Grab Some Tissues: Microsoft Pays Tribute to Heroic Women of 2013

Everyone sends off the old year in their own way. Microsoft’s saying farewell not with their goods (nope, not a single mention of the Surface), but with a short ad to air today featuring the most accomplished female figures from the year that was.

Earlier in the month, we took a look at some of the best and brightest women on the tech scene in 2013, but with this spot, Microsoft opens things up to all fields. The result? An impressive lineup of survivors (in the most literal sense) and strivers, with the most exciting part being that some of these women are just getting started.

No woman is perhaps more representative of the determination put on display this year than Malala Yousafzai, recovering from the gravest of injuries to continue to fight for egalitarianism. It’s a story that sounds so mythic, it almost beggars belief that at the center truly is just an ordinary teenage girl. And really, that’s the most inspiring part of all. None of these women have greatness in their DNA, and certainly not all of them came from the most comfortable of backgrounds. Their examples are a testament to the potential in everyone. In that way, they offer a thrilling glimpse into the future – of what could be, if more men and women stand up to encourage the breakdown of gender norms. Once we stop telling people what they can’t or shouldn’t do, some pretty incredible things just might happen. Fortunately for all of us, these women saw their detractors, nodded in acknowledgement, and cruised right on past.