The BBC’s list of 100 most influential and inspiring women of 2021 is published this week. Who would be on your list?

Here are Prospect Burma’s thoughts in our latest blog:

The BBC list focuses on women internationally who are “resetting” our culture, our society and our world. It includes two inspiring women from Myanmar.

Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng knelt in front of heavily armed police in Myitkyina in March, and pleaded with them to shoot her rather than young protesters whom the police had come to disperse. Mobile phone footage of the amazing scene was shared worldwide.

The other woman is anonymous, to protect her safety. She was imprisoned for six months for her part in the Civil Disobedience Movement, and has resumed her protest activities since being released.

In reality, both cases are indicative of many thousands of women across Myanmar who have put their values before their lives in 2021. Many thousands of men have done likewise, but one of the striking observations about this year in Myanmar is the increased role of women speaking out alongside these men. This is especially remarkable given the patriarchal nature of many Burmese communities, and ongoing reports of sexual abuse and torture of women.

There is no room for any more than two Burmese women in the BBC’s international list. Sadly, this reflects the sheer number of other countries where women face extreme prejudice and abuse, and are taking a stand.

Among these countries is Afghanistan, where the shift in public policy towards women is well documented. The fact that the UK, US and their allies have had recent military involvement in Afghanistan has increased its news value – and the click rate value. It is notable then that 50 of the 100 women of 2021, as chosen by the BBC, are Afghans.

For NGOs working in other countries from Syria to Yemen, this focus on Afghanistan actually reduces Western awareness of the dire challenges being faced by women in other countries. We feel it especially in Myanmar, because there are troubling echoes between the UK’s ill-prepared withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and from Burma in 1948 – it’s just so long ago in Burma that it has lost its news value.

But the trick is not to see these lists as a “competition”, but rather as an opportunity to highlight that choosing 100 remarkable people can only ever be the tip of a very huge iceberg. The chosen 100 are a representation of thousands of others like them, as well as being inspiring in their own right.

At Prospect Burma, we applaud the efforts of those in other countries but our remit is solely Myanmar. We have supported several hundred women from across Myanmar to access education, because they are all amazing people who are denied opportunity while political crisis continues.

Some have faced guns and torture. Some have lost loved ones or been driven from their villages. All have faced dire challenges and come to us, not as victims, but as individuals determined to make things better and simply asking for our help in order to gain the skills they need.

Their determination is often low key. Their desire to quietly become a doctor, teacher, engineer or agriculturalist may not sound exciting or generate social media clicks. But they are working so hard, often studying on a shared mobile phone with intermittent internet, while juggling other commitments or just surviving.

You see this humility everywhere in Myanmar. Our beneficiaries are helping people around them to face the immediate crises through counselling, health awareness and a range of practical support. At the same time, they are helping Myanmar prepare for the long-term challenges ahead. There is no immediate way out of these crises and, in the months and years to come, communities will depend more and more on people with knowledge and expertise to help them through. We need to make sure the current young generation is able to gain those skills.

So, the message of this blog is not to highlight any specific individual we support. Instead, we will simply add several hundred of the inspiring and amazing women we have supported in Myanmar, past and present, to the BBC’s list of 100 women of 2021, and do so anonymously in order to protect their safety.

To all of you: You amaze us. You inspire us. We support you.