Vogue 25 celebrates science, social media and activism

31 May 2018

Sinéad Burke giving stand-up comedy at go for Bright Club at Inspirefest 2017. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Vogue’s inaugural power list shines a spotlight on women who break the mould of the stereotypical style bible cover star, and it’s a great thing to see.

The British edition of Vogue announced an inaugural power list of “the women shaping 2018”, featuring Irish woman Sinéad Burke among other notable names in science and technology.

The Vogue 25 includes those who would be no stranger to the magazine’s pages (Meghan Markle, Stella McCartney, Dua Lipa), household names (JK Rowling, Amal Clooney) and a diverse cross-section of leaders and pioneers in their fields, such as Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, music executive Grace Ladoja and Manchester United COO Collette Roche.

Perhaps most refreshing, though, is the inclusion of voices from science, academia, tech journalism and environmentalism.

Sinéad Burke, academic and activist

Likely no stranger to Siliconrepublic.com readers, Sinéad Burke is noted on the Vogue 25 as “the author and campaigner [who] became a sensation”.

Burke has three times appeared at our annual Inspirefest event – first at the Fringe, then on the main stage and, last year, trying her hand at stand-up comedy for Bright Club. Born with achondroplasia, Burke has eagerly shared her perspective of the world from 3ft 5in tall, first finding her voice on social media and now with a TED talk that has been viewed more than 1.2m times.

When she’s not advocating that the design world (fashion and otherwise) does a better job addressing more than just the average person, Burke is a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. She appears in a group photo shot by David Burton with a few of her listmates for the July issue of the magazine, and said in an Instagram post that she was “extraordinarily grateful” for the honour.

“It is humbling and so very surreal to sit alongside so many of my heroes, women who are shaping and changing the world,” she wrote.

Orla Doherty, TV producer and environmentalist

Vogue also honoured TV producer Orla Doherty on the list because she “delivered a lesson in the art of soft power”. Doherty, whose family hails from Donegal, produced the landmark finale of BBC’s Blue Planet II, which has emerged as a watershed moment in communicating the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Doherty is a specialist in deep-sea filming and this particular production of hers was viewed by more than 10m people last November. The Vogue entry credits the episode for having “an instant effect on public consciousness” and commends Doherty and her team for “shifting our behaviour”.

Priyanka Joshi, biochemist

No stranger to major magazine accolades, Priyanka Joshi was previously named among Forbes’ ‘30 under 30’ in science in Europe. At the time, Joshi had barely completed her PhD in biophysics at Cambridge University and now, at 29 years old, she is a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge’s Downing College, where she is investigating the role of metabolites on the aggregation of proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Vogue praised her “groundbreaking work building a ‘library’ of drug-like molecules to target irregular proteins that cause degenerative brain diseases” and added that “her early breakthroughs and research could not be more vital”.

Carole Cadwalladr, journalist

The Observer’s phenomenal Carole Cadwalladr made the Vogue 25 along with The Guardian editor Katharine Viner and reporter Amelia Gentleman. While the write-up commends how these women “proved the power that traditional investigative journalism still holds” in the context of a new and difficult age for “old media”, Cadwalladr’s inclusion is for whistleblowing reports that epitomise modern life online.

Cadwalladr is one of the main reasons why many people now know the name Cambridge Analytica and are more informed of their place in a data-driven age. She led her readers into a post-GDPR era with a giant caution sign advising why the way in which digital platforms process your personal data matters.

Hannah Anderson, entrepreneur

Described by Vogue as “the greatest social-media influencer you’ve never heard of”, Hannah Anderson is co-founder of Social Chain. At 26 years old, she knows her way around memes, hashtags and obtuse internet vernacular, and the magazine deemed her “key to unlocking a millennial audience”. Her company leads social-media marketing strategies for major global brands such as Apple and Amazon and is known for its ability to launch a worldwide trend.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Get your tickets now to join us in Dublin on 21 and 22 June 2018.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.