Women across the globe this year have been making history, transforming lives, and reminding us what it means to be unapologetic in the skin we’re in. This year has had its lows, but there were a few faces that have managed to make this year worthwhile and even worth living–literally and figuratively. This is a list of 15 girl bosses we have to recognize in 2020. This article features women who have continued to make the people around them feel alive, as well as women who have passed, yet continue to live within our hearts today. Check it out!
1. Halima Aden | @halima
Somali-American fashion model Halima Aden is known for being a trailblazer, as she became the first hijabi to walk NYC catwalks in 2017 for Kanye West’s Yeezy line, as well as becoming the first hijabi to wear a burkini on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Aden’s platform has always been rooted in equity and inclusivity, from her advocacy as a UNICEF ambassador to her major influence as a Muslim woman in the fashion and beauty worlds. This year, Aden has become THE girl boss by creating a collection of compatible hijabs/turbans and face mask sets to protect against COVID-19.
2. Joy Harjo | joyharjo.com
Joy Harjo is a musician, author, and poet, holding the honor of being the first Native American and the current 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, her poetry speaks of self-definition and social justice, using Native American oral storytelling as a tool to discuss personal and universal issues within Native American culture. Her performative and passionate storytelling has made her a true artist. What has made her a girl boss this year is being appointed the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for a third term this fall, making her the second person in 77 years to fulfill three terms.
3. Women Healthcare Workers Around The World
Due to the 2020 global pandemic, healthcare workers around the world have made it their duty to put their lives on the line to ease the lives of everyone around them. This couldn’t be more true for women healthcare workers on the front lines. From the thousands of underpaid women healthcare workers in India to the millions of nurses in the West, many women health workers have been “the shock absorbers of society” this year. Their extreme lengths to help large community efforts and hospital teams haven’t and will never go unnoticed, making them girl boss superheroes.
4. Alicia Garza | @chasinggarza
While #blacklivesmatter has been a movement for several years now, this year, the hashtag became a battle cry after the unlawful murders and deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more. One of the faces and co-founders of Black Lives Matter is Alicia Garza, a self-proclaimed queer social justice activist who actually coined the term “black lives matter” and has since been featured in a plethora of magazines and programs advocating for justice and equity. Alicia Garza’s words and actions have not only brought a nation together but ultimately garnered the attention of people all over the world in masses. Thus, making her a girl boss. The other incredible Black women behind the Black Lives Matter movement are Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors.
5. Sara Sadok | @saratonin.com
TikTok has been an escape and a helpful tool for many during this pandemic, as individuals from different countries and worlds united through dance, music, stories, celebrations, hardships, etc. Despite many famous TikTokers being known for their cool dance moves and catchy sounds, TikToker Sara Sadok went viral for posting a gentle and encouraging video to help sit others down and enjoy a meal with her this year. The goal of the video was to assist people who struggle with an eating disorder or simply have trouble eating at the moment. The video has brought awareness to mental and physical health disorders and has helped millions of people through Sadok’s gentle voice and motivational behavior. A life-changing girl boss.
6. Kamala Harris | @kamalaharris
November 3rd this year marked the highest voter turnout in the country, making Joe Biden the 44th President of the United States and, notably, Kamala Harris being the first woman, first Black, and first Asian vice-president-elect in the history of the United States. Harris was a former District Attorney of San Francisco for 7 years and a former Attorney General of California for 6 years. Her extensive resume as a senator and prosector has proven her to be a formidable political figure and powerful woman, further strengthened by the number of honors and awards she has received in her long-running career. Today, Kamala Harris is a force to be reckoned with and an example for many women, especially women of color that they too can be vice-president and/or president one day. She is this nation’s girl boss.
7. Megan Thee Stallion | @theestallion
The rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s songs, dance moves, story, and image has dominated the internet by the millions. Outside of her music, Megan has always been an uplifting public figure and, this year has sparked conversations of misogynoir (the mistreatment of black women), social justice issues surrounding black women, like Breonna Taylor, and allowing the world in on her story of assault in July. Not only has she become a household name, but she has become everyone’s best friend, social justice warrior, and icon. This year alone, she has graced the 2020 covers of Rolling Stone, TIME Magazine, GQ, and more. She was even given the title of Rapper of the Year by GQ and has made TIME Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2020. Megan is THEE hot girl boss we all needed.
8. Dr. Vanita Rattan | @skincarebydrv
In the beauty industry, skincare has recently been a booming sector that has called for more advanced and refined products, practices, and lines to cater to all skin types dealing with all kinds of issues. While skincare experts and dermatologists have concentrated on general skincare for individuals, it is dermatologists like Dr. Vanita Rattan that took the time to outline how to take care of skin of color. According to her site, she is one of the leading pioneers of research and treatment of hyperpigmentation in African and Asian skin. Her hyperpigmentation clinic and highly informative YouTube channel has changed the game and enlightened the skincare community on skin of color in so many ways. She is a skincare girl boss that has transformed many lives for the better.
9. Princess Diana | Diana: In Her Own Words
Although she has passed away tragically, Princess Diana has been one of the most relevant princesses in the media right now. If not, the most relevant since she assumed the throne. The late princess’ royal story was revisited this year in the Netflix drama series The Crown, as well as the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words on the famous streaming site. 2020 has been a year of reflection, as the world lamented Princess Diana’s life in fiction and in personal narration. Her acts of charity, sensibilities, uniqueness, and overall wholesomeness made her stand out amongst the mundanity of royal life, making the world fall in love with her once again. This year is evidence that Princess Diana continues to be an inspiration and a girl boss that’ll be cherished for a lifetime.
10. Tabitha Brown | @iamtabithabrown
Brightening up our day with positivity might mean opening ourselves to leading a healthy lifestyle; a lifestyle social media influencer and actress Tabitha Brown has introduced to people through vegan recipes, motivational speaking, and comedic one-liners. While her hard work in film and motivational speaking has been a long journey, this year has been a breakout moment for Brown in so many areas of her life. She has been on the cover of and featured in IMPACT magazine, listed as number two out of the top ten TikTok creators of 2020, and landed a vegan cooking segment as a chef on The Ellen Show this year. As she would put it, just “like so, like that”. She has made this list of girl bosses by reminding women that you can be successful in more than one thing and at any age.
11. Esther Horvath | @estherhorvath
Esther Horvath is a conservation photographer, author, a fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a member of The Photo Society. She is also a contributor for National Geographic and is helping conduct climate research through photography for the Alfred Wegener Institute. This year, an image she captured in 2019 titled Polar Bear and her Cub was featured in Forbes Magazine, as it was nominated for the 2020 World Press Photo of the Year. The image catches a mama polar bear and her cub curiously and carefully examining scientific installations during a MOSiAC expedition. The space allusion of the image and the state of thinning ice in the Arctic made this photo important to the existence of polar bears and their waning environment. This captured moment is what makes Esther Horvath an environmental girl boss.
12. Cathy Ang | @thecathyang
Disney extraordinaire and animator legend Glen Keane (responsible for animating Tarzan, Pocahontas, Aladdin, etc.) brought the film Over the Moon to life this year, with the protagonist of the film being voiced by actress Cathy Ang. Ang voices the role of Fei Fei, a young, daring girl who builds a rocket ship to meet the Chinese Moon goddess Chang’e. From the animation to the all-Asian cast, Cathy Ang’s role as Fei Fei and member of such a meaningful and moving film has made her an important and representational figure of 2020. Her theater work, as well as her acting career, is only at its peak as she has made waves for future actresses like herself to tell pivotal stories involving Asian women and strong young girls as a whole. She is a girl boss on the rise.
13. Stacey Abrams | @staceyabrams
It is people like Stacey Abrams we have to thank when reflecting on the highest voter turnout the nation has ever seen. Abrams is a politician but, most importantly, a voting rights activist who worked hard and was able to promptly register over 800,000 new voters in Georgia affected by voter suppression. This success also wouldn’t have been conceivable without the help and efforts of ProGeorgia executive director Tamieka Atkins, Georgia’s Coalition for the People’s Agenda executive director Helen Butler, The New Georgia Project’s Nsé Ufot, and GA Stand Up executive director Deborah Scott. Stacey Abrams is a woman of the people and has made history in the state of Georgia, making her a trailblazing girl boss. She believes electing leaders is about work, ethics, and accountability in the realm of politics, and we couldn’t agree more.
14. Breonna Taylor | Stand with Breonna Taylor
2020 has brought us angering, frustrating, and jaw-dropping times, but surely it was the murder of Breonna Taylor in her Louisville apartment and the injustice that followed that made us feel a storm of negative emotions this year. From her unlawful and cloudy death to people demanding what’s right, Breonna’s name, birthday, life, and story have been shared, celebrated, and lamented a million times over. Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT and first responder on the front lines when COVID-19 came in waves in the U.S. She was loved by her family and friends and known to be a caring person to those around her. While she was face-to-face with a virus to protect others, her life ended in the hands of police officers that were meant to protect her. Her name has been heard around the world and has enraged many. Her life and story continue to matter today as she still hasn’t received the justice she deserves.
15. Ruth Bader Ginsburg | RBG
This year has marked an end of an era pioneered by no other than Ruth Bader Ginsburg–the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court who passed away in September. The late judge was known for being successful in fighting against gender discrimination throughout her life and serving as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 70s. Ginsburg has won numerous arguments before the Supreme Court in regards to women’s and civil rights, restructuring the 14th amendment we know today throughout her legal career. Her eloquence, over 30-year servitude to the Supreme Court, compassion, and passion for social justice made her a cultural and unforgettable pop icon. She made a modern home out of the Supreme Court, making all genders forever grateful for her contributions to modern day politics.