking art portraits of young Chinese women since 2007 for her Girls series.
98) Maral Yazarloo-Pattrick, 37 – Fashion designer and motorcyclist, Iran.
Maral is travelling the world on her motorbike, challenging Iran’s ban on women riding motorbikes in public.
99) Tashi Zangmo, 55 – Executive director for the Bhutan Nuns Foundation, Bhutan.
Tashi was born and brought up in one of the most rural places in Bhutan, earned higher education degrees from India and the US, and now runs the Bhutan Nuns Foundation.
100) Jing Zhao, 35 – Entrepreneur, China.
Jing runs an online network that helps women to learn and discuss their bodies and sexual desires, and also promotes intimate products to help women enjoy sex more.
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