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Who run the world? Girls! Silent revolutionaries of 2015 you need to know

Salma Rehman | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:08 IST

Beyonce got it spot on when she crooned who run the world? Girls! You know of Malala Yousufzai, Suzette Jordan, Emma Watson and all the other celebrated ladies working for the greater good.

Now meet the women who have shattered stereotypes, broken barriers and ignited revolutions, but have either stayed out of the limelight or have been denied it. 2015 was surely their year.

Laleh Seddigh
Laleh Seddigh_jpg

  • Growing up in conservative Iran is no easy task. Especially if you are a 13-year-old girl with a penchant for fast cars. She started out by sneakily taking her father's car out for drives. Today, the 37-year-old Laleh Seddigh blazes past competitors in circuit races and rallies across the world.

  • Seddigh is the first Iranian woman to be granted permission for competing in a male-dominated sport.
  • She is currently training 80 female drivers and hopes for a day when women will not have to worry about racing.
Obiageli Ezekwesilie
Obiageli Ezekwesili_womenoftheworld.jpg

Photo: Womenoftheworld.

  • Former Vice-President of World Bank in Africa and former Nigeria education Minister Ezekwesili made an extraordinary effort to voice the concerns of hundreds of Nigerian school girls who have been abducted by the Islamic terror group Boko Haram.

  • She co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which not only drew global attention to a crisis that had been previously underplayed.
Lindy West and Amelia Bonow
Lindy West and Amelia Bonow_Photo: Facebook

Lindy West (L) and Amelia Bonow (R).(Photo: Facebook)

  • Abortion has been legal in US for 40 years now. But the debate over it still rages strong. This year, a series of heavily edited, fake "undercover videos" were circulated online. The makers of the video alleged that an NGO was illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.

  • Writer Lindy West and activist Amelia Bonow put up a spectacular fight against the rhetoric by creating the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion.
  • It took internet by storm with women using the hashtag to share their experiences with abortion to make people understand that it was not inhumane but an essential part of healthcare.
Faatimah Knight

[caption]Photo: Facebook

  • She is our knight in shining armour. At the time when venomous entities like Donald Trump are trying to divide the world on the lines of religion, Faatimah Knight, a young Muslim women from US, chose to "Respond with love".

  • Several Southern black churches were burned - at least three of which as the result of arson - after the tragedy at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in US in June 2015, which left nine dead.
  • Right after this, 23-year-old Faatimah started a crowd sourcing project - "Respond With Love". Her project helped Muslim organisations raise over $100,000 for the burned churches.
Robi Damelin and Bushra Awad

Photo: Womenoftheworld.

  • Two nations torn by conflict were united by two mothers. An Israeli woman, Robi Damelin and Palestinian Bushra Awad lost their sons to the bloody struggle. The two have joined hands and are now channeling their grief into a force for peace.

  • Bushra Awad said, "I love Damelin very much when I came to know that her pain is my pain."
  • We can only hope their powerful message of reconciliation reaches the right ears.

Watch the full interview here.

Nadimidoddi Vinodamma
Nadimidoddi Vinodamma (Indiatogether.org).jpg

Photo: Indiatogether.org

  • A Dalit woman farmer from Telangana has set an inspiring example for her peers to follow with her mini-green revolution.

  • In just three acres, Nadimidoddi Vinodamma, grew 45 crop varieties, produced enough food to feed her family for the whole year, and earned more than $3,000 selling the surplus produce - all this without any chemical input.
  • Oh and she did this in a year where the region saw 40 per cent less rainfall than normal.
  • "I'm merely using the knowledge handed down over generations, trusting the land and traditional seeds," she said.

Lila Perry
Lila perry_facebook_jpg

Photo: Facebook

  • When transgender Lila Perry demanded the right to use the locker room in her school in Missouri, she was met with opposition from both staff and her classmates. About 150 of them walked out in protest of Perry's request.

  • But Perry fought back for what she deserved. She also appeared on a television show to talk about her experience.
  • "It's important that I fought for my right to use the restroom because it's time trans teens who aren't celebrities have a voice and stand up for themselves," Perry said.

Mumtaz Shaikh

Photo: Facebook

  • 33-year-old Mumtaz Shaikh is the Right to Pee activist. Yes you heard right. Shaikh, who comes from a conservative Muslim family, has been aggressively working to get free facilities for women through the 'Right to Pee' network. She oversaw the construction of 96 toilets in Mumbai, which women can now use for free.

  • In addition to this, she is also working to get the government to set aside Rs 5 crore to build female-only urinals across the city.
  • You must listen to Shaikh's heart-warming story.
First published: 21 December 2015, 7:31 IST