In order to compile this year’s list, BBC tackled a particular topic: What would the future look like if it were driven by women? And this is the question that BBC hopes to have answered with its recently published 2019 list.
The answers materialized in the achievements of women from all over the world working in a variety of fields; from an architect proposing a vision to rebuild her neighborhood in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs, to the vision of a woman working at NASA running a helicopter flight to Mars, and many other inspiring and influential women contributing to make a significant difference.
Many of the selected women are prominent in their respective fields. They are trying to present their vision of how life would look like in 2030, from climate change activist Greta Thunberg to trans woman Nisha Ayub who was put into a male prison at the age of 21.
Others are also on the list for various achievements in 2019, such as the “ghost” politician who has challenged the mafia, and the footballer who confronts women’s haters in order to pave the way for those who will come after her.
As for our Lebanese achievers, they have earned their places in the list for their significant influence in bringing in positive changes. And here they are:
The poet and performer Dayna Ash was born in America. After returning to Lebanon at the age of 16, she founded Haven for Artists, an organization of artists and activists from all walks of life. It is the only organization in Lebanon that provides a cultural and creative space for women and other marginalized people in the country.
Dyna and her team run the center free of charge, and this space encourages artists and activists to share tools, expertise, and experiences.
Ayah Bdeir is the co-founder of LittleBits, a company that invented kits of electronic blocks that snap together with magnets, allowing anyone to “build, prototype, and invent.” Distinctively, these kits target children and specifically girls at the age of ten.
These pieces have been used in thousands of US schools. This year, LittleBits launched a 4 million dollar initiative, funded by Disney, to try to bridge the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, (STEM), providing 15,000 girls aged 10 in California with free kits of LittleBits.
Professor Saliba conducts world-leading research on air pollution. She is currently working on her research with AUB that will lead to the possibility of addressing many of today’s environmental challenges.