Courage Knows No Boundaries: The Bravest Women in the World 2023

Muzamil Amar

Head of Content at a digital agency in Pakistan, content-marketing expert, scriptwriter

Head of Content at a digital agency in Pakistan, content-marketing expert, scriptwriter

“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear, but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” —
Paulo Coelho

Woman Power Magazine has compiled a list of the bravest women of 2023, who serve as shining examples for all of us. While celebrating their remarkable courage, let us also acknowledge and honour every woman bravely facing her daily battles. You are not alone, and your strength is truly appreciated!

Extraordinary individuals in our list have conquered prejudice, battled against oppression, and left a profound impact on their communities and beyond. Their inspiring stories will motivate and empower you while reminding us of the importance of courage. 

Let's shine a light on these exceptional people and their inspiring journeys, which will undoubtedly inspire positive change in the world.

Nancy Pelosi: A Legend of American Politics

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to hold the position of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. The efforts of Pelosi resulted in the Affordable Care Act, providing healthcare coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans.

The Political Journey of Nancy Pelosi:

Speaker Pelosi led the House in formulating and adopting the American Rescue Plan under the Biden-Harris Administration. This life-saving legislation helped billions of Americans obtain vaccines, directly assisted needy families, generated thousands of new jobs, supported frontline heroes like teachers, firefighters, police officers, and transit workers, and facilitated children's safe return to school.

The Infrastructure Development and Jobs Act, a democratic initiative aimed at improving the nation's highways, bridges, ports, water utilities, and internet service in various communities, has been successfully passed by the House under the guidance of its Speaker, Pelosi. She began her political journey as an active member of the Democratic Party while balancing her responsibilities as a family caregiver. Currently, she serves as the leader of California's congressional party and earned her seat in Congress through a special election held in 1987.

Nancy is considered a brave lady after her courageous trip to Taiwan. On this trip, the House Speaker defied the Chinese government, which had threatened to shoot her plane out of the sky. Despite President Biden's warning, she had made this visit. This is a brave example. 

Pelosi assumed that the histrionics of Communist Party propagandists before the trip were just that. She landed safely, and Beijing seemed unlikely to interfere with her departure.

Regardless, Pelosi's departure marks the start of a new and difficult phase in Washington's efforts to stop a future Chinese invasion of Taiwan. China has promised a strong, if entirely unwarranted, response.  Regardless of its reservations over Pelosi's trip, the White House must seek to discourage any Chinese response that threatens Taiwan's territorial waters and airspace.


Olena Zelenska: First Lady of Ukraine

Time named Olena Zelenska one of the most influential 100 individuals of 2023. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, this brave woman unexpectedly faced an exceedingly difficult challenge: being the country's first lady amid a harsh and unjust conflict. She had to be brave as a wife and mother, realizing that her relatives were on Russia's hit list, and she was identified as Russia's next target.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Olena Zelenska has played a more important role in supporting Ukraine. She has also traveled the world, spoken with leaders, and stated at the United Nations in February, "We have a right to stay free, not to be murdered or tortured." She also mentioned a 30-year-old female military nurse who was slain in battle near Bakhmut in the east, drawing a gasp from the women gathering at the meeting.

Olena stayed out of the spotlight before Volodymyr Zelenskyi was elected president. Still, for the sake of her country's future, she had to speak before the US Congress, give numerous interviews to journalists from around the world, and meet with the governing bodies of Ukraine's partner countries.

Zelenska showed heartbreaking photos of kids who had died at the hands of Russian missiles during a historic and powerful speech she delivered before the US Congress. She sincerely pleaded for more weapons to safeguard the "right to protect Ukrainian families and the chance for them to wake up in their homes alive."

A Foundation was established by the First Lady of Ukraine with the goal of ensuring that Ukrainians have the chance to build a future in their native country through participation in humanitarian, medical, and educational programmes. She announced the existence of her foundation on September 22, 2022, in New York City at a charity event for the 77th UN General Assembly.

Olena Zelenska is in charge of transporting orphans abroad for long-term stays, providing bomb shelters in schools, and organizing the construction of dwellings for war-affected families.

Afghan Doctor: Zakira Hekmat

Hekmat survived Taliban authority in Afghanistan and relocated to Kayseri, Turkey, where she studied medicine at Erciyes University with the support of a Turkish government scholarship. She then became a doctor in Turkiye and, in 2014, established the Afghan Refugees Solidarity Association in the country's Central Anatolia area, where many Afghan refugees had sought safety.

She has since worked as a representative for migrants and refugees in Turkiye, assisting many Afghans, particularly women, girls, and minorities, in obtaining refugee status and asylum in Turkiye. During the epidemic, Hekmat gave winter supplies to numerous Turkish and refugee families and assisted in the production and distribution of masks and soap to 6,000 households in collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, local volunteers, and public authorities.

"I'm still at the beginning of my advocacy journey," she told Arab News. My actual residence is in Turkiye. I can breathe there and give back to the world through both my professional activities and humanitarian efforts.

Hekmat, now a Turkish citizen, grew up in the first Taliban regime and taught disadvantaged children in Afghanistan's Ghazni area. Despite growing anti-refugee sentiment in Turkiye, particularly as a result of the inflow of Syrians displaced by their country's civil war and Afghans during the Taliban takeover, Hekmat has never given up working for Afghan women and girls' rights.

Alba Rueda: The First Openly Transgender Politician in Argentina

Rueda, a transgender woman, was born in the Salta region in northern Argentina. Previously, Rueda served as the Women, Gender, and Diversity Ministry's first undersecretary for diversity policies in Argentina. She is the first trans woman to serve in a top government post in the nation.

According to Rueda, her role "deals exclusively with foreign policy regarding diversity policies," she told the Washington Blade.

Because of the activists' and movements' effective tactics that impacted politics, she sees enormous significance in Argentina's advancements in LGBTQ and intersex rights. Rueda stated in her speech that she will try to better the lives of LGBTQ and intersex individuals in other Latin American nations based on her work in Argentina.

 Meaza Mohammed: An Ethiopian journalist

“Courage is choosing the truth and to stand for it, even if it isn’t popular, because in the end, the truth shall make you free.”
Meaza Mohammed

Meaza Mohammed, An experienced Ethiopian journalist, founded Roha TV, an independent news and information station on YouTube.  

In Ethiopia, where broadcast media is virtually state-controlled, such channels have grown in popularity to disseminate news and analysis that differs from the official government narrative.  

Her reporting has covered stories about survivors of gender-based violence, including sexual violence in the present conflict, with whom she has worked personally to get treatment and other assistance.  Mohammed has uploaded interviews with scores of women who were raped or otherwise sexually attacked by armed militants during the northern conflict on her platform.    

She has been jailed several times and charged with various offences, including spreading false rumours and giving the army's battlefield area to the enemy.  Despite her arrests, Mohammed is devoted to fighting for victims of gender-based violence and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

Yuliia Paievska: A Ukrainian Medic

Yuliia Paievska's moniker in the computer game World of Warcraft, Taira, is how she is known in Ukraine. She captured 256 terabytes of her team's efforts to save the injured, including both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, over two weeks using a body camera.

She gave the videos to an Associated Press team, the final foreign reporters in Mariupol, Ukraine, and one of them escaped on March 15 with it hidden inside a tampon. Taira and a colleague were reportedly taken prisoner by Russian troops on March 16, the same day that a Russian attack on the theater in the city center claimed approximately 600 lives, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

Paievska worked as a tactical healthcare instructor on the front lines in Donbas from 2014 to 2018.The Angels of Taira were a group of paramedics that Pajevska assembled after she started working as an emergency responder in the east of Ukraine.

The unit's members were required to abide by Pajevska's rules, which she had developed over years of demanding physical training. After seeing the high rates of drinking among veterans, she also instituted a general prohibition on alcohol. "We have strict discipline," Pajevska stated to Al Jazeera.  "Everything is very straightforward; all of our people must be completely honest and trustworthy."


The Iranian Feminist Movement

In 2022, the Islamic Republic of Iran has witnessed widespread protests following the tragic detention and death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman. These demonstrations have presented challenges for Ayatollah Khamenei's government, as they continue to resist attempts at suppression. One of the main focal points of these protests centers around the issue of Iranian women's mandatory requirement to cover their hair. These protests have shown considerable resilience and have not been easily suppressed.

They encompass many facets of society in numerous ways. Women in Iran have historically been quite political. They participated in the Constitutional Revolution in 1905. In the 1950s, they participated in the nationalist movement. They later took part in the Revolution of 1979 and the massive Green Movement protests in 2009. However, the protest has never been focused on their issues. For the first time, men are supporting the rallies, which are truly revolving around the needs and issues of women.

It's also important to recall that a substantial number of Iranians residing outside of Iran have joined the movement in a manner that previous uprisings, particularly in 2009, did not. Everything is well-planned this time. The most recent protest in Berlin attracted between 80,000 and 100,000 people. In Washington and Toronto, there were protests. All of the above suggests that the Iranian rebellion has a global component.

What You Can Do to Help the Movement

There are numerous ways to show devotion to these courageous women and girls activists. You can raise awareness of their plight through social media, donate to organizations that aim to advance rights for women in Iran and advocate for them such as The Women Organization of Iran. Remember that change starts with each of us.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bravery and Inspiration

Here are some frequently asked questions on bravery and inspiration:

What exactly is the definition of bravery?

Being brave entails facing your fears and overcoming difficulties to attain your goals. It entails taking chances and sticking up for what you think, especially when faced with hardship.

How can I develop courage?

Bravery is not a natural trait but a skill that may be honed over time. You must practice facing your anxieties and taking modest chances to become bold. Begin by creating minor goals for yourself and gradually progressing to larger tasks.

Who motivates you?

Many people throughout the world amaze me with their courage and determination. Innumerable individuals encourage me to be a better person, from activists working for social justice to athletes pushing their limits to everyday heroes speaking up for what they think.

How can I motivate others?

The first step in inspiring people is to set a good example. Show others that everything can happen if you have the bravery to pursue your aspirations by being fearless in your own life. You can also encourage and assist people to take risks and overcome their anxieties.

What are some instances of ordinary bravery?

Everyday courage can take many different shapes. It could involve confronting a bully, speaking out for what you value, or taking risks in your job or personal life. It can also entail confronting your anxieties and attempting something new.

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