Meet the Honorees
  • Margaret Atwood
    Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. She is best-known for her modern classic The Handmaid's Tale, now a critically acclaimed television series. Her most recent novels include The Heart Goes Last and the MaddAddam trilogy the Giller and Booker Prize-shortlisted Oryx and Crake, andThe Year of the Flood. In addition to her success as a writer, Atwood is also committed to being active through various philanthropic endeavors. In 2018, Equality Now honored Atwood as a longtime advocate of women's rights. She continues to use her platform to aid victims of sexual assault and advocates for gender equality and human rights. She was also one of seventeen authors to sell naming rights to characters from their works to raise money for the Freedom from Torture, a charity that provides therapy and support for torture victims.
  • Tarana Burke
    For more than 25 years, activist and advocate Burke has worked at the intersection of racial justice, arts and culture and sexual violence. Fueled by commitments to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly black women and girls, Burke has created and led various campaigns focused on increasing access to resources and support for impacted communities, including the 'me too' movement. In 2003 she co-founded Just Be Inc., an organization committed to the leadership development and wellness of Black girls. In 2006 she began working with students in the Black Belt using 'me too' as a tool for healing, education and action. In the years following, the 'me too' movement quickly expanded beyond young people to include adult women and men, queer and trans folks and all marginalized groups. In October 2017 #metoo became a viral phenomenon that quickly spread around the world and Burke has emerged as a global leader in the evolving conversation around sexual violence and the need for survivor-centered solutions. Her theory of using empathy to empower survivors is changing the way the nation and the world thinks about and engages with survivors. Burke was named Time Magazine 2017 Person of the Year along with the 'Silence Breakers', a group recognized for standing up against sexual harassment and violence. In 2018, she was featured on the covers of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and Variety Magazine's Power of Women issue. She is the recipient of the Ridenhour Prize, The Change Makers Award from Black Girls Rock and topped the 2018 The Root 100 list as the most influential African American.
  • Ava DuVernay
    An Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Award winner, Ava DuVernay is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her feature directorial work includes the Oscar-winning historical drama SELMA, the Oscar-nominated criminal justice documentary 13TH and Disney's A Wrinkle In Time, which made her the highest grossing African-American woman director in domestic box office history. DuVernay was the first African-American female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the first African-American female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as first African-American filmmaker to win the Sundance Film Festival's Best Director Prize for her micro-budget film Middle Of Nowhere. She amplifies the work of people of color and women of all kinds through her distribution collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies. In 2017, she was featured as one of Fortune Magazine's 50 Greatest Culture Leaders and TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. DuVernay sits on the board of Sundance Institute and is based in Los Angeles, California.  Currently, she is in production on her next project based on the infamous crime case known as "Central Park Five," while overseeing production of her critically-acclaimed TV series "Queen Sugar".
  • Nancy Pelosi
    Nancy Pelosi currently serves as the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2007, she made history as the first woman ever elected to the position and in 2019, she became the first person in more than 60 years to regain the title. Pelosi continues to fight for women and families by working to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay through strong economic growth and rebuild America. She has been a powerful voice for human and civil rights around the world.