Marina Silva
©Raquel Espirito Santo

Women of 2014

A celebration of the extraordinary women who have made their mark — as leaders, campaigners and fighters — in a year that has shaken the world. We begin with Brazilian politician Marina Silva

Headline makers

A collage of women who made the headlines in 2014
Quotes from some of the world’s most prominent women
Nicola Sturgeon
©Sophie Gerrard

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister

The government leader on equality, appearances and snatching victory from the jaws of referendum defeat

Laura Poitras
©Eva Tuerbl

Laura Poitras, the journalist who exposed the NSA

Whistleblower Edward Snowden needed a formidable ally. He found one in this Oscar-nominated film-maker

Li Na
©Adam Dean; Panos

Li Na, tennis star

The Grand Slam winner is one of China’s great sporting heroes. Now retiring, she is determined to coach the next generation to victory

Naomi Klein
©Hannah Starkey

Naomi Klein, climate change activist

The author and anti-globalisation firebrand has targeted billionaires such as Branson and Bloomberg to expose how capitalism has failed to fight global warming

Ebola campaigner Joanne Liu
©Namsa Leuba

Joanne Liu, Ebola campaigner

A deadly virus, overstretched staff and global apathy — luckily, the new leader of Médecins Sans Frontières is a force to be reckoned with

General Zelal, 33, of the YPJ, photographed at a YPJ checkpoint base, Raabia, Kurdistan, August 2014
©Erin Trieb

Fighters: The women of the YPJ, the Syrian Kurdish Women’s Protection Units

The YPJ has become a cause célèbre: the image of bronzed women toting guns is a rare symbol of female empowerment in a conservative region

Lucy Peng, Alibaba chief people officer

Tech stars: The women of Alibaba

A third of founding partners and nine out of 30 managers are female at the Chinese ecommerce group, the world’s second-largest internet company

Hadiza Bala Usman
©Benedicte Kurzen

#BringBackOurGirls: Hadiza Bala Usman

How one woman’s bid to help free the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria turned into a global social media campaign

Arundhati Bhattacharya

Arundhati Bhattacharya, head of State Bank of India

The first woman to chair India’s most important financial institution is part of a banking industry that is the most female-friendly in the world

Women we watched: mini profiles

Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer who is a lot more than celebrity tabloid fodder

Ana Botín

As the latest scion of the dynasty, and one of the most senior women in global banking, her progress will be closely watched

Marine Le Pen

Under her leadership, France’s far-right Front National party has been resurgent

Mary Beard

Instead of counter-attacking her critics head-on, this professor and journalist chose to intellectually dismantle online misogynists

Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky

Can the newest member of the Clinton political dynasty swing a presidential election?

Kim Kardashian

The 34-year-old celebrity, who has more than 26 million Twitter followers, is the model of a very 21st-century kind of fame

Lena Dunham

The 28-year-old has, like it or not, captured the loyalty and lives of a generation

Serena Williams

At 33, she juggles different roles and still has the time to nab her 18th Grand Slam title

FT Magazine Cover


'I always say I was illiterate until I was 16 but I already had a PhD in the ways of the world' Marina Silva, the political visionary who has run twice for the leadership of Brazil