Last year wasn’t easy. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the civil unrest that swept the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, 2020 was a year of reckoning that pushed many deep-seated issues into the spotlight—racial justice, gender parity, health care access, connectivity, to name just a few. However, despite enduring a pandemic that has disproportionately affected women and minorities, many women leaders used last year to make real strides creating impact and accelerating progress toward building a more equitable society for the benefit of all.
In fact, female leaders overall have thrived during this tumultuous time, with statistics showing that women-led countries have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic more successfully than comparable male counterparts. The historic election of Kamala Harris as America’s first Black and first woman vice president shattered barriers that have historically kept men entrenched at the highest levels of U.S. politics. Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman unveiled a plan to increase representation of women and underserved minorities on the boards of Nasdaq-listed companies. Jane Fraser was named the new CEO of Citigroup, making her the first woman to run a major U.S. bank. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Below, you’ll find more than 50 of the most influential women leaders of our time. Each woman leader was chosen for this list because they did not sit back in 2020—they took action. Their work has been important to accelerating progress and propelling us closer to an equal and just world. They’ve broken down barriers and are changing their industries—and, because of their determination, they’re making a difference for society as a whole.
Read all about these groundbreaking women below, and don’t miss your chance to meet some of them at our Women & Worth Summit: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, taking place March 2-4. Register here!