• This article was first published in March 2022 and updated in June 2022.
  • From politics and justice to sport and entertainment, women in all spheres across the globe have already made their mark this year.
  • Here are just a few of the women who have made history so far in 2022.

Role models are recognized as crucial to helping the world overcome gender bias. If women can see themselves represented, this helps achieve gender equality.

By celebrating the ground-breaking achievements of strong women role models across the planet, barriers to allow others to follow in their footsteps are broken down.

These women are making history in 2022.

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards closing gender gaps on a national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public private collaboration.

These accelerators have been convened in ten countries across three regions. Accelerators are established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Panama in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East and North Africa, and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

All Country Accelerators, along with Knowledge Partner countries demonstrating global leadership in closing gender gaps, are part of a wider ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, that facilitates exchange of insights and experiences through the Forum’s platform.

In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

In these countries CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries you can join the local membership base.

If you are a business or government in a country where we currently do not have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator you can reach out to us to explore opportunities for setting one up.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed on 7 April as the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. The lifetime appointment passed by 53 votes to 47 in the US Senate, with three Republicans – Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney – supporting the Democrats. "Judge Jackson's confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” US President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter. “We've taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible justice, and I was honoured to share this moment with her."

Shalanda Young

In mid-March, Shalanda Young became the first Black woman to lead the White House budget office. It came after the US Senate confirmed her in a 61-36 vote. "Another glass ceiling shattered by a remarkable member of the President's historic Cabinet," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of Young in a speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, reported CNN. Young had previously spent a year as Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees all budget development and execution and has significant influence over the president’s agenda, CNN says.

Ariana DeBose

At the 2022 Oscars, Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of colour to win an Oscar for acting. DeBose won best supporting actress for playing Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. "Even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true," she said in her acceptance speech. "To anybody who has ever questioned your identity … I promise you this, there is indeed a place for us."

Maya Angelou

The late American author and activist Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter, when the US Mint started rolling out the coin on 11 January. The coin is part of the American Women Quarters Program, which also includes Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American Hollywood film star, the US Mint told Reuters.

Antonette Wemyss Gorman

Appointed in January as the first woman to run Jamaica's military, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman has faced down danger and sexism in her 29-year career but hasn't let gender hold her back. "I was never focused on the fact that I was a woman," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "I think a lot of times women make a mistake of focusing on their gender and cause their own limits in what they are doing."

Xiomara Castro

Xiomara Castro was sworn in as Honduras's first woman president at the end of January in front of a cheering crowd that included Kamala Harris, US Vice-President. Harris pledged US government support to stem migration and fight corruption in Central America.

Infographic about female political empowerment.
A huge gender gap persists in politics around the world.
Image: World Economic Forum

Preet Chandi

When British army officer Preet Chandi set off on her solo expedition to the South Pole, she did it to inspire her eight-year-old niece. “I want [her] to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless. This journey aims to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries. By promoting and completing this challenge, it allows me to act as a role model to young people, women and those from ethnic backgrounds.” Chandi is thought to be the first woman of colour to complete the journey unsupported.

Ayesha Malik

Justice Ayesha Malik was appointed Pakistan’s first female Supreme Court judge in January. "An important and defining moment in our country as a brilliant lawyer and decorated judge has become Pakistan's first female SC judge," tweeted Maleeka Bokhari, parliamentary secretary for law and a legislator of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. "To shattering glass ceilings," she added.

Hannah Green

Australian Hannah Green became the first woman to win a mixed-gender professional golf tournament, at the TPS Murray River event in her home country. The former Women's PGA Championship winner battled through gusty conditions to record a five-under-par final round of 66 and break a four-way tie with Andrew Evans, Matthew Millar and Blake Collyer.

Jane Campion

New Zealand film director Jane Campion became the first woman to receive multiple Oscar nominations for best director when she was nominated for The Power of the Dog in February. It comes almost 30 years after she was nominated in 1993 for The Piano. In the history of the Oscars, only seven women have been nominated for best director and only two have won: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland in 2021.

Chloe Kim

At the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Californian Chloe Kim became the first woman to win back-to-back golds in the Olympic snowboard halfpipe.

Élisabeth Borne

Labour Minister Élisabeth Borne became France's first female Prime Minister in 30 years - and only the second ever - when she was selected by French President Emmanuel Macron in May. "I want to dedicate my nomination to all little girls and tell them to go all the way pursuing your dreams," she said in her inauguration speech.

Bouchra Karboubi

The 34-year-old broke new ground in May, when she became the first woman to referee a football match in the Arab world, at the Moroccan Football Cup final.

Linn Grant

The Swedish golfer became the first woman to win an event on the DP World Tour, when she clinched a nine-shot victory at the Scandinavian Mixed event in June.

Linda Fagan

Admiral Linda Fagan became the first female service chief of the US armed forces when she took over as Commandant of the US Coast Guard in June. President Joe Biden told guests at the Coast Guard headquarters: “It’s about time. The trailblazing career of Admiral Fagan shows young people entering the services, we mean what we say: There are no doors - no doors - closed to women."