Meet some women from around the world who really inspired us this year

9 stories of amazing women we met this year

This year, our Across Women's Lives team reported on women and girls around the world working toward equal rights and positive change in their communities.

In India, we met women fighting against gender-based violence and fighting for girls' access to education. In Kenya, we met women bucking traditional gender roles in the business world and improving health conditions for young mothers and their children. And in our Boston studios, we spoke with women and girls making waves from Mexico to Iran to the US.

We met far too many amazing women to mention in one list, but here are a few who wowed us the most.

1. Reshma Quereshi


A little over a year ago, in India, Reshma Quereshi was attacked with acid by her brother-in-law. Now, she's taking her traumatic experience and channeling it into a positive campaign with the non-profit Make Love Not Scars to ban the sale of acid in India.

2. Iran's badass surf girls

Surfing in Iran 3
Posing for the "Into the Sea" poster. From left to right, Shalha Yasini, Easkey Britton, and Mona Seraji.Marion Poizeau

French filmmaker and avid surfer Marion Poizeau joined forces with two Iranian women athletes in 2013 to help introduce surfing to Iran. Her 2013 documentary, "Into the Sea," tells the story of how surfing took hold in the region, and how they and Iranian sportswomen collaborated on the effort to make that happen.

3. Sophie Sadera


Out of the 500 game drivers in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve, only seven are women. Sophie Sadera is one of them.

4. Angy Rivera

angy rivera
Angy RiveraPhoto from Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)

Angy Rivera is a Colombian American woman living in the Bronx. With her single mother, she came over to the United States as a child fleeing violence, and lived as an undocumented woman in America for 20 years. She's also the person behind "Ask Angy," the first advice column for undocumented youth in the US and the subject of "No Le Digas a Nadie," a documentary that tells her story of 'coming out' as undocumented.

5. Ghana's Kayayei, or "carry-girls"


In Ghana, "kayeyei" are girls who carry heavy market loads for money, which can sometimes weigh more than 100 pounds. They make about 30 cents per 140-pound load. It's hard, sometimes dangerous work, but there are more girls doing it than ever before. We met Salome Solomon, who is working as a carry-girl to save money to go to nursing school.

6. Afghanistan's girl skaters


Skateistan is a group that uses skateboarding to empower women in Afghanistan. We met Shabana Saidali, who works as the education coordinator in Kabul. They're amazing.

7. Parvati Pujari


To see boys and girls playing soccer together on a Sunday may not seem like a big deal. But it is: Co-ed sports of any kind are a remarkable sight in India. And it’s deliberately done here on this playground in Chembur, a lower income neighborhood in Mumbai. And it's all thanks to the drive of the kids' remarkable coach, Parvati Pujari.

8. The Warning

Three sisters form the band The Warning
Three sisters form the metal band The

Dany, Paulina and Alejandra have given metal a makeover. The three sisters from Monterrey play guitar, drums and bass. They call their band The Warning, and their covers of Metallica and Ozzy Ozbourne have found a huge audience online.

9. Nisarat "Benz" Sitthi


In Thai culture, girls are expected to help take care of their families financially. For Benz, boxing started out as a way to do just that. But it's grown into something far more empowering for her and other girls like her.

What women inspired you this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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