With the release of the trailer for the upcoming film in the DC Comics franchise featuring the female hero, Wonder Woman, we're inspired, to say the least. The famous heroine that has graced childhoods since 1942 will be played by actress, Gal Gadot, in a film debuting in 2017, hopefully featuring all the sharp retorts, fighting skills, and general awesomeness we knew and loved in the comics growing up. The iconic character's presence in the media has got us thinking about other women who actually exist in our world, and not the DC world, who fit the character of Wonder Woman: strong-willed, brave, intelligent, and, well, just straight up badass. While the list could go on and on looking back in history at all the women who have sparked change and spoken out in society as we know it, we've curated a list of 15 strong women making impacts in today's society who we think you should all definitely know and be inspired by.
15 Nergis Mavalvala
Remember when you were young and your parents used to tell you that your intelligence is a super power? Well this inspiring Pakistani-American physicist and professor made sure the whole world could observe that super power inside her. Professor Nergis Mavalvala recently proved one of Einstein's theories from over a century ago by fashioning an ultrasensitive telescope that can detect gravitational waves. While some of us may not understand half of what that science lingo means, we can probably all appreciate that this woman, who also happens to be aself-described,"out queer person of colour," has made a huge breakthrough in the modern science world against all odds, so yeah, we'd definitely say her brain power and perseverance make her a Wonder Woman.
14 Kimberly Drew
Since we're talking modern Wonder Women, it's pretty hard to avoid women with social media influence. Except Kimberly Drew doesn't just have social media influence, she works it on all platforms. The young African-American woman works on social media with a drive like no other, five years after launching the blog where it all began: an insightful Tumblr blog called "Black Contemporary Art." As the title suggests, her blog delves into the world of art history and how skewed publicity has been because of tastemakers with biased standards. She sheds a light on those less recognized, but equally (maybe even more) talented in the field of contemporary art. Harbouring a fantastic cause and an admirable way with social media that could very well be described as "super," Drew has become and inspiration for women, people of colour, and pretty much anyone involved in the art of our modern society.
13 Carly Fleischmann
Speaking of social media stars on the rise, this Wonder Woman has taken a different platform by storm: YouTube. Carly Fleischmann was born with a form of autism that prevents her from speaking with her mouth. However, this condition hasn't held Fleischmann back in the slightest. From starting her YouTube channel, Speechless, with a video of her interviewing megastar Channing Tatum through typing into an app on her iPad, to appearing on Ellen and co-writing a memoir called Carly's Voice. Flesichmann's goal is to give a voice to people with autism in the modern media. People with autism and other disabilities are usually portrayed in a negative light, and it upsets Fleischmann that these negative claims are usually coming "experts" who do not have the condition they're speaking on. As Fleischmann continues to gain popularity, she works to help more people understand that there's more to autism than they think, and, despite predictions in her youth that she would grow up to be barely be coherent, that she has a strong voice and is ready for the whole world to hear it.
12 Rupi Kaur
To be considered a Wonder Woman, one of the number one qualities you need to have is fearlessness, and Rupi Kaur embodies this quality, but in a different way than you'd think. This Toronto based Punjabi woman channels her qualms into the writing of poetry. Covering topics ranging from self-love to sexual assault, Kaur has become a sensation among contemporary poets within a lightning fast period of time. While she has been writing poetry for years, Kaur only published her first book of poetry, Milk and Honey, in 2015. The bravely honest book flew onto "Best-Sellers" lists across the world, and simultaneously emboldened the women reading all of her powerful pieces within it. As she travels worldwide with her book in hand, reading excerpts from the book as well as eloquent spoken word pieces, Kaur slowly sows the seeds of feminism into each community she passes through, and quietly gains more and more of an ability to make a difference.
11 Berta Caceres
What's more badass than littering and peeing on the ground à la "cool teen movies" of the '90s? Caring about it. Berta Caceres did just that, and, in a tragic turn of events, only death could stop her from doing so. Assassinated in her own home this past March due to a corrupt justice system, the Honduras native and indigenous Lenca leader's legacy came to an undeservedly quick end. That legacy, however, was an impressive one. Caceres won the highly prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her campaign against the building of an environmentally damaging hydroelectric dam in her home country. Caceres fought passionately and tirelessly for her people and for her planet and her legacy lives on even after he death through the work she has done to make the world a better place.
10 Nadia Abdoulhosn
If there is one thing Nadia Aboulhosn is great at besides just being awesome, it's putting haters in their place. The Lebanese-American "in-betweenie" model has become a hugely popular face for her industry. Taking the fashion blogging world by storm, this model has gone from being a casual blogger to being verified on Instagram within the past 6 years. While she started out in the industry as a size 8, people immediately assumed she was plus-sized because her curvy body didn't fit within the box the industry had set of size 0 women. Rather than lash out at sources making such claims, Aboulhosn says she embraces being seen as plus-sized, and has since set out to try to change the face of the fashion industry. She recently broke barriers by being featured on the cover of "Women's Running Magazine," contributing to a fight to extinguish the misinformed concept that anyone above a size 2 has the body that they do because they don't exercise. Paired with her sharp-tongued Twitter presence, this Wonder Woman is unstoppable, even if there are haters lurking in the depths of the internet.
9 The U.S. Women's Soccer Team
One strong woman is dangerous enough, but a whole team of them? Let's just say, you'd probably start working on your apology. The wildly talented team of female soccer players decided that they had tolerated enough astonishingly skewed pay rates and filed a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. Having club salaries capped off at $126,000 while some male players earned $6 million, and, on top of that, the national team as a whole only being able to earn at most $99,000, while the male team could make $1,000 more than that by losing all 20 games of the season, it comes as no surprise these women are upset, especially considering they're the number 1 ranked in the world for women's soccer. While some economists justify the pay gap due to the minimum base pay for women compared to men, these arguments just highlight how big of an issue the wage gap is as a whole in our society. While this badass team of women hasn't won their battle yet, they've certainly stirred the pot so to speak when it comes to calling unfair policies out on their shit.
8 Serena Williams
Speaking of unequal pay, Serena Williams knows all about it and then some. The tennis sensation may be one of the two female athletes featured on Forbes' "Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes" list, but she faces yet another problem with the wage gap: being a person of colour. While Maria Sharapova, her top rival, has won far less tennis championships than Williams, Williams only topped her in pay within this past year, due in part to her almost breaking a world tennis record, but also in part to a drug suspension for Sharapova. Williams has also faced racial slurs and harsh stereotypes, including comparisons with apes, and criticisms of her body. Williams has not only discounted these obstacles, but totally owned them. Criticize her race? Okay, she'll just dance alongside Beyonce in a music video dedicated to black female excellence. Criticize her body? No problem, she'll just take to the red carpet in form-fitting dresses and appear on the covers of magazines like Vogue and Sports Illustrated flaunting the body that she completely adores. So yeah, not only is Serena Williams an awesome athlete who's finally getting the recognition she deserves, she's an amazing role model for staying true to who you are.
7 Li Tingting
You probably haven't heard her name because this activist is all the way over in China, but Li Tingting is certainly a female force to be reckoned with. The above photo, taken on International Women's Day, reads, "The full name of 'Women's Day' is 'International Women's Labor Day!' We don't want you care and concern, we want rights!" Yeah, she's pretty damn cool to say the least, and she's actually done much more than pose as Rosie the Riveter. The taking of this photo marked the one year anniversary of when her and four other Chinese feminists were detained on the eve of International Women's Day. This set the public into a state of outrage, but Li remained calm after she was released, even sarcastically thanking the Chinese government for helping the feminist movement in China continue forward. It also helped her morale that she could welcome a new law after her release that proved that she had a reason to be fighting for the feminist cause in China: her country's first law against domestic violence. Tingting certainly did not climb this hurdle alone, but her selfless work in China definitely qualifies her to be considered a Wonder Woman.
6 Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is probably one of the most influential First Ladies of all time. A graduate of both Princeton University and Harvard Law School, there is no argument that this First Lady is an astonishingly intelligent and accomplished woman. She shares her love of education with the public through outreach and speeches (and now Snapchat), even famously saying, "I never cut class. I loved getting A's, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world." Now the current First Lady has taken on many other causes, from her massively successful campaign to combat childhood obesity in America, to smaller gestures like supporting the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign when a large number of girls were kidnapped in Nigeria. Even her Democratic National Convention speech drew on real world issues by targeting racism in America through mentioning the fact that the house she lives in was built by slaves. On top of all that, she might just be the coolest First Lady we've ever seen as well. Don't believe us? Watch this video of Michelle Obama singing carpool karaoke with talk show host James Corden and Missy Elliot. With her cool demeanor and admirable involvement, Michelle Obama is definitely a Wonder Woman.
5 Malala Yousafzai
What's more super hero-esque than facing off against villains and coming out alive? Malala Yousafzai did exactly that back in 2012 when the Taliban took her from her bus and shot her in the head for speaking up on the issue of women's education. This encounter did not stop Malala from advocating for her cause once she recovered from the near-fatal injury. She continues to fight for education to this day and has since founded an organization called Malala Fund to promote the cause even further. The young Pakistani woman even became the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, winning the Nobel Peace Prize at the young age of 17 in 2014 for her contributions to the education frontier. Her glowing personality and ceaseless drive to do her part in trying to change the world make this admirable activist all the more well-rounded, both of these traits being imbued in her despite being put in the public eye so suddenly and so young. Though she cannot return to her home country that she writes about with such fondness in her memoir, "I Am Malala," Malala can find solace in the good she is doing for the world, and for what she does we wholeheartedly salute her.n
4 Laverne Cox
Like Orange Is The New Black? Involved in trans activism? Black activism? Feminist activism? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you probably are familiar with Laverne Cox. Using her newfound super-stardom as a perch to advocate for what she believes in, Cox has become one of the principal faces in the current trans rights movement. As she sits down for interviews and stands at podiums for speeches, Cox stresses how important it is to pay attention to what is really going on in the trans community, rather than just what the transition is like, if they even choose to go through gender reassignment surgery. She is talking about the murders, the job discrimination, even the injustice over which bathrooms they can use. She has also discussed that it shouldn't be a big deal if people don't "look the part" of what gender they identify as. The actress herself only looked "womanly" once she started actually landing acting gigs and could afford to go through the surgeries to do so, and that's the reality of it all. Laverne Cox embraces her entire identity as a trans woman of colour even if the public won't, and her fearless commitment to the public getting the facts right and treating others who identify the same way as her as equals is definitely awe-inspiring.
3 Julienne Lusenge
Coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Julienne Lusenge is a female force to be reckoned with. For starters, she's the president of Female Solidarity for Integrated Peace and Development, a coalition of 40 women's organizations across the Eastern Provinces of her country. Within this organization which she is so strongly involved with, Lusenge works to help defend women's rights and provide aid to sexual assault survivors. The coalition's ultimate goal? To end sexual violence in the DRC. Yeah, they're doing that. There is a huge stigma against rape survivors rather than rape in the DRC, and Lusenge is first and foremost working to help these survivors feel safe and welcomed. As the inexcusable crime is used as a weapon among conflicting groups in her country, Lusenge and her organization provide emotional and psychological support to those whose bodies have been so shamefully used as objects of war. Julienne Lusenge and her efforts offer a light in a dark time where about 48 women are being raped by the hour in the DRC, and her commitment offers hope that one day these numbers will go down, maybe, hopefully, even to 0.
2 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Affectionately known on the internet as The Notorious R.B.G., Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done anything she can to help do what she can to help the United States from her seat in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Justice recently helped to strike down an infuriatingly inaccurate and unjust law anti-abortion law born out of Texas, marking a major victory in the women's movement concerning the tenet that a woman should be able to do what she chooses with her own body. After the vote on the bill was not even unanimous, Ginsbrug issued a statement about how "it is beyond rational belief [the law] could genuinely protect the health of women," as some of the advocates for the passing of the bill claimed. Ginsburg has also famously decried many a conservative politician's outrageous statement, lately calling out Donald Trump for his unbelievably bigoted antics. Although she eventually issued an apology for her statements against Trump since she accepted that it was unprofessional of a Supreme Court Justice to take a stance on presidential candidates, it isn't hard to tell where this fiercely honest woman stands.
1 Helly Luv
Not only does this Kurdish woman bear a slight resemblance to Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot herself, but she's using pop music to challenge ISIS. Yes, you read that correctly, Helly Luv, a new pop sensation, has used her music and videography as a platform to advocate for Kurdish independence and condemn the Islamic State. Born during the Persian Gulf War and forced to become a refugee days after she was born, the causes the singer fight for hit very close to home. Her recent actions, which include a music video shot 2.5 kilometers away from ISIS featuring Peshmerga soldiers combating the Islamic State, have sparked death threats from ISIS itself. Now on the infamous terrorist organization's Most Wanted List, Helly continues to fight for what she believes in. While she does not criticize Muslim women who choose to wear a veil, Helly also chooses to wear short dresses and mesh-based dresses in some of her music videos. That decision combined with her fabulous dance moves she displays in her videos has angered ISIS even more for supposedly setting a bad example for Muslim women. Despite the danger she has put herself in, Helly does not seem to be stopping anytime soon, and we look forward to what this real life Wonder Woman will do next.