ten phenomenal women to inspire you this international women’s day

We take a moment to celebrate just a few of the brilliant and clever women to have lit up the pages of i-D in the past year. Who run the world? They do.

by i-D Staff
08 March 2017, 4:00pm

Photography Letty Schmiterlow

Name: Adwoa Aboah
Occupation: Model using her experience and understanding of depression and addiction to open a frank discussion about mental health, body image, and sexuality with girls around the world.
What we said: "With her shaved head, feline eyes, and freckles, Adwoa has an unforgettable face; she's beautiful. Team this with her warmth and amazing sense of style and you'd be forgiven for thinking she's got life sorted: self-assured and confident. But looks can be deceiving, and the past two years have seen the model face the hardest and darkest days of her life. Struggling with depression and addiction, she's been in and out of rehab, culminating in a suicide attempt at the end of 2014. Thankfully, out of tragedy comes triumph, and now sober, Adwoa is determined to use her experiences to provide other girls with a safe space to talk about the issues we all face growing up, a space where they can share their worries, and use female creativity as a tool for change" - Holly Shackleton

Alberta Ferretti

Name: Halima Aden
Occupation: The long-overdue first breakout hijab-wearing model who set social media on fire when she walked for Kanye West and Alberta Ferretti.
What we said: "Halima was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and has lived in the US since she was six years old. 'I wanted to spread a positive message about beauty and diversity and to show other young Muslim women that there is room for them,' she says of her Alberta Ferretti catwalk appearance. 'I chose love because nations that are not compassionate are destined to collapse.'" - Charlotte Gush

Photography Gia Coppola 

Name: Rowan Blanchard
Occupation: Former Disney star using her fame for positive change.
What we said: "As Rowan's grown up, she's realized the importance of using her platform to speak up. She's one of the most well-respected activists of her generation, busy using her position to speak honestly and openly to millions of loyal followers about feminism, sexism, and politics, educating and inspiring in equal measure. She's currently railing against President-elect Trump ("We can't normalize this!" she states), and spent last week on the streets protesting his election. 'Because of working on the Disney network, I get doubted a lot,' she says, of being judged for being young. 'There are a lot of people who are like, 'You're 15, you don't know what you're talking about.' But speaking out is also about trying to figure these things out for myself. I'm working it out as I go.'" - Felix Petty

Photography Josh Balboa

Name: Nina Donovan
Occupation: Poet behind Ashley Judd's explosive women's march speech.
What we said: "Currently, Nina is a student, splitting her time between sociology classes at Columbia State Community College and a part-time job at Dunkin' Donuts. When she has time, though, she attends and helps run Southern Word workshops at local schools. 'Some of the kids have never heard of spoken word before, or it's their first time writing a poem.' Inspiring other young people to use their voices is crucial she says, 'because my generation is going to be the one that creates change.'" - Alice Newell-Hanson

Photography Petra Collins

Name: Torraine Futurum
Occupation: Artist-cum-model seen treading the runway for Rio Uribe's Gypsy Sport.
What we said: "It was a 2014 annus horribilis in which Torraine lost everything ('And I promise that is not hyperbole. I lost everything except my breath') that presented the young New Yorker with the chance to start from scratch; or as she puts it: 'the opportunity to think about the person I would be if I was the only one on earth.' Documenting her transition through a series of cathartic self portraits titled Transgression: A Self-Centered Art Project, the aim was to cement these formative years — and all the fantasies, desires, love letters, and frustrations that went with them — in time forever. 'I believe in art. I cry over great songs, photos, films, even hair and makeup looks all the time,' she says. 'Love and art are the two most pure things humans have. And you can't always make love, but you can always make art.'" - Matthew Whitehouse

Photography Ailsa Fineron

Name: gal-dem
Age: Any and every
Occupation: An online creative space championing ethnically diverse narratives and news.
What we said: "Frustrated with stats that show an overwhelming bias towards white males in positions of power in British journalism, 23-year-old Liv Little teamed up with friend Leyla Reynolds, (who she met on their politics course at The University of Bristol), to set up gal-dem in September 2015. Liv hails from south London and serves as editor-in-chief while Ipswich-born Leyla acts as house illustrator and despite the site only being running for over a year, the girls have rallied a pool of over 60 contributors from all over the world to tell the stories that are missing from the mainstream." - Lynette Nylander

Photography Zoë Ghertner

Name: Sasha Lane
Occupation: The streetcast star of American Honey, one of the most prescient and important movies of last year.
What we said: "There's no doubting Sasha's luminescence. The star of this year's standout indie made an instant impression in American Honey, her film debut. As soon as she steps onscreen, cigarette tipped in her lips, chipped nails, scavenging for scraps, hitching a lift with her two similarly raggedy siblings, dreads tumbled roughly on top of her head, she is utterly believable as Star, scraping through life, navigating hunger, abuse, and neglect. She's instantly captivating; more than holding her own against Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough, despite having zero experience" - Hattie Collins

Photography Mayan Toledano

Name: Hanne Gaby Odiele
Occupation: Belgian model and unofficial poster girl for the entire community.
What we said: "In a further effort to spread awareness, Hanne has teamed up with InterACT Advocates for Intersex Youth, a non-profit organization which campaigns for the rights and visibility of intersex people worldwide. 'I finally accept myself and live openly as a proud intersex woman,' Hanne says. 'I operate with my own set of rules, and I feel free to be who I am. I want every intersex person to feel like this. I want them to feel protected, respected, and valued all over the world.' With someone as kind-hearted and brave as Hanne fighting their corner, we hope they soon will do" - Tish Weinstock

Photography Gia Coppola

Name: Yara Shahidi
Occupation: Zoey Johnson in hit TV show Black-ish.
What we said: "Minneapolis-born Yara is anything but typical; she's more switched-on than most adults and is blazing through Hollywood, making a name for herself with her acting skills as well as her fearlessness in speaking out for what she believes in. When Yara isn't on set, she's busy discussing the importance of girls' education with First Lady Michelle Obama, launching her young women's mentoring program, Yara's Club with Ann Tisch, planning to study sociology at college, and generally just being the voice of a generation. 'Being politically engaged is a way of addressing concerns and realizing the power that we hold when we channel our energy and voices into making positive changes.'" - Lynette Nylander

Photography Piczo

Name: Sisters Uncut
Any and every
Occupation: The living, screaming, government office-storming front line of the modern women's rights movement.
What we said: "Launched in November 2014, Sisters Uncut was created by activists from anti-austerity campaign group UK Uncut to highlight how austerity cuts to domestic violence services, particularly specialist services for women of color and LGBTQ women, directly result in the avoidable deaths of women. To draw public attention to this issue, the Sisters have staged headline grabbing actions such as a 'die-in' on the red carpet at the Suffragettes film premiere. Praised as the 'perfect response' to the film by star Helena Bonham Carter, the Sisters stormed the red carpet, chanting 'Dead women can't vote' to remind everyone that the struggle for equality is far from over at a time when two women are murdered each week by their current or former partner, and the Government are slashing services that could have kept them alive" - Charlotte Gush 

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