DIGITAL URBAN PLANNER
CAN NEW York City become a tech hub? That was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s hope as he enlisted Rachel Sterne as the city’s first chief digital officer. Now, the founder of the citizen-journalism site GroundReport is luring tech startups to try out the Big Apple.
SHE SPENT her childhood in refugee camps–and now Andeisha Farid’s organization runs orphanages that invest in equal education for boys and girls.
WHEN SUNITHA Krishnan was 15, she was gang raped by eight men. Now in her 40s, Krishnan’s organization, Prajwala, steps in to help women and children being forced into prostitution.
QUEEN OF TWEETS
AS TWITTER’S head of media, Chloe Sladden is evangelizing to TV stations, newsrooms, musicians, and athletes by encouraging them to connect with their fans in 140-character chirps.
FASHION’S FAIRY GODMOTHER
FEW WOMEN are able to build fashion empires at their kitchen tables; fewer still teach others how to do the same and make efforts to pass on some of their wealth and knowledge. Newly minted billionaire Tory Burch, whose lines of clothing and accessories are worn by millions, founded the Tony Burch Foundation in order to mentor young women about microfinance and owning their own businesses. Give it time, and soon we’ll be ushering in a new generation of young billionaires with a penchant for philanthropy.
LEAGUE OF HER OWN
APPOINTED PRESIDENT of Brown in 2012, Christina Paxson is no stranger to breaking academia’s glass ceilings. During high school, she was the only girl in her advanced computer-programming class.
WITH 30 years at Lockheed Martin, there was no one better equipped than Marillyn Hewson to step in as president and CEO earlier this year. She now sits atop the Pentagon’s largest contractor as defense spending cuts are looming.
WHEN AFGHAN Rina Amiri approached former U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke on a flight to discuss her country’s troubled elections, he hired her as a senior adviser. Now she’s hard at work at the State Department.
DIPLOMAT TO THE WORLD
THE RHODES scholar turned North Africa expert has become one of President Obama’s most trusted aides during his time in office. As America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice has helped lead the administration’s response to high-profile diplomatic incidents, from the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, to North Korea’s nukes.
ME N MA GIRLS
BURMA’S POP STARS
JUST A few years ago, Burma’s music scene was limited to a few cover bands. Then came the Me N Ma Girls, the country’s first all-girl hip-hop group. Last year they released the first political song ever to hit Burma. Their message to the five and a half million Burmese who fled during the decades of military rule and impoverishment: it is time to “Come Back Home.”
BEAUTY ON THE INSIDE
ONE OF the globe’s top earning models, Natalia Vodianova’s life began in a poor district of Gorky. Today her Naked Heart Foundation supports children in her native land, building playgrounds and fighting Russia’s epidemic of child abandonment.
JEHANE NOUJAIM’S film The Square provides an upclose account of Cairo’s Tahrir Square uprising and the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Now two years after the revolution, it received raves at Sundance.
JUST ADD herbs. Who knew the solution to contaminated drinking water ending up in food would be so simple? Kavita Shukla’s invention, FreshPaper, contains herbs and spices that prevent bacterial growth in meals.
ARAB SPRING AMBASSADOR
WHEN EGYPT exploded over an anti-Muslim film just as Obama’s reelection campaign ramped up, Anne Patterson had to navigate a diplomatic firestorm.
ADVOCATE FROM AFAR
FORCED TO flee Afghanistan during its communist regime, Sima Samar established an underground network of clinics to provide health care to girls back home. Now, she’s heading up the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission.
POLITICIAN AHEAD OF HER TIME
GAY MARRIAGE may have been banned in Missouri in 2004, but that didn’t stop the Democratic senator from the Show Me State from showing her true feelings on the subject. Claire McCaskill took to Tumblr on March 24 to proclaim that “government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love,” adding another powerful voice to the national fight for gay rights.
FROM THE Tate to Tut: when the Metropolitan Museum of Art hired famed curator Sheena Wagstaff last year, it signaled its seriousness about modern art.
TURKEY’S ART PROMOTER
POISED AT the crossroads of East and West, Oya Eczacibasi draws from a wealth of influences as chair of the board of the Istanbul Art Museum–and her efforts have won her France’s Legion d’Honneur.
MOMA’S CURATOR keeps bringing in hit after hit for the modern-art mecca, including recent blockbuster exhibits on Cindy Sherman and Edvard Munch’s famous Scream.
NIGERIA’S LITERARY INGENUE
WHEN NIGERIAN writer Chibundu Onuzo signed a two-novel deal with Faber and Faber in 2010, she was just 19 years old and the publisher’s youngest female author ever. Her debut novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, came out in March 2012 and landed her on the long list for the prestigious Desmond Elliot Prize.
A NEXT-GENERATION condom that will encourage regular use? That’s the latest challenge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As cochair, Melinda has directed her energies toward programs that empower women, promote safe motherhood, and give developing countries greater control over reproduction.
ON THE notion that life can always be easier, engineer turned entrepreneur Leah Busque founded TaskRabbit, for outsourcing all those local chores on your to-do list.
IN A struggling GOP, Kelly Ayotte is a refreshing face. Her 2010 senatorial campaign attracted high-profile supporters such as John McCain and Sarah Palin–and she was even briefly on Mitt Romney’s short list for veep.
IRELAND’S CLIMATE CHAMPION
AS IRELAND’S first female president and the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson’s name has long been synonymous with moral courage. Now she’s looking toward the century’s biggest challenge with her Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, spotlighting how climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations–particularly, women in developing countries.
SHERRY REHMAN, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., is known for her eloquence, elegance, and diplomatic savvy. And no one seems better at calming the stormy relationship between Washington and Islamabad.
A LEARNING LIFE
DURING A drive-by shooting in rural Pakistan, Shahnaz Nazli was killed near the girls’ school where she taught. Sadly, it took her murder to spark a petition calling for the government to protect educators.
Reporting by Katie Baker, Sarah Begley, Kara Cutruzzula, and Alison Snyder.