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Fighters for women, LGBT+ rights, climate make most-influential lists

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 18 April 2019 20:16 GMT

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg joins Italian students to demand action on climate change, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK, April 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Feminists, fighters for LGBT+ rights and foes of climate change took the public spotlight on Thursday, named to annual lists honoring leadership and influence compiled by U.S. publications Time and Fortune.

Named to both lists were Sweden's Greta Thunberg, a climate change student activist who inspired global protests, and U.S. venture capitalist Aileen Lee who helped launch the All Raise nonprofit to champion women in the tech industry.

Each year, Fortune publishes a list of the world's 50 greatest leaders, while Time puts out a list of the 100 most influential people.

"These leaders take action before others do, leading from out front, where the risk is often dire and their own future least certain," Fortune wrote.

"They plunge ahead anyway. That's why we recognize sheer audacity," it said.

Time also celebrated Hoesung Lee, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international scientific agency, for work against global warming.

Leaders for women's rights filled the lists, including Loujain al-Hathloul, named by Time for challenging male domination in Saudi Arabia, particularly its driving ban for women, now lifted.

Time cited Ailbhe Smyth, Grainne Griffin and Orla O'Connor of a reproductive rights group instrumental in Ireland's vote to repeal its anti abortion laws, and Dr. Leana Wen, head of the U.S. reproductive rights group Planned Parenthood.

Fortune cited the so-called Pink Wave of women elected to U.S. political office in November 2018 and Katrina Lake, head of styling service Stitch Fix, who it said set a "trailblazing example" by taking 16 weeks parental leave while chief executive of a publicly traded company.

Time honored Dream Hampton, maker of a documentary series "Surviving R. Kelly" about sexual abuse, and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Kavanaugh, now on the nation's highest court, also made Time's list.

Lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy made Time's list for their work in overturning India's anti-LGBT+ laws, while Fortune cited Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay prime minister and Beth Ford, chief executive of Land O'Lakes and the first openly gay woman to run a Fortune 500 company.

Nepalese sex-trafficking survivor Sunita Danuwar, head of Shakti Samuha that aids other trafficking survivors, and Sister Norma Pimentel, who runs a respite center at the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants, also made the Fortune list.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda Gates topped Fortune's list for their philanthropic work helping immunize hundreds of millions of children and fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Also listed was Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote for teaming up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight chronic malnutrition, Guyana's Kapil Mohabir for organizing small farmers to become competitive and Kyaw Hla Aung, an activist who works with Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority.

Actress Yalitza Aparicio, star of the 2018 film Roma, was celebrated by Time for helping empower indigenous women.

Fortune praised Arunachalam Muruganantham, subject of the Academy Award-winning "Period. End of Sentence" documentary, for inventing a machine to produce low-cost sanitary napkins in India.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Jason Fields

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