Special Report

The Most Influential Women of the 21st Century

Source: World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons

Indra Nooyi
> Area of influence: Business
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 1,453,586

Indra Nooyi served as CEO of PepsiCo from 2006 to 2018, and over that time, the company’s revenue rose 80%. Nooyi has been candid about the struggle to balance the pressure of leading one of the world’s largest beverage companies with her home life.

Source: John Phillips / Getty Images

J.K. Rowling
> Area of influence: Literature
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 42,778

J.K. Rowling emerged from relative poverty in the United Kingdom to become the world’s first billionaire author as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy book series. Her influence was such that she was the runner-up as Time magazine’s person of the year in 2007 because her books had been such an inspiration for her fans.

Source: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Yoani María Sánchez Cordero
> Area of influence: Activism
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 898

Yoani María Sánchez Cordero is a Cuban journalist and entrepreneur who gained notoriety and fans such as President Barack Obama for writing critically about Cuban daily life. She depicts life on the island nation through her blog “Generación Y” that is translated into 17 languages. Sánchez Cordero overcomes censorship by emailing her blog to friends living outside Cuba, who then post them online.

Source: Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

Laverne Cox
> Area of influence: Entertainment/Activism
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 5,107,173

Laverne Cox is one of the highest-profile figures in the transgender community. She plays a transgender character on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” and does much advocacy work on behalf of her community. Cox has played other transgender characters on television, appearing in 2008 on the VH1 show “I Want to Work for Diddy.” She is the first transgender woman of color to appear on a reality TV show.

Source: Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Kimberlé Crenshaw
> Area of influence: Activism
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 4,694

Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor at Columbia Law School who coined the term “intersectionality” 28 years ago. Intersectionality has become a common term in the national conversation about racial justice, identity politics, and policing beyond the African-American community and has come to include LGBTQ issues.