This year has been a great one for women, but we are pretty excited for 2014. We are especially excited to see what the women we have been watching, in various industries, do with this new year. These eight women could be real game changers.
Chelsea Clinton, The Renaissance Woman
Clinton, though never quite as outspoken as her parents, has quietly been forming a very exciting career for herself. After graduating from Stanford and then studying at Oxford University, she took a job on Wall Street. She had always been interested in public health so she began pursuing her Master’s in Public Health at Columbia University while working full-time. She quickly realized she couldn’t do it all and be the person she wanted to be. And that is why in 2011 she left Wall Street to work for her father’s foundation, The Clinton Foundation, and as a special correspondent for NBC News. She has also never quite ruled out politics. In an April Today Show segment she even hinted that her mother Hillary might not be the only one in the family to announce her candidacy in the months to come. “Right now I’m grateful to live in a city, in a state, in a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor and my president and my senators and my representative,” she said.
Rashida Jones, The Writer
Though actress and writer Jones has been in the public eye for years thanks to her work on “The Office” and “Parks & Recreation,” we are about to see a whole new side of her. Jones, a Harvard graduate, just sold a show called “Claws” to HBO. According to Deadline, the show, which she worked on with her writing partner Will McCormack (they wrote Celeste & Jesse Forever), is described as a “midnight-dark workplace dramedy-noir about a nail salon in Florida and the strange, dangerous women who work there.” She also sold another show called “Revengers” to the CW that focuses on two estranged female friends who find out they have been dating the same guy for years. She developed the latter show with her sister.
Jones also wrote an outstanding op-ed for Glamour Magazine on the pornification of pop culture we have experienced in full this year. She wrote:
I understand that owning and expressing our sexuality is a huge step forward for women. But, in my opinion, we are at a point of oversaturation. It’s like when TV network censors evaluate a show’s content. Instead of doing a detailed report of dirty jokes or offensive words, they will simply say, ‘It’s a tonnage issue.’ One or two swear words might be fine; 10 is too many. Three sexual innuendos is OK; eight is overkill. When it comes to porn imagery and pop culture, we have a tonnage issue.
Wendy Davis, The Politician
This year Davis, a Texas Senator, proved that sometimes a girl really needs to wear sneakers. In June, Davis staged an 11-hour filibuster of a measure limiting abortions in Texas in pink sneakers. She made headlines for her endurance and commitment. Though the bill failed, Davis is running for governor of Texas. We can’t wait to see what happens. “You won’t change things unless you are prepared to fight, even if you don’t win. But I do hate losing,” Davis has said.
Eva Chen, The Editor
There is no doubt that Chen is super cool. Working at magazines from your early 20’s on (Elle, Teen Vogue) will do that to you. But this year, Chen also proved she has the goods when she became the editor-in-chief of Lucky Magazine this year making her one of the youngest people ever to take the helm of a national magazine. “I want to make a fashion magazine that is approachable, that you feel like you can talk to,” she told press earlier this year. Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, said of Chen:
Eva is a woman of tremendous talent and experience. I have worked with her over the last few years, both during her time at Teen Vogue and as she has been consulting with Lucky. Her lengthy experience in our industry gives her a solid foundation in both digital and e-commerce. Lucky’s September issue will be her first opportunity to showcase her leadership ability, and I have every confidence she will meet the moment head-on.
We can’t wait to see what she does (and wears) in 2014!
Anne Wojcicki, The Perserverent Innovator
In October Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe, was on top of the world. Her company offers genetic tests to help people anticipate potential health risks. They had raised $103 million in venture capital and has more than 200,000 paying members for its genetic testing service. Some discoveries the company made include a genetic variant that protects against Alzheimer’s. But in November the company had to stop offering the tests, their main products, after coming up against an FDA ban on marketing. According to BizJournals, based on the FDA letter it appears the problem was a bureacratic one and not a technology failure which means the company could get back on its feet again. She told Fortune “I feel like what helps me deal with this situation is how I saw my mom deal with everyday life. Big challenges are an accumulation of small challenges. My mom was a problem solver.” We can’t wait to see how she deals with her next problem.
Lupita Nyong’o, The Actress
You may not know this name now, but you will soon. The actress just received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave. Nyong’o, who is of Kenyan descent but was raised in Mexico City, attended the Yale School of Drama and worked on the film crew for movies including The Constant Gardener and The Namesake. It was upon her graduation from Yale though that she received a great gift: the role of Patsey, a slave to a cotton plantation owner. She is also set to star in Liam Neeson’s upcoming film, Non-Stop. Nyong’o is also a force to be reckoned with on the red carpet for her fearless sense of style.
Adda Birnir, The Tech Leader
Birnir is a very smart woman. When she was laid off in 2009 from her job at a digital agency, she noticed that none of the technical people were losing their jobs. That is when she decided to make sure she, and a lot of other women, wouldn’t be in that position again. She founded Skillcrush, an online tech education platform that helps you learn marketable skills such as coding, building a website, user experience, and just understanding all those tricky technical words people throw around. You aren’t just taking a class, but are really joining a community of people who want to learn and help eachother. Plus, instead of just completing little exercises you can’t do much with, you walk away from Skillcrush with an online portfolio that you built and can feature on your resume! Watch this video from Mashable to learn more.
Birnir told AlleyWatch, “One of my personal goals is to bring more women into tech. The technology skills I have learned have not only allowed me to build amazing things but are really fun! I wanted to create a way for tech skills to be accessible, easy and fun. People have so many misconceptions about what working in tech is like—I am here to bust all those silly myths!” We can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.
Audrey Gelman, The Political Force
Labeled as “Holly Golightly with a career” by The Observer’s Jim Gelman, this petite 26 year old is a force to be reckoned with in the political fashion and social media realms. Gelman is the spokeswoman for Scott Stringer—Manhattan borough president and now New York City Comptroller-elect. Stringer told The New York Times, “She was completely immersed in every aspect of the campaign,” he said, “driving the daily message and dealing with the incoming from these folks, dealing with the constant negativity, which frankly surprised me, coming from Democrats.”
Her resume is outstanding (she also worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as an intern), some people may know her better as the character of Audrey on “Girls.” The show is written, produced and stars her best friend Lena Dunham. In fact, the character of ambitious, successful and somewhat neurotic Marnie is based on Gelman.