Here Are 15 Badass Ladies To Look Out For

by
Sameera Ehteram
They have stood tall against all odds, refusing to give an inch and determined to succeed no matter what it takes.

Bad-Ass Women

It’s not the middle ages and the world has progressed a lot both in terms of science and technology as well as societal development.

Women, a large part of the world’s population, have come a long way since the days of being restricted to the household.

Unfortunately, far too many of them still have to fight every inch of the way to make their mark or even get basic human rights in some parts of the world.

The gender gap, sexual harassment and intolerance are just a few things they have to face every day. Fortunately, that doesn’t they are not willing to put up a fight.

Here are 15 bad-ass women refusing to give an inch and determined to succeed no matter what it takes.

Jacqui Oatley

Jacqui Oatley

Here is one lady that is hell bent upon sticking to her ground and making her mark in a man’s world.

Jacqui Oatley is a British freelance sports broadcaster, who presents, commentates and reports mainly on football. She is best known for being the first female commentator on BBC One's Match of the Day. Despite being an FA qualified football coach and extremely good at her job, she says, 'I've had to grow extra layers of skin.'

When I first started, there were so few women in the press box at football matches. There was an assumption that you were in there because you were someone's girlfriend or from the press office. I think by now people have got their heads around a woman writing about football, but there's still a huge gap in accepting women as commentators,” she adds.

Rajaa Al Sanea

Rajaa Al Sanea

Being a female writer and social critic in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country renowned for keeping its women under strict control, cannot be easy.

Rajaa Al Sanea took on the world around her with her novel ‘Girls of Riyadh’ (Banat al-Riyadh in Arabic) that highlights many problems faced by Muslim women in the Kingdom. The book was first published in Lebanon in 2005 and translated into English in 2007.

It was banned by the government in Saudi Arabia and she faced acute opposition and criticism including death threats. Rajaa was nominated for the 2009 Dublin Literary Award.

Hanadi Al Hindi

Hanadi Al Hindi

Hanadi is the first Saudi women to become a commercial airline pilot.

In a country that does not let its women drive, she has accomplished is a great deal. Her dream would never have come true if it hadn’t been for Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who is a strong supporter of moderation and women’s rights in the Kingdom.

He not only financed her training, but also gave her a 10-year contract with his company. Prince Al-Waleed’s wife Princess Ameerah Al Taweel leads a life very different to other Saudi women as her husband supports her independence as much as he supports the emancipation of Saudi females.

Angela Berners-Wilson

Angela Berners-Wilson

Angela became the Church of England's first female priest after proving herself to her parishioners. She works as a university chaplain.

‘Those of us in the first group of female priests had to prove ourselves. You do the very best you can, because if something goes wrong, then they might say, "What do you expect? She's a woman." I had to guard against that and was on my best behaviour for years, which was quite exhausting. But everyone should always do the very best they can,’ she says.

Suzette Jordan

Suzette Jordan

"My name is Suzette Jordan and I don't want to be known any longer as the victim of Calcutta's Park Street rape," says this brave Indian rape survivor and activist.

Rape is at an all time high in India at the moment. What’s more is that the victims have to face the stigma of guilt and shame rather than getting support and justice. It is very brave of a woman under the circumstances to come forward and talk about her ordeal in public forums. She decided to unveil her identity after attending a protest rally in support of another victim.

You may like to read: A Year After The Delhi Rape Case, Are The Women In India Safe?

Sampat Pal Devi        

Sampat Pal Devi

Another brave woman struggling against the act of rape in India is Devi,  leader of the Gulabi Gang (the Pink Gang) in northern India - an all-women vigilante force combating not only sexual crimes against women.

The women’s group gets its name because the members wear bright pink saris and wield bamboo sticks as a symbol of self defense.

Read More: Responding To Rape: Women In India Turn To Self Defense

Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi

She is Iran's first female judge, founder of the Human Rights Defenders Centre and the first Muslim woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize

Iran is an extremely conservative country that generally does not allow its women much freedom. After being appointed as the country’s first female judge (1975), Ebadi broke a lot of social boundaries.

Shirin was dismissed after Iran's revolution in 1979, but instead of giving up,  she opened a legal practice and began defending people who were being persecuted by the authorities. In 2000, the former judge was imprisoned herself for having criticized her country's hierocracy.

She has been criticized heavily in her country and has even escaped two assassination attempts. However, nothing stops this lady.

Lubna Hussein

Lubna Hussein

A Sudanese journalist and women's rights campaigner, Hussein was prosecuted for ‘breaching Islamic decency laws’ by wearing trousers in 2009.

She was mercifully spared a sentence of flogging, but fined a sum of $200, which she refused to pay. No amount of strict regulations can stop this determined woman

 She even went ahead and traveled to France to publicize her new book ‘Forty Lashes for a Pair of Trousers’.

Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya

Joya is an Afghan politician who was expelled from her country’s parliament in 2007 As a staunch human rights campaigner,  Joya has shown phenomenal courage in raising her voice against Afghanistan’s current president Hamid Karzai, his government (which she believes is full of warlords and war criminals) as well as the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Death threats and assignation attempts do not faze this lady.

Somaly Mam

Somaly Mam

Somaly Mam is a Cambodian anti-sex trafficking campaigner who has dedicated her life to rescuing women from brothels and supporting their recovery.

 Somaly was forced to work in a brothel along with other women and children for many years, and was brutally tortured and raped. One night, after witnessing her best friend being viciously murdered; she escaped and made it her aim in life to help others in the same predicament.

Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi

A doctor, psychiatrist, feminist, university lecturer and the author of over 40 books which largely address the subject of women in Islam, at the age of 79, Saadawi was among the protesters in Tahrir Square in 2011.

This octogenarian is one of Egypt’s pioneer feminists and has braved prison, exile and death threats in her fight against female oppression. And guess what? She is in no mood to give up.

“They said, ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman’. I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous,” says this defiant woman in her book Woman at Point Zero.

You May Like to Watch: Will The Streets Of Egypt Ever Be Safe For Its Women?

Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva

Do you know where the term the ‘Tree Hugger’ comes from? Vandana  and her fellow women villagers in India; determined to keep their environment green; stood with their arms wrapped around trees to prevent them being felled by commercial loggers; and the name "tree hugger" was born.

A Physicist with a Ph.D. on the “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” from the University of Western Ontario in Canada; she has left her work behind and has been on a mission to take forward the global environmental movement.  

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick

American auto racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman, Danica Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. In 2013, she became the first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, turning in the fastest qualifying lap since 1990 in qualifying for the Daytona 500.

Veeru Kohli

Veeru Kohli

Veeru Kolhi, a Pakistani woman, is a local phenomenon in her own country.

In a country rife with religious and sectarian intolerance, she became the first Hindu woman to contest elections.

Neither the fact that she was a Hindu nor that she belonged to a class of bonded laborers - who hardly have any rights - could stop her. She and her family were bonded to a landlord in a village of rural Pakistan and owed their lives and possessions to him. Unable to stand for it or to continue to lead a life of slavery; she managed to escape with her family.

Ever since, Kohli dedicated her life to fight for the rights of others like her and is now a staunch activists working tirelessly for the rights of Hindu families forced into bonded labor since decades.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Tolokonnikova is the face of the untamable Russian pop group Pussy Riot.

The group, including Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were sentenced to two years in prison for a 40-second performance calling on the Virgin Mary to "kick Putin out" in a Moscow church in 2012. 

 Samutsevich was released with a suspended sentence after an appeal, while Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were sent to penal colonies and only released recently in what many suspect to be part of the Russian administration's efforts to improve their image before the winter Olympics in Sochi. Their spirits weren’t crushed though and they protested at the Sochi Olympics as well. Their efforts were thwarted and landed them in jail, again, but these three ladies were in no mood to be subdued.

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