The Margin: Greta Thunberg, Megan Rapinoe and AOC make BBC’s list of inspiring and influential women

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Who runs the world? These girls.

The BBC dropped its 2019 list of the 100 most inspiring and influential women across the globe on Wednesday, and it should come as no surprise that U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Swedish anti-climate-change activist Greta Thunberg and American soccer star and equal-pay advocate Megan Rapinoe made the cut.

This year’s list was drawn from the question, “What would the future look like if it were driven by women?” And these formidable females have certainly been driving conversation this year.

News cycles spin around Ocasio-Cortez, 29, no matter what she does — from endorsing Bernie Sanders for her party’s presidential nomination to visiting migrant detention facilities on the U.S. border — even getting a haircut.

“We are fighting for a future where no person is left behind,” Ocasio-Cortez told the BBC. “When people want to stop talking about the issues that black women face, trans women face, immigrant women face, we’ve got to ask them, ‘Why does that make you so uncomfortable?’ Because it’s not just about identity; this is about justice. Everyone deserves justice.”

Thunberg, 15, led the largest climate protest in history across 150 countries last month. She also gave an impassioned U.N. speech that sparked strong responses from the likes of President Trump — after crossing the Atlantic in a solar-powered boat to get there, encouraging others to reduce their own carbon footprints. She’s also advocated for special needs by referring to her Asperger’s diagnosis as a “superpower.”

“We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people,” she told the BBC. “And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.”

U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain Rapinoe, 34, led Team USA to the Women’s World Cup, and scored the honor of Best FIFA Women’s Player 2019 while in the midst of taking legal action against the U.S. Soccer Federation over gander-based pay inequality. She has also advocated for LGBTQ rights, and spoken out against racism by taking a page from NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s playbook and protesting during the U.S. national anthem.

“If everybody was as outraged about racism as those who suffer it, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay as women, that would be the most inspiring thing for the future to me,” she told the BBC.

The female trailblazers on BBC’s list who are credited with “driving change on behalf of women everywhere” include MIT scientist Katie Bouman, whose algorithm led to the first real image of a black hole earlier this year; U.K. sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest woman in British history; and Malaysian trans woman and activist Nisha Ayub, who was put into a male prison at the age of 21.

Check out the complete list below.

The BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women for 2019:

• Precious Adams, ballet dancer, U.S.

• Parveena Ahanger, human rights activist, Indian-administered Kashmir

• Piera Aiello, politician, Italy

• Jasmin Akter, cricketer, U.K.-Bangladesh

• Manal AlDowayan, artist, Saudi Arabia

• Kimia Alizadeh, athlete, Iran

• Alanoud Alsharekh, women’s-rights activist, Kuwait

• Marwa Al-Sabouni, architect, Syria

• Rida Al Tubuly, peace campaigner, Libya

• Tabata Amaral, congresswoman, Brazil

• Yalitza Aparicio, actor and human-rights activist, Mexico

• Dayna Ash, cultural activist, Lebanon

• Dina Asher-Smith, athlete, U.K.

• MiMi Aung, project manager at NASA, U.S.

• Nisha Ayub, transgender activist, Malaysia

• Judith Bakirya, farmer, Uganda

• Ayah Bdeir, entrepreneur, Lebanon

• Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, monk, Thailand

• Mabel Bianco, doctor, Argentina

• Raya Bidshahri, educator, Iran

• Katie Bouman, scientist, U.S.

• Sinéad Burke, disability activist, Ireland

• Lisa Campo-Engelstein, bioethicist, U.S.

• Scarlett Curtis, writer and campaigner, U.K.

• Ella Daish, environmentalist, U.K.

• Sharan Dhaliwal, artist and writer, U.K.

• Salwa Eid Naser, athlete, Nigeria-Bahrain

• Rana El Kaliouby, AI pioneer, Egypt

• Maria Fernanda Espinosa, U.N. General Assembly, Ecuador

• Lucinda Evans, women’s-rights activist, South Africa

• Sister Gerard Fernandez, Roman Catholic nun, Singapore

• Bethany Firth, Paralympic swimmer, U.K.

• Owl Fisher, transgender activist, Iceland

• Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, athlete, Jamaica

• Zarifa Ghafari, mayor, Afghanistan

• Jalila Haider, lawyer, Pakistan

• Tayla Harris, footballer and boxer, Australia

• Hollie, sex-trafficking survivor, U.S.

• Huang Wensi, professional boxer, China

• Luchita Hurtado, artist, Venezuela

• Yumi Ishikawa, founder of anti-heels petition #kutoo, Japan

• Asmaa James, journalist and activist, Sierra Leone

• Aranya Johar, poet, India

• Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, anthropologist, U.S.

• Gada Kadoda, engineer, Sudan

• Amy Karle, bioartist, U.S.

• Ahlam Khudr, protest leader, Sudan

• Fiona Kolbinger, cyclist, Germany

• Hiyori Kon, sumo wrestler, Japan

• Aïssata Lam, microfinance expert, Mauritania

• Soo Jung Lee, forensic psychologist, South Korea

• Fei-Fei Li, AI pioneer, U.S.

• Erika Lust, filmmaker, Sweden

• Lauren Mahon, cancer campaigner and co-host of podcast You, Me and The Big C, U.K.

• Julie Makani, doctor and scientist, Tanzania

• Lisa Mandemaker, speculative designer, Netherlands

• Jamie Margolin, climate-change activist, U.S.

• Francia Marquez, environmentalist, Colombia 

• Gina Martin, anti-upskirting campaigner, U.K.

• Sarah Martins Da Silva, consultant gynecologist and obstetrician, U.K.

• Raja Meziane, singer, Algeria

• Susmita Mohanty, space entrepreneur, India

• Benedicte Mundele, fresh-food entrepreneur, Democratic Republic of Congo

• Subhalakshmi Nandi, gender-equality expert, India

• Trang Nguyen, conservationist, Vietnam

• Van Thi Nguyen, CEO, Vietnam

• Natasha Noel, yoga expert, India

• Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman, U.S.

• Farida Osman, swimmer, Egypt

• Ashcharya Peiris, designer, Sri Lanka

• Danit Peleg, designer, Israel

• Autumn Peltier, clean-water advocate, Canada

• Swietenia Puspa Lestari, diver and environmentalist, Indonesia

• Megan Rapinoe, footballer, U.S.

• Onjali Rauf, writer, U.K.

• Charlene Ren, clean-water advocate, China

• Maria Ressa, journalist, Philippines

• Djamila Ribeiro, writer and equality activist, Brazil

• Jawahir Roble, referee, U.K.-Somalia

• Najat Saliba, chemistry professor, Lebanon

• Nanjira Sambuli, digital-equality expert, Kenya

• Zehra Sayers, scientist, Turkey

• Hayfa Sdiri, entrepreneur, Tunisia

• Noor Shaker, computer scientist, Syria

• Bonita Sharma, innovator, Nepal

• Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, India

• Pragati Singh, doctor, India

• Lyubov Sobol, anti-corruption activist, Russia

• Samah Subay, lawyer, Yemen

• Kalista Sy, screenwriter and producer, Senegal

• Bella Thorne, actor and director, U.S.

• Veronique Thouvenot, doctor, Chile

• Greta Thunberg, climate-change activist, Sweden

• Paola Villarreal, computer programmer, Mexico

• Ida Vitale, poet, Uruguay

• Purity Wako, life coach, Uganda

• Marilyn Waring, economist and environmentalist, New Zealand

• Amy Webb, futurist, U.S.

• Sara Wesslin, journalist, Finland

• Gina Zurlo, religion scholar, U.S.