It's one of the most important awards we give at the Female First Awards, nominating women who have made a huge positive impact on social, political and economical issues among others. Our Heroine of the Year in this case has set the standard for global heroism.
Nominee: Jane Fonda
Earlier this year, the 82-year-old actress (Happy Birthday Ms. Fonda!) ended up getting arrested no fewer than five times as she demonstrated at climate change rallies in Washington, D.C., protesting alongside the Oil Change International group. The pictures taken at the time of her arrest were some of the best; her pride at being taken away to a police station for standing up for her planet was indomitable.
She had vowed to protest every Friday outside the Capitol and was joined by a number of other famous faces such as Ted Danson, Sam Waterston and Sally Field. "We must all face the harsh reality that our planet is rapidly approaching an irreversible tipping point, beyond which the unraveling of our ecosystems will be beyond our control", she said in a NY Times opinion piece.
Nominee: Greta Thunberg
When this 16-year-old climate change activist decided to pack-in school to protest outside the Swedish parliament, she was alone. But pretty soon other students started to join her in her strikes, drawing more and more interest and eventually she took a 15-day transatlantic voyage to the US to spread her message, avoiding air travel due her feelings on carbon emissions.
She delivered a powerful and emotional speech at the UN Climate Action Summit attacking the lack of political action, which ultimately incited a barrage of criticism and abuse, even bullying from President Trump, which she has not let get to her. She has shown her complete disinterest in personal attacks and continues to do what she does best: fight for climate action with maturity and dignity.
Nominee: Nancy Pelosi
In September this year, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment hearings into Donald Trump would begin. It was through her leading of debates into his impeachment that has led to charges being brought against him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Of course, that doesn't mean we're likely to see him step down anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that Pelosi hasn't been a heroine of justice this year.
It takes determination and guts to stand against a world leader, especially one known for misogynistic views, but Pelosi has been a powerhouse of integrity and truth, and that will be her eternal legacy.
Nominee: Sanna Marin
This month saw the election of the youngest currently-serving state leader and Finland's youngest-ever prime minister, 34-year-old Social Democrat Sanna Marin. She first became active in politics way back in 2006 as part of the Social Democratic Youth and had her breakthrough when she was elected into the City Council of Tampere in 2012 at the age of 27.
She has a humble background, having faced stigma from having a mother in a same-sex relationship and the pressure of being the first in her family to attend university. She's also doing her duty in breaking the glass ceiling for women in politics, with her Cabinet being a five-party coalition where 12 out of 19 ministers are women. At a time where politics is at its most difficult and uncertain, she has stepped up with insurmountable confidence and determination.
Nominee: Rain Dove
Earlier this year, non-binary model Rain Dove showed impossible compassion and patience when dealing with an angry parent over social media, who accused them of influencing her daughter into wanting a chest binder. Despite being branded a "pervert", Rain kept their cool and explained the various reasons her child might want a binder, that she might not necessarily be trans, and even praised the parent for being the type of mother whose child felt was understanding enough that she could express herself to her.
Most people would have reacted with anger, derision and/or condescension, which would have been completely understandable and they would have probably received a similar amount of praise. But the way Rain chose to handle the situation meant that the parent came away from the exchange more willing to be open-minded. Thus, proving that kindness and compassion is the way to incite change in social attitudes towards gender.
And the winner is...
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"