Billie Eilish and Olena Zelenska make BBC 100 Women list

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Singer Billie Eilish and the wife of Ukrainian president Olena Zelenska both feature on a list celebrating inspirational and influential people from around the world.

The theme of this year’s BBC 100 Women annual list, which began in 2013, focusses on progress as it once again honours activists, politicians, entertainment figures and health care workers.

US megastar Eilish is both the first singer born in the 21st Century to get a number one in the charts and an Oscar.

BAFTA Film Awards 2021
Priyanka Chopra, who also makes the BBC list, is pictured here with her husband Nick Jonas (Ian West/PA)

Her performance of No Time To Die for the James Bond film of the same name won the Academy Award for best original song in 2022 and topped the UK’s Official Charts in 2020.

The American singer-songwriter is also known for her activism which includes her speaking out on issues like the environment and women’s equality.

At Glastonbury in June she called the Supreme Court case, which decided to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade case that legalised abortion nationwide, a “really dark day for women in the US”.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Billie Eilish joined WaterAid’s call for climate action (Water Aid/PA)

This month, she also headlined at the Earthshot Prize, an environmental awards ceremony for people finding solutions to climate change.

Other entertainment figures on the list include Indian actress and producer Priyanka Chopra, actress and disability activist Selma Blair and Puerto Rican West Side Story actress Rita Moreno.

From the world of politics, the first female president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the first female prime minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and Ukraine’s First Lady Zelenska, are named.

The wife of Volodymyr Zelensky made a trip in November to the UK to focus on the use of alleged sexual violence and rape by Russian forces in the months-long war, which is now heading into a long winter.

She told MPs the youngest known victim of the “thousands” of such crimes was a four-year-old girl raped by Russian occupiers.

The 44-year-old has also called on the UK to lead efforts to set up a criminal tribunal to prosecute senior Russians over the invasion, similar to the post-war Nuremberg trials of leading Nazis.

The 90th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
Sebastian Lelio with his Oscar for best foreign language Film for A Fantastic Woman as he is pictured alongside Rita Moreno (Ian West/PA)

Previous years have seen education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, actress and activist Jane Fonda, environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg and actress Rebel Wilson.

For the first time, the BBC asked some of the previous 100 Women to nominate women they feel deserve a place.

Wilson put South Korean film producer and cultural leader Miky Lee and Yousafzai nominated Alice Pataxó, a climate campaigner from Brazil, for the honour.

The director of BBC World Service, Liliane Landor, said: “They, like all the women before them, have contributed to our world in incredible ways, and we celebrate this.

“This is about increasing visibility and giving recognition where it’s due.”

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