The Coolest Global Women You Need to Know

© Yu Tsai for Sports Illustrated

There are so many interesting women all around the world. Women that are immensely talented, breaking barriers, creating change, or simply cool. That is why we’ve created a list of global women you need to know. While the list is not comprehensive and not in a ranking order, it does highlight women under 40 that may not necessarily be mainstream but will inspire you nonetheless. Here’s our 2020 global roundup of 8 fascinating women.

1. Setting Records for Women in World Politics

Mrs. Marin is one politician to know. Not only is she the current Prime Minister of Finland, but when she assumed office in December 2019, she set the record (at the age of 34) for the youngest female head of government in the world and the youngest Prime Minister of Finland. However, her political career is far from fledgling. In her twenties, she held many elected positions. Although, she has not been without her critics, especially for her mainly female and young cabinet, she has proven to be up to the task and is  known for her clear, calm and effective demeanor.  

Sanna Marin

© NurPhoto

2. Breaking Barriers for Black Women in France’s Music Industry

Aya Nakamura

© ValeryHache/AFP/Getty Images

Aya Nakamura

Having been born in Mali and moved to Paris at a young age, Aya has stated that she didn’t grow up with black French female icons that looked like her. What she saw was a devoid of women with darker-skin, so she set out to change that. In a few short years, Aya has carved out a spot for herself with her mesmerizing presence and bold popularity. She has already racked up more than 400 million views on YouTube and was named Spotify’s most streamed French artist. With her African infused dance beats and songs calling out social issues, she is well on her way to becoming an icon.

3. Leader for Women in International Sports Broadcasting

Kate Abdo is a force to be reckoned with. Coming from Manchester, England, this sports broadcaster is fluent in at least 4 languages—French, Spanish, German, and Englishand holds a degree in European Languages. Not only is she highly skilled but also she is a naturally talented broadcaster. With her fun, genuine, and easy-going presence, Kate has been tapped to host some of the most popular sports events in the world, World Cup coverage and the Ballon d’Or to name a few. Nowadays, she can be seen stateside hosting Fox’s Premier Boxing Champions. For her linguistic brilliance and charisma, Ms. Abdo is a welcoming presence in sportscasting.

Kate Abdo


4. An Inspiration for Young Women in Arab Sports

Ons Jabeur

© Getty Images

Ons Jabeur

Twenty-five year old, Tunisian professional tennis player, Ons Jabeur just made history at the 2020 Australia Open. She is the first Arab women to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament. Playing tennis since the age of 3, she gave up opportunities to be trained abroad, stating “I’m trying to inspire many (of the) young generation back home either in Tunisia or the Arabic world…” And she is doing exactly that. In 2019, she was named the best Arab woman in sports. Gaining world recognition is one thing but being a trailblazer for Arab women in sports is nothing shy of amazing.

5. Rising Star Making Waves in French Cinema

If you happened to watch the Netflix series, “The Hookup Plan,” and became enamored with Zita Hanrot, you would not be alone. This French actress is a rising star with a vivacious appeal. Proving she can do drama as well as comedy, in 2016, she won the Cesar award (French equivalent of winning an Oscar) for Most Promising Actress for her role in Fatima.  Now, she gladly adds director to her merits as she released her first short film. With her cool girl style and acting prowess, Zita is one artist to sweep you off your feet.

Zita Hanrot

© Marcel Hartmann for Netflix

6. Fighting Beauty Standards for Muslim Women

Halima Aden

© Yu Tsai for Sports Illustrated

Halima Aden

You might know her as the first Sports Illustrated model photographed not wearing a bikini or seen her donning her hijab in fashion campaigns. In any regard, Halima Aden is a unique image and voice that is fighting stereotypes in the modeling world. Born in a Kenyan resettlement camp to a Somalian mother, her family later found refuge in America. Since gaining international recognition for wearing her hijab—which is a non-negotiable part of her contracts—Halima has become an activist for muslin women. She is outspoken about not conforming to societies beauty standards and shows young women it’s okay to be modest and modern.

7. Protecting and Aiding the Lives of Teens

Jamie is redefining gaming. Through her company, Good Brain Labs, she is helping people deal with depression and improve their mental health through mobile games. Based in Hong Kong, Jamie holds a doctorate’s in clinical psychology and is using her expertise to better the lives of at-risk youth. Additionally, she runs a digital suicide prevention platform, The Brightly Project, to help vulnerable students.

Jamie Chiu

© Jamie Chiu (found on Inkline)

8. Creating Change in Fashion Through Culture

Priya Ahluwalia

© Priya Ahluwalia

Priya Ahluwalia

After taking trips to visit her family in Nigeria and India, Priya was inspired by the local garment recycling trend. Having obtained a masters in Menswear, Priya began designing streetwear for men that focused on forward-thinking yet sustainable clothes. Since then, Priya has won many accolades, including H&M Design Award 2019 and LVMH Prize finalist. Most recently, she has worked with Adidas and has had her AW19 collection showcased at Paris Fashion Week. Based in London, Ahluwalia Studio has been rising in the world of men’s fashion. If current success is any indicator of future success, then this is just her beginning.