Every year, the process of compiling the list of the Business Daily’s Top 40 Under 40 women starts with scrutinising the nominees.

How have they used their position or power to create a lasting and meaningful change in the community? What is so unique about their position be it in the marketing field or technology?

Which of the 1,000 nominees have made the greatest strides in using their talent, voice, or resources to pull other women up the ladder?  Yes, the job and educational background matter, but it is more than the job and degrees.

Often, the answers to these questions determine the newcomers for the list.

This year we picked women across industries, social status, and age, remarkable women of influence and achievement. They are fierce and talented. They have shattered glass ceilings with complete competence and defied poverty, disability, and male domination.

Every year the calibre of outstanding women keeps changing. They are getting younger. They are bolder. They are charting into waters their mothers and grandmothers only dreamt of exploring.

When the project was launched 15 years, several women who made it as finalists were in traditional careers. This year’s list has Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts, a genomic scientist who has a PhD in cell biology, entrepreneurs on an enviable success trajectory, and doctors in fields dominated by the over 50s.

However, missing out on the list does not mean a woman is not powerful or is making zero impact in society. There are so many women under 40 who are rising—and rising at a rate that could earn them a spot on the list next year.

Diana Mwango