Pupils from 150 Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) schools have selected a shortlist of eight figures in the public eye for their inaugural Woman of the Year awards.
The nominees are:
Adwoah Aboah British fashion model
Founded the online support platform Gurls Talk, following personal experience managing her own mental health.
Dr Katie Bouman American computer scientist
Led the development of an algorithm for imaging black holes and was a member of the Event Horizon Telescope team that captured the first image of a black hole.
Orla Doherty BBC producer and underwater filming expert
Produced the Deep Sea episode of the award-winning Blue Planet II series.
Stacey Dooley Journalist and documentary maker
Appointed MBE in 2018 for services to broadcasting, including BBC Three documentaries about child labour and women in developing countries.
The one thing they all seem to have in common is the ability to overcome adversity and to show strength in the face of difficult circumstances
Katie Piper Philanthropist, TV presenter and former model
Founded the Katie Piper Foundation to help victims of burns and other disfigurement injuries, after undergoing pioneering surgery to restore her own face and vision following an acid attack.
Greta Thunberg Swedish climate change activist
Initiated school strike for climate movement, an international movement of school students deciding not to attend classes and instead taking part in demonstrations demanding action to prevent further climate change.
Serena Williams Professional tennis champion
Winner of more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era.
Malala Yousafzai Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient
Became a prominent activist for the right to education after being shot by a Taliban gunman; co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education. Malala attended Edgbaston High School – a GSA school – after moving to the UK.
GSA president, Sue Hincks, thinks the shortlist shows that girls are beginning to understand it’s ok not to be perfect, and that what matters is how you deal with life’s setbacks.
“The shortlist includes women with multi-faceted interests embracing diverse walks of life from fashion to broadcasting to political campaigning,” she said. “The one thing they all seem to have in common is the ability to overcome adversity and to show strength in the face of difficult circumstances.
“Whether that strength manifests itself in rising to the top of your field in a male-dominated profession, meeting criticism head-on, or refusing to be silenced or side-lined, all eight shortlisted women are indicative of the fact that the current generation of girls and young women in our schools understands that it’s okay not to be perfect: what matters is how you learn and grow as a result of whatever life throws at you.
“In that respect, these women are excellent role models and highly relevant to young women today.”
The ultimate winner of the GSA Woman of the Year award will be announced at the GSA’s annual conference in November.