Nadia Murad's Woman Of The Year Win Ignites Toast To Feminine Power

The 2024 TIME Women of the Year event celebrated activist and Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad as Woman of the Year, among twelve exceptional awardees, symbolizing the resilience of one woman against the forces of darkness.

Oshi Saxena
New Update

Image Credit - Kevin Mazur—Getty Images for TIME

In Kojo, a small village nestled in northern Iraq, a young girl named Nadia Murad harbored a dream—a dream of creating a haven, a beauty salon, where women and girls could not only enhance their outer beauty but also share ideas, learn, and revel in a space uniquely their own. Little did she know that this aspiration would be brutally shattered when the fighters of the Islamic State infiltrated her village in 2014, leaving a trail of devastation.


As the militants wreaked havoc, branding the Yazidi community as infidels, Murad's world crumbled. The once serene village turned into a battleground, claiming the lives of her mother, siblings, relatives, and friends. At the tender age of 21, Murad found herself among nearly 6,000 Yazidi women and children, cruelly held captive and subjected to unspeakable horrors, enduring almost three months of relentless sexual violence.

Murad manifested a daring escape in 2015, seeking refuge in Germany. Rather than succumbing to the weight of her traumatic experiences, she chose to channel her pain into advocacy for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. "When you survive a war and know so many people who didn't make it, you feel responsible to do something for them," she declares with conviction.

Now, at 30, Murad stands as the president and chairwoman of the nonprofit organization aptly named Nadia's Initiative. Her efforts transcend individual healing; she tirelessly lobbies governments and international organizations to effect policy reform and secure resources for the rebuilding of communities in crisis.

Survivor's Journey to Advocacy

The  2024 TIME Women of the Year event convened a distinguished assembly of luminaries hailing from various spheres—artists, actors, activists, and beyond. These individuals symbolize strength, courage, and commitment to the global pursuit of equality, justice, and progress. Notably, among the twelve remarkable awardees was none other than Nadia Murad, acknowledged and celebrated as the Woman of the Year for her outstanding contributions.

Murad recounted the stories of unsung feminists who, despite lacking educational opportunities, fervently advocated for change, epitomizing the indomitable spirit of mothers and activists striving for a better future.


“Growing up, I didn’t know what a feminist was. Now I see that I was surrounded by them,” she said. “Women who didn’t have the chance to go to school themselves, but who pushed every day for better education, for more equality, for more recognition in the village. Who dedicated themselves to making sure their children’s lives would be better than theirs. Women like my mother who left an unhappy marriage and raised eleven children on her own.”

Global Impact

Her memoir, recounting the harrowing details of her ordeal, became a New York Times bestseller in 2017. The recognition came in 2018 when she was bestowed with the Nobel Peace Prize, a testament to the power of one woman's resilience against the forces of darkness. In December, Murad emerged as the lead plaintiff in a groundbreaking lawsuit involving approximately 400 Yazidi Americans against Lafarge, a French cement conglomerate. The company pleaded guilty in 2022 to financing ISIS for a factory in Syria. Human-rights attorney Amal Clooney, a steadfast advocate for Murad, filed the suit under the civil provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, emphasizing the need to hold accountable those who support terrorist organizations.

Beyond her advocacy, Murad is set to achieve a personal milestone this year. She will be the first in her family to graduate from college, earning a sociology degree from American University. Although the dream of a salon in Kojo was cruelly stolen from her, Murad finds solace in the fact that her journey empowers other women and girls in Iraq to realize their dreams.

gender violence ISIS Nadia Murad Nobel TIME magazine