TIME Magazine recognizes influential women, youths


Protests break out in Puerto Rico as frustration grows

By Ariana Portalatin

TIME Magazine published its annual list of the world’s most influential people April 19, highlighting a record number of 45 women and 45 people aged under 40 and showcasing the significance of our world’s evolving power structures.

TIME’s impressive list is the result of a year that stands apart from the rest since the list was first published in 1999. In an April 19 article explaining the methodology of the list, TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said the main driving force behind those selected is the question, “Was this their year?”

The answer is yes for women and young people. Among the 45 women chosen were activist and Me Too founder Tarana Burke; human rights activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, who has worked to end female genital mutilation in Kenya; San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who became the voice for disenfranchised Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Maria; and Columbia’s very own 2006 television alumna Lena Waithe, whose 2017 Emmy win for “Master of None” and revolutionary TV diversity initiatives earned her the title “Master of Everything.” 

A noteworthy number of women of color were also recognized, including Oprah, rapper Cardi B, comedian Tiffany Haddish and artist Jennifer Lopez; the latter two received their own covers.

“While we remain much too far from gender parity in global leadership, there are more women than ever on this year’s TIME 100—proof that there are ways of changing the world beyond traditional power structures,” Felsenthal wrote. 

Among the changing power structures is the world’s youth, many of whom were rightly acknowledged as the teachers of the world by their admirers. While commemorating “Lady Bird” Director Greta Gerwig, filmmaker Steven Spielberg wrote, “Her elder becomes her student.” 

The list’s youngest selection ever was 14-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown. Actor Aaron Paul described being starstruck while meeting the actress when she was 12 years old, writing that Brown’s mind and spirit were “timeless.”

“A wise woman was speaking from her cherubic face,” Paul wrote. “It was like speaking to a future mentor with a perspective and groundedness that I could only have dreamed of at that age. Or at any age, if I’m being honest.”

Former President Barack Obama contributed to the TIME’s list by praising students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are spearheading a gun reform movement. 

Obama applauded the students’ devotion to demanding gun reform and action from Congress, which has largely remained stagnant on the issue. 

“Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that’s how it should be,” Obama wrote. “Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us.”

TIME’s 100 list is a reflection of our moment in time, and the selections for this list recognize the value of our world becoming increasingly diverse and of those who have historically been silenced. The women on this list represent our expanding dominance while that of young people illustrates our ability to stand up to authority and hold them accountable when others fail to do so.