Time Magazine’s 2022 Women of the Year list includes Pose star Michaela Jae “Mj” Rodriguez, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, poet Amanda Gorman, actress Kerry Washington, Sherrilyn Ifill, and Jennie Joseph.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, musician Kacey Musgraves, software developer Tracy Chou, Adena Friedman, Amanda Nguyen, and journalist Zahra Joya are among the other awardees.
“When we sat down last fall to conceive a version of this project that could become an ongoing tradition, we chose to spotlight leaders who are working to create a better future for women everywhere,” TIME executive editor Naina Bajekal and senior editor Lucy Feldman wrote of the project. “Our 2022 Women of the Year list features 12 individuals who have reached across communities, generations, and borders to fight for a more inclusive and equitable world.”
The awardees were given the opportunity to speak at the magazine’s Women of the Year banquet in Los Angeles on International Women’s Day. Washington spoke on stage about how her career as an actress led her to become a Hollywood power player and how every woman should be her own Olivia Pope in order to secure a better political future in their communities and in Washington, D.C. at large.
“The reason we got into this situation is because we believed a person on television could fix things, and the only way we can save our democracy is if we realize we are the Olivia Popes of our communities and families,” Washington told Katie Couric at the event on Tuesday. “So how do we remind people that they wear the white hat?”
Washington wears her proverbial white hat by supporting the stories of Black women and other women of color through her production firm, Simpson Street. She ran a grassroots campaign in favor of the United States. In the presidential election, President Joe Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris are running. Washington also backed Stacey Abrams in her fight against voter suppression around the country.
Felix, a two-time Olympic winner, opened up about how her experience as a mother has motivated her to become an advocate for maternal health. Felix gave birth to her daughter in 2018, and the experience made her realize how women of color are treated unfairly at hospitals.
“I think we’re really seeing women of color, our pain is not believed,” she said at the event, according to Time. “We have to advocate for our own health. There’s so much implicit bias in the medical field. We need to change that and listen to and believe women.”
“I feel so fortunate I was able to walk out of the hospital with my family and that’s not the case for so many women. What’s heartbreaking is so many of these deaths are preventable,” she continued.