How Many Women Are On The 'TIME' 100 List For 2015? It Does OK By Women, But There's A Lot of Room For Improvement

It's that time of year again (no pun intended): The 2015 Time 100, TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, is out! It's a chance for those who are on the list to gloat (especially if you are Kanye West) and the rest of us to feel insecure about the fact that Kim Kardashian made this list and we probably never will. And it's also a chance to see if the gains women made on last year's list have been maintained this year. And the good news is: They have! Though we maybe shouldn't celebrate just yet. Here's why.

Last year was a record year for women on the Time 100 — a total of 41 women made the list in 2014. And this year, they sort of held onto those gains. Out of 100 influential people, 40 of them are women, which in terms of backsliding is not exactly bad but also isn't ideal. After all, women make up 51 percent of the world's population. We deserve to keep getting more representation, not less!

There were good things about this year's chosen people, of course. For instance Laverne Cox made the list, making her the first ever trans woman on the TIME 100. She was nominated last year, as well, and was a popular choice in TIME's online poll, but was ultimately not selected causing widespread disappointment. So seeing her on the list this year is pretty great, not to mention well deserved. I mean, the woman is pretty amazing.

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Still, in certain respects the list still has a long way to go when it comes to women's representation, and not just when it comes to total numbers. For one thing, women of color are still fairly underrepresented. Of the 40 women on the list, only 15 are women of color, which is only about 37 percent. The number could be worse, I suppose, but considering that TIME chooses their influential people from all over the world, it still feels pretty low. Maybe it's just me, but worldwide I feel like women of color definitely make up way more than 15 percent of the influential people. Seeing as how people of color are a majority of the world's population and all.

It's also problematic which categories most of the women on the list belong to. TIME divides their list into five sections: Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, and Icons. Women actually make up a slight majority of the pioneers and the icons (54 and 58 percent, respectively) and exactly half of the artists. However, when it comes to being leaders, only eight of the 31 people TIME identifies as especially influential are women, or about 26 percent. Only three are women of color.

In some ways, of course, this speaks to a global problem, not a problem with TIME. In most parts of the world, it is much more difficult for women than for men to attain positions of leadership, either in government or anywhere else. Still, it's discouraging to see so few women recognized for their leadership, especially since TIME does not confine the category only to politicians or heads of state — for instance, Rula Ghani, the current first lady of Afghanistan and champion of women's rights in the country, rightfully found a place on the list under the category of Leaders.


So is the TIME list unfair to women? Well, I don't think we can entirely blame the TIME editors (though seriously guys, no more backsliding, OK?). When it comes to becoming influential, women typically have a much more difficult time than men, not because we are any less capable, but because we have to work that much harder to get people to take us seriously.

Still, the truly extraordinary thing is that so many, many women manage to do it anyway. And personally, I think that we need to continue to recognize that more, rather than being happy with 41 percent. Because one of the things standing in women's way when it comes to getting respect is that women's achievements haven't gotten as much recognition historically, which makes it seem — to both men and women — like women just can't do things. And so recognizing women in equal measure with men is a big part of making it possible for the next generation of women to become the influential people they absolutely have the potential to be.

But in the mean time, here are the 40 women recognized on this year's list. They are all pretty amazing.

1. Mellody Hobson

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2. Elizabeth Holmes

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3. Susan Wojcicki

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4. Chanda Kochhar

5. Kim Kardashian


6. Janet Yellen

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7. Misty Copeland

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8 and 9. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna

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10. Emma Watson


11. Pardis Sabeti

12. Reese Witherspoon


13. Chai Jing

14. Kira Orange Jones

15. Aura Elena Farfán

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16. Anita Sarkeesian

17. Laverne Cox


18. Sarah Koenig

19. Juliana Margulies


20. Amy Schumer

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21. Jill Soloway

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22. Audra McDonald

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23. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


24. Julianne Moore


25. Marie Kondo

26. Angela Merkel

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27. Rula Ghani


28. Obiageli Ezekwesili

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29. Elizabeth Warren

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30. Samantha Power

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31. Hillary Clinton


32. Marine Le Pen

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33. Joanne Liu

34. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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35. Taylor Swift


36. Diane von Furstenberg


37. Bjork


38. Abby Wambach


39. Ina Garten

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40. Malala Yousafzai

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You can find out more about these awesome women (and the 60 men who are pretty cool, too) here.