FT’s Top 25 Influential Women of 2023

FT’s List of Top 25 Influential Women 2023

In a world marked by challenges and transformations, the impact of women in various spheres continues to shape narratives, inspire change, and redefine leadership. Recognizing their influence, the Financial Times unveiled its annual roster of the “Top 25 Influential Women of 2023,” a compilation that celebrates diverse voices and remarkable achievements across borders and industries.

This prestigious list of remarkable women encompasses a tapestry of talent, resilience, and dedication, featuring trailblazers from the realms of entertainment, activism, technology, sports, diplomacy, and more.

ft top 25 influential women 2023
Photo Credit : Financial Times

Margot Robbie: A Force in Hollywood

Margot Robbie is a powerhouse in Hollywood, embodying the essence of a modern movie star. Not just an actress, she’s an Oscar-nominated talent who wears multiple hats as a producer, steering her production company, LuckyChap, toward unprecedented success. Breaking barriers, her ventures, including the seemingly improbable “Barbie” project, surged past the $1 billion mark within weeks. Witnessing her dedication firsthand while working on films she produced was awe-inspiring. Margot not only wields immense power effortlessly but also channels it to uplift others, making her a beacon of empowerment in the industry.

Beyoncé: Unparalleled Artistry and Leadership

Describing Beyoncé’s artistry is an impossible task; it’s something to be experienced firsthand. Her Renaissance World Tour was a breathtaking revelation, leaving audiences spellbound. Witnessing her creativity and leadership in action was akin to witnessing magic. Beyoncé’s ability to harness her talent and translate it into a larger-than-life experience is beyond words. Exiting her concert, I was filled with renewed inspiration, ready to amplify the volume of my own life.

Barbara Kingsolver: A Literary Luminary and Teacher

Barbara Kingsolver’s writing isn’t just literature; it’s a call to open our eyes to the world’s realities. In “Demon Copperhead,” a modern take on David Copperfield set in Appalachia, she unveils the struggles of poverty and the longing for love and security. Her storytelling prowess, reminiscent of Dickens, illuminates the plight of the poor, particularly children, earning her a Pulitzer. Each word she pens is a masterpiece that sheds light on societal issues, making her both a writer and a teacher of profound importance.

Also Read: Interesting Facts about Sandra Day O’Connor

Phoebe Philo: Shaping Fashion Through Minimalism

Phoebe Philo’s influence on fashion transcends mere words; it’s a sentiment that lingers. Her tenure as creative director at Celine defined a minimalist aesthetic that resonates even today. Her impact extended beyond clothing; it permeated interiors, campaigns, and garnered a cult following within and outside the fashion realm. Philo crafted attire through the lens of the female perspective, revolutionizing womenswear by prioritizing not just the garments but also how they made women feel. Her latest eponymous label launch has reignited the fervor she sparked earlier, selling out within hours and inspiring countless fashion conversations.

Alia Bhatt: Redefining Bollywood Stardom

Alia Bhatt’s entry into Bollywood with “Student of the Year” suggested she might follow the familiar path of mainstream actors. However, she swiftly embarked on a journey to carve her unique niche in the industry. Her recent blockbusters have not only captured box office glory but have also earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of complex characters. From depicting a sex worker turned activist in “Gangubai Kathiawadi” to featuring in “RRR,” a monumental film chronicling the fight against British Raj rule, Alia has embraced diverse and challenging roles.

Her influence extends beyond the screen; she champions projects that confront sensitive subjects like domestic abuse, as seen in her film “Darlings” on Netflix. At just 30, she’s not only an accomplished actor but has ventured into production, taken on a villainous role in a Hollywood action film, and shattered barriers by being the first female actor to join Yash Raj Films’ male-dominated spy universe. Alia Bhatt’s on-screen presence commands attention, reflecting her versatility and commitment to pushing boundaries in Indian cinema.

Lola Shoneyin: Master of Subversion in Literature

Lola Shoneyin’s literary prowess encapsulates a blend of sly subversion, piercing humor, and a compassionate worldview. Her poems delve into the nuances of family life, using children as both characters and metaphors. Her acclaimed novel, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives,” offers a poignant portrayal of a polygamous Nigerian family, deserving adaptation to both stage and screen. Beyond her literary achievements, she founded the Aké Arts and Book Festival, a testament to her dedication in nurturing African writers and fostering discussions on the craft and industry of writing, making it a vital part of Nigeria’s cultural landscape.

aespa: Pioneers in K-Pop Evolution

ft top influential women aespa
Photo Credit : Financial Times

aespa’s meteoric rise in the world of K-pop mirrors the genre’s astonishing ascent from its humble beginnings. While K-pop’s upper echelons were often dominated by boy bands, aespa emerged as a groundbreaking girl group shattering records and redefining norms. In just two years, they’ve achieved milestones like surpassing one million first-week album sales consecutively and performing at Coachella, alongside launching a successful world tour. Their unique blend of experimental sound, fiery vocals, and the integration of sci-fi punk AI avatars (“ae” referring to “avatar” and “experience”) has pushed the boundaries of K-pop, elevating it to global prominence.

top influential women of 2023
Photo Credit : Financial Times

Mira Murati: Steering AI’s Transformative Journey

Mira Murati, the Chief Technology Officer at OpenAI, stands at the forefront of today’s profound digital revolution. Her leadership drives OpenAI’s groundbreaking products, such as ChatGPT and Dall-E, shaping the way we work, learn, and express creativity through AI. Beyond technical innovation, Mira champions responsible AI integration into our daily lives, emphasizing safety, regulation, and ethical considerations. Her advocacy for open, public testing underscores the pivotal moment we face in molding the impact of technology on humanity, echoing her visionary approach to human-AI interactions.

Fran Drescher: A Trailblazer in Entertainment and Leadership

Fran Drescher’s iconic presence in the entertainment industry spans decades, redefining stereotypes with her portrayal of Hollywood archetypes. Beyond her acting prowess, her leadership as president of SAG-AFTRA during a challenging 118-day strike highlighted her ability to unite members and negotiate with industry giants. Fran’s remarkable blend of determination, compassion, and a genuine connection with people was instrumental in bringing union concerns directly to CEOs, ultimately achieving unprecedented success through unity, resolve, and an unwavering spirit.

Mary Barra: A Leader with Genuine Connection

Mary Barra’s tenure as General Motors’ chief executive reflects her deep-rooted respect for workers and a pragmatic approach to challenges. Hailing from a family with extensive ties to the company, Barra’s comfort on the factory floor and no-nonsense competence propelled her through crises, notably navigating the ignition-switch scandal. During the United Auto Workers’ strikes, Barra’s unassuming negotiation style, eschewing public appeals, directly engaged with workers, fostering a groundbreaking agreement allowing battery plants to integrate into a master UAW contract. Her approach earned admiration from both labor leaders and the public, exemplifying her genuine connection to the workforce and pragmatic leadership style.

Ursula von der Leyen: Pioneering Leadership in Europe

Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership as the first female president of the European Commission navigates the turbulent seas of global challenges with remarkable finesse. Amidst unprecedented crises, her skillful governance has unified member states to tackle the economic fallout of Covid-19 and drive Europe’s recovery. She played a pivotal role in the collective response to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, advocating robust sanctions and substantial European support for Ukraine. Von der Leyen’s visionary approach extends to fostering transatlantic partnerships, aligning US and European priorities on critical issues from supply chain diversification to managing economic ties with China. Her resolute leadership and clear vision mark her as a beacon of strength in an era that demands decisive action.

Janet Truncale: Building Trust and Breaking Barriers

Janet Truncale’s ascent to heading a Big Four firm marks not just personal achievement but a significant milestone in the evolution of professional services. Her dedication to authenticity, balancing work with parenthood, and being forthright with clients and colleagues paved her path to success. As the first woman at the helm of EY, she represents the culmination of efforts toward gender diversity within the company. Amidst internal challenges, Truncale’s leadership aims to heal rifts and steer EY toward a unified future, leveraging her experience as a US auditor and her inclusive leadership style.

Also Read: Claudia Goldin – Nobel Prize Winner 2023

Karin Keller-Sutter: Exemplifying Political Courage

In politics, knowledge, courage, and determination define leadership, and Karin Keller-Sutter embodies these qualities. Her decisive actions as Switzerland’s finance minister during the Credit Suisse banking crisis rescued the country’s economy, earning global appreciation. Keller-Sutter’s expertise and resolute decision-making under pressure have been instrumental in shaping pivotal economic measures. Her leadership stands as a testament to navigating crises with wisdom and fortitude.

ft list of influential women 2023
Photo Credit : Financial Times

Lisa Dyson: The Trailblazing Scientist and Entrepreneur

Lisa Dyson stands at the forefront of innovative disruption, harnessing groundbreaking technology to combat climate crisis and food scarcity. As a visionary scientist and biotech entrepreneur, Dyson’s ventures, Kiverdi and Air Protein, epitomize cutting-edge research. By repurposing biomass and pioneering carbon capture technologies, Dyson offers innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Her multidimensional approach exemplifies how bold leaders can tackle societal issues while driving business growth, emphasizing the symbiosis of progress and social responsibility.

Carol Tomé: Redefining Leadership at UPS

Carol Tomé’s tenure as UPS’s first female CEO and an outsider at the helm marks a transformative phase for the company. Leading a global team with integrity and efficiency, she steers UPS through uncertain times, prioritizing employee well-being and fostering an inclusive corporate culture. Her steadfast leadership during the pandemic, coupled with a commitment to values-based practices, positions her as a trailblazer fostering innovation and inclusion within UPS and the corporate sphere.

Makiko Ono: Breaking Corporate Barriers in Japan

Makiko Ono’s historic promotion as CEO of Suntory Beverage and Food marks a significant breakthrough in Japan’s corporate landscape. Leading a company known for its iconic beverages amid a male-dominated industry, her appointment stands as a beacon of progress. Ono’s success, attributed to her achievements in Suntory’s overseas ventures, exemplifies Japanese women’s resilience and adaptability in international markets. As Japan grapples with demographic challenges and seeks global integration, Ono’s trailblazing journey sets a precedent for aspiring women executives, signaling a potential shift in the gender dynamics of Japanese corporate leadership.

Marina Silva: Championing Environmental Stewardship in Brazil

Marina Silva’s lifelong dedication to preserving the Amazon rainforest echoes her deep connection to its ecosystem. From a childhood amidst the rainforest’s beauty to becoming Brazil’s environment and climate change minister, Silva’s advocacy for sustainable development resonates profoundly. Her initiatives, including the creation of vital conservation entities like the Amazon Fund and the subsequent decrease in deforestation rates, underscore her impactful leadership. Silva’s relentless commitment to combating climate change and safeguarding the Amazon reinforces her pivotal role in fortifying the planet’s ecological resilience.

Marie-Claire Daveu: Advocating Sustainability in Luxury Fashion

Marie-Claire Daveu’s advocacy for sustainability within the Kering group spearheads a crucial movement in the luxury fashion industry. Recognizing the industry’s environmental impact, Daveu emphasizes sustainability as a core aspect of Kering’s growth strategy. Her transparent approach, sharing ambitious targets and progress, reflects a commitment to collective action. Encouraging industry-wide collaboration and sharing best practices, Daveu stands as a catalyst for transformative change, urging a shift towards responsible practices across businesses of all scales.

Narges Mohammadi: A Champion for Human Rights and Freedom

Narges Mohammadi embodies unwavering courage, a beacon for human rights and women’s autonomy. Her unyielding fight against oppressive regimes and “white torture” showcases her commitment to freedom and justice. Being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize attests to Mohammadi’s global impact in advocating for individual rights. Her stance against subjugation and the call for respect as equals resonate profoundly, emphasizing the pursuit of freedom as the most compelling endeavor.

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ft influential women 2023
Photo Credit : Financial Times

Olena Zelenska: A Voice of Honesty and Resilience

Olena Zelenska’s candid honesty amid Ukraine’s turmoil highlights her unwavering humanity and leadership. As the invasion of Ukraine unfolds, Zelenska’s authentic expressions resonate deeply, reflecting the shared struggles of her nation. Her efforts in addressing mental health issues during conflict and shedding light on the plight of Ukrainian children amidst Russian aggression amplify her role as a symbol of resilience. Zelenska’s unwavering dedication and attention to the suffering of her people demand global attention and support, underlining the imperative to aid Ukraine in its fight for freedom and peace.

Coco Gauff: A Rising Star on and off the Tennis Court

Coco Gauff’s journey from a young talent honing her skills in Florida to becoming a tennis sensation resonates with her exceptional athleticism and vibrant personality. Her prowess on the court and unwavering commitment to important causes, notably supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and opposing anti-LGBT+ laws, reveal her remarkable character beyond tennis. Gauff’s eloquence as a public speaker and her triumph at the US Open exemplify her potential for growth and impact, both within and beyond the tennis arena, promising a bright future ahead.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema: Guardian of Biodiversity and Nature

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema’s pivotal role in spearheading the Biodiversity COP15 agreement demonstrates her profound commitment to preserving our planet’s natural heritage. Her diplomatic finesse and collaborative efforts have been instrumental in advocating for halting wildlife destruction and safeguarding critical habitats. As the first African woman to lead the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Mrema’s unwavering dedication to environmental protection and her achievements in the landmark COP15 agreement underscore her enduring legacy in fostering global conservation efforts.

Jenni Hermoso: A Football Maestro and Courageous Advocate

Jenni Hermoso’s prowess on the football field and her resilience off it highlight her multifaceted leadership. As a standout performer at the Women’s World Cup and a crucial player in Spain’s victory, Hermoso exemplifies talent and skill. However, her response to adversity, particularly the handling of an incident involving sexual assault, portrays her courage and commitment to justice beyond the pitch. Hermoso’s steadfast pursuit of what is right serves as an inspiration and a beacon of courage for women worldwide.

Chen Chien-Jou: Catalyzing Change Through Courageous Discourse

Chen Chien-Jou’s pivotal role in Taiwan’s #MeToo movement reflects her courageous stand against workplace sexual harassment. Her public revelation sparked a nationwide conversation on a previously unspoken issue, challenging societal norms. Chen’s bravery bridged the gap between fiction and reality, underscoring a critical need for acknowledgment and accountability. Her courage galvanized societal change, leading to legislative reforms and a transformative societal reckoning.

Katalin Karikó: A Visionary Biochemist and Lifesaving Pioneer

Katalin Karikó’s groundbreaking research in mRNA technology, leading to the rapid development of life-saving vaccines, marks her as a pioneer in healthcare. Her persistent dedication to mRNA research, despite obstacles, laid the groundwork for a medical breakthrough during the Covid-19 pandemic. Karikó’s contributions, culminating in a Nobel Prize, stand as a testament to her visionary work that transformed the fight against the pandemic, ultimately saving countless lives and offering hope for a brighter future.

Also Read: The FT’s 25 most influential women of 2023

Conclusion – Influential Women of 2023

The women highlighted by the Financial Times in their coveted selection represent a mosaic of strength, innovation, and unwavering determination. From the artistic prowess of actresses like Margot Robbie and Alia Bhatt to the advocacy of activists like Narges Mohammadi and Olena Zelenska, each luminary contributes a unique thread to the fabric of global influence and empowerment. The FT’s list of the top 25 most influential women is sure to inspire women worldwide to reach greater heights in their chosen fields

As the world continues to evolve, these women stand as beacons of inspiration, leaving an indelible mark through their work, resilience, and commitment to driving meaningful change. In their stories, we find narratives of resilience, courage, and the limitless potential of female leadership, echoing far beyond this list and into the boundless future they help shape.

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