17 Badass Women You Probably Didn’t Hear About In 2016

  1. This girl who took part in the protest marking the anniversary of Chile’s 1973 military coup d’état. In an act of defiance, she stared down a riot policeman.

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La Tercera reported that the photo was taken during the protest marking the anniversary of Chile’s 1973 military coup, when police started randomly arresting protestors marching through the city.

According to the photographer, Carlos Vera Mancilla, the girl then “reacted and stood before the policeman with a defiant look”.

  1. Las Hijas de Violencia is a group of Mexican women fighting against street harassment by firing confetti guns at the harassers and singing punk music.

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With the purpose of fighting street harassment, the Mexico-City-based women created a performance art group. What the group does is sing their theme song, “Sexista Punk”, and fire confetti from a toy gun at the harasser every time one of the group members is catcalled when out in public.

  1. Megan Hine is a survival and nature expert working closely with adventure-seekers, including Bear Grylls, and providing expert advice to keep these people safe in dangerous and isolated locations.

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Her interview with The Guardian reveals that she’s survived a lion attack and an armed drug gang chase through a jungle. She also said that she could light a fire with a tampon.

  1. Balkissa Chaibou is the woman who refused to be married to her cousin when she was 16 thus risking her life. Today, she’s an activist who takes a firm stand against forced marriage for girls. She is also a medical student as her dream has always been to become a doctor and help people.

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In an interview she gave for the BBC, she said “When I was little, I was dreaming of becoming a doctor. Take care of people, wear the white coat. Help people. The advice I have for you is to fight – study with all your might. I know studying isn’t easy but you must force yourself because those studies are your only hope.”

  1. Amna Suleiman is the leader of a group of women cycling in public in Gaza, thus opposing the unwritten ban on women to cycle after puberty.

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What Suleiman does is help other women challenge cultural norms by supporting cycling in public for women, which is regarded as violating “social decency and tradition”.

In her interview for the New York Times, she said “Riding a bike makes you feel like you are flying. I feel free.”

  1. Marley Dias is an 11-year-old girl who happens to be a collector of books about black girls. She’s also a campaigner promoting diversity in children’s literature.

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So far, Dias has collected over 7,000 books about black girls and, with her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, she is advocating for more diversity in children’s books.

In the interview for American Libraries, she said “In my fifth-grade class, I saw that books weren’t featuring black girls, and those were the books being assigned. So I told my mom, and she said, ‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’ So that’s really how the campaign started. It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

  1. The three judges who convicted a commander for rapes committed by his troops during a 2002–03 conflict in the Central African Republic, and thus made history.

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The three judges – Joyce Aluoch (left), Sylvia Steiner (middle), and Kuniko Ozaki (right) presided the first rape conviction at the International Criminal Court, and found former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of murder and rape during the 2002–03 conflict in the Central African Republic.

According to a UN Dispatch, “One can’t help but wonder if a panel of three men would have come to the same conclusion.”

  1. Negin Khpalwak is a 19-year-old musician leading the Zohra orchestra – an Afghan all-female ensemble who risk their lives by playing music. This is the first all-female orchestra in the history of Afghanistan.

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According to the players, they’re fighting to change the way their country is perceived by the international community, but also to raise awareness of women’s rights issues.

In an interview for Reuters, Khpalwak, who has been rejected by her family and has received death threats because of her role in the orchestra, said “I will never accept defeat. I will continue to play music. I do not feel safe, but when people see me and say, ‘That is Negin Khpalwak’, that gives me energy.”

  1. Maminydjama Maymuru is the first ever Aboriginal model.

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The 19-year-old is the first Aboriginal model representing the Northern Territory in the Miss World Australia competition.

According to The Conversation, “Maymuru is smashing stereotyped notions of blonde, blue-eyed beauty.”

  1. Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American athlete to compete at the Olympics in a hijab.

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Muhammad, a fencer, says she has often been the subject of racism because of her skin color and religion. In an interview for ESPN, she said “I wasn’t going to allow other people’s misconceptions to change my journey. I’m just your basic hijabi Zorro.”

  1. Yusra Mardini is a Syrian refugee who took part at the Rio Olympics.

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But her Rio performance is nothing compared to the endeavor she took when she risked her life by swimming for three hours to save 20 refugees as they were crossing the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe.

  1. Peggy Whitson, 56, is the oldest woman ever in space.

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The astronaut has already travelled to space twice before arriving at the International Space Station in November.

She wrote on her Twitter account, where she shares her adventures with her followers, “Do your best, be positive, dream BIG.”

  1. Reshma Qureshi is a woman who survived an acid attack and took part in New York Fashion Week.

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Before appearing on the runway, she said, “Why should we not enjoy our lives? What happened to us is not our fault and we’ve done nothing wrong and so we should also move forward in life. I want to tell the world – do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things.”

  1. The all-female protection team who guarded Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, while she was visiting the UAE.

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Shaima al-Kaabi, Basima al-Kaabi, Hannan al-Hatawi, Nisreen al-Hamawi, and Salama al-Remeithi are the all-female safeguarding team chosen from the UAE’s best private presidential guard to protect the duchess.

Shaima, Nisreen, and Hannan also climbed Mount Everest earlier this year.

  1. America’s indigenous women and girls trying to protect their land by opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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According to Adrienne Keene, a professor raising awareness about everything that takes place at the Standing Rock protest site, “To me, this is really about the fundamental connection between us as native peoples and our homelands.”

  1. The thousands of women in Iceland who left work at 2:38pm in order to protest the gender pay gap in the country.

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According to experts, there’s an estimated 14–18% pay gap between women and men in Iceland. This means that in an 8-hour working system, women are only paid for their work until 2:38pm.

  1. Tess Asplund is a woman opposing 300 neo-Nazis at a far-right demonstration in Sweden.

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Asplund told The Guardian, “It was an impulse. I was so angry, I just went out into the street. I was thinking: hell no, they can’t march here! I had this adrenaline. No Nazi is going to march here, it’s not okay.”

Via buzzfeed.com

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