This year, YouGov did their annual study of which public figures people look up to the most. Among the top contenders, particularly in women, are a slew of entertainers from actresses to TV presenters. But there is so much more admiration for them aside from their talent. Many of these women have become activists and are noted for their humanitarian work. Here are the top seven most admired women in the world in 2018.
Coming in at the top, Angelina Jolie was voted as the #1 most admired woman. Aside from being known as the most beautiful woman alive, Angelina has become a renowned actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian. She began her humanitarian work back in 2001 visiting refugee camps around the world. Since then, she has been a strong advocate for human rights, women’s rights, child immigration, and education. Angelina has received several awards for her humanitarian efforts and continues to be a strong advocate year after year, receiving recognition and awards such as the inaugural Humanitarian Award, the Global Humanitarian Award, the Citizen of the World Award, the Freedom Award, and several more.
The second most admired woman, with no introduction needed, is Michelle Obama. Married to the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, Michelle Obama become known as the first African American First Lady. Not only was she known as the first African American, but she was also the most educated as a lawyer having Ivy League degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. During her reign as the First Lady, Michelle Obama became a strong role model for women, advocating for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, and physical activity. She continues to do so today, leading the way in movements and campaigns such as her “Let’s Move!” campaign that she began in 2010, which is America’s movement to raise a healthier generation of kids.
Oprah Winfrey gained her fame as a talk show host but quickly rose to the top of humanity, leading her to be the third most admired woman in 2018. With the highest-rated television program, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she was given a platform to become the successful and respected woman that she is today. Now an actress, media proprietor, producer, philanthropist, and what seems to be so much more, Oprah is the richest African American and has been ranked as the greatest black philanthropist in history. A strong advocate for education, Oprah has donated over $400 million dollars to educational causes, including her own school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. To this day she continues to donate to charitable causes, volunteer worldwide, be an advocate for women, and be known as one of the most influential women in the world.
Queen Elizabeth II
Coming in at fourth is the Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms herself, Queen Elizabeth II. She is the longest lived and longest-reigning British monarch, as well as the world’s longest-reigning queen regnant and head of state. Queen Elizabeth II is well-respected amongst several as she has tried to make her reign more modern and sensitive to the changing public, while maintaining the traditions of the crown. Even after the age of 90, Queen Elizabeth has remained steadfast in her royal obligations, attending over 400 engagements per year. She and her family have become a well-respected worldwide phenomenon, particularly with her grandsons, Prince William, Prince Harry, and their growing families.
The fifth most admired woman of 2018, with no surprise, is Hillary Clinton. As the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, Clinton had a very active role in matters of public policy – this would be no surprise considering she received her education from Yale Law School. In 2001, she was sworn in as U.S. Senate, making her the only woman to win an elected office after serving as the First Lady. After serving her second term in the Senate, she put her efforts towards the 2008 presidential campaign. Although she would not become the candidate, President Obama selected her to be the Secretary of State and Clinton became the first former first lady to serve in the United States Cabinet. Fast forward to 2016 where Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. party. Although she did not win the election, Clinton continues to be active, fighting for affordable health care, equal rights, immigrants, and so much more.
Though a mere 28 years old, Emma Watson has become a well-respected woman throughout the world, ranking her as the sixth most admired woman in 2018. Known for her roles as Hermione in the “Harry Potter” film series and as Belle in Disney’s live action film of “Beauty and the Beast,” she has made a name for herself due to her efforts off screen. A strong advocate for education for girls, Watson has traveled to Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In 2014, she was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, thus making a speech about gender equality – calling for equal rights and opportunities for women. Watson has continued her efforts worldwide expressing her take on feminism and being an advocate in the recent Time’s Up movement.
Twenty-year-old Malala Yousafzai comes in at #7 as one of the world’s most admirede women. She is known as a young Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Coming from a home and culture where girls were banned from attending school, Yousafzai created an international movement of human rights, particularly in female education.
In 2012, Yousafzai and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman due to her activism. Shot in the head and in critical condition, the attack on Yousafzai stirred up international support for her and her cause. Since her recovery, she has become a strong and notable activist for the right to education and has been recognized with Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai quickly became known as the most prominent citizen in her country. She is now continuing her education studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.