Isabel Allende is a lifelong advocate for human rights and author of many books, including The House of Spirits, The Island Beneath the Sea, Paula, and Oprah Book Club selection Daughter of Fortune. She is also founder of the Isabel Allende Foundation, which seeks to empower women and girls, and protect women and children. Her 19 books have sold more than 57 million copies and have been translated into 35 languages.
Jennifer Buffett is president and cochair of the NoVo Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on supporting and empowering girls and women worldwide as primary agents of change, with the goal of shifting society away from cultures based on domination and exploitation toward partnership and collaboration. Jennifer Buffett and her husband, Peter Buffett, are recipients of the Clinton Global Citizen Award for their “visionary leadership and sustainable, scalable work in solving pressing global challenges.”
Majora Carter, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 when few were talking about sustainability, and even fewer, in places like the South Bronx. Since 2008, her consulting company, Majora Carter Group, has exported climate adaptation, urban micro-agribusiness, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities. Majora Carter hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio series The Promised Land.
Joan Chittister, OSB, PhD, a Benedictine nun, is one of the most articulate social analysts and influential religious leaders of our time. She is a sought-after international speaker and a clear voice across all religions. She serves as cochair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the United Nations that facilitates a worldwide network of women peace builders. She is founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality.
Eve Ensler is a playwright, performer, and activist. She is the award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been translated into 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries. Her most recent play, I Am an Emotional Creature, will open off-Broadway in October. She is also the founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. To honor its 15th anniversary, on February 14, 2013, V-Day will launch One Billion Rising, which invites one billion women to rise up dancing.
Sally Field is one of America’s most celebrated actors, a two-time Academy Award winner, and the winner of many other awards, including Emmys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Golden Globe nominations for her film, television, and theater work. She is also a film director, producer, and screenwriter. Sally Field has lent her voice to many causes for peace and human rights, and has served on the board of directors of Vital Voices—a global women’s leadership organization—since 2002.
Eileen Fisher calls herself "a mother, a clothing designer, a business woman," in that order. Originally from Illinois, Fisher moved to New York City in 1973 to work first as an interior designer, then as a graphic artist. In 1984, she began her clothing business, Eileen Fisher, Inc. Her company's clothes are now sold at sophisticated shops across the country and has sometimes used nontraditional models in print advertisements, including its own employees.
Jane Fonda has been nominated for seven Oscars and won two of them during her legendary acting career. She now focuses much of her time on activism and social change-with much of her work devoted to the program she founded in 1995, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP). Fonda has long been known for activism and advocacy on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls.
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, PhD, is senior research professor on trauma, forgiveness, and reconciliation at the University of Free State in Blomfontein, South Africa. She served as coordinator of victims’ public testimonies on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and has been involved in studying the process of forgiving in order to deepen the understanding of its reparative elements in the aftermath of gross human-rights violations and mass trauma. Her critically acclaimed book on this topic, A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness, won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa, and the Christopher Award in the United States.
Ubaka Hill, a midwife of drummers, is a professional musician who teaches drumming workshops on the art and spirit of playing the drum, and how to use the drum for sound healing, community building, and experiencing joy in our life. She is also founder and curator of The Drumsong Institute Museum and Archive of Women’s Drumming Traditions of North America, the first museum of women’s folkloric and contemporary hand drumming in the United States.
Pat Mitchell was the first woman president and CEO of PBS, she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media; she is now a senior adviser to the organization. Her work has been recognized with more than 35 Emmy Awards, five Peabody’s, and two Academy Award nominations. Named in Newsweek’s list of “150 Women Who Shake the World,” she also was featured in Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women.
Hibaaq Osman is a global political strategist currently living in Egypt, where she leads three regional nongovernmental organizations: Karama, the Dignity Fund, and the Think Tank for Arab Women. A member of the Committee for Peace and Security at the League of Arab States, she also serves on the boards of a number of organizations, including Ashoka Arab World. Her vision has redefined activism and opportunity for women in the Arab region.
Edit Schlaffer, PhD, is a social scientist, author, and activist who founded Women without Borders, an Austrian-based international nonprofit organization, in 2002. Her research and activities focus on women in international politics, women as agents of change, and women as driving forces in stabilizing an insecure world. In 2008, she launched SAVE (Sisters Against Violent Extremism), the first global women’s counterterrorism platform. She has been selected by Women’s eNews as one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.
Gloria Steinem is a renowned activist, writer, and leader in the women’s rights movement. The founder of Ms. Magazine, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Ms. Foundation for Women, Steinem has spent her life promoting “sisterhood” among all women, regardless of political party, race, religion, or economic status. She continues to call for an end to discrimination and sexual exploitation, and the achievement of true equality of the sexes.
Loung Ung is a survivor of the killing fields of Cambodia, one of the bloodiest episodes of the 20th century. The author of three award-winning memoirs—First They Killed My Father, Lucky Child, and Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness—she is an international human rights activist. Loung Ung has made more than 30 trips back to Cambodia and she continues to promote equality, human rights, and justice in her native land and worldwide.
Ann M. Veneman, JD, has a distinguished career in public service, most recently serving as the executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from 2005 to 2010. The first woman to become the United States Secretary of Agriculture, she served in that position from 2001 to 2005. In 2009, she was named by Forbes as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors.