NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The organizers of a massive women's march on Washington against U.S. President Donald Trump a day after he was inaugurated were named on Thursday among the "world's greatest leaders" in Fortune magazine's annual list.
The accolade from the influential U.S. publication comes amid mounting concern over women's rights in the United States and opposition over Trump's policies on abortion and healthcare.
Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, who coordinated the Jan. 21 march, which spearheaded sister rallies around the world, ranked 34th in Fortune magazine's fourth annual list of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders".
The "Million Women March" drew celebrities including pop star Madonna and actress Scarlett Johansson, and throngs of protesters - many wearing knitted pink "pussy hats" in a reference to Trump's boast in a 2005 video about grabbing women's' genitals that was made public weeks before the election.
Fortune's tribute to the women activists showed increasing political momentum in favor of women's rights as a result of Trump's election, said law professor Julie Suk.
"Trump's misogynistic issues, I think, awakened the feminist in a lot of ordinary women," said Suk, who teaches at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York.
"That's why you got such a huge turnout and I think the organizers of the women's march captured that opportunity," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
During his presidential campaign, Trump, a Republican, insulted female reporters, referred to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as a "nasty woman", and targeted women over their looks.
In one of his first actions as president, Trump signed an executive order reinstating a policy known by critics as the "global gag" rule, which withholds U.S. funding for international organizations that perform abortions or provide information about abortion.
Trump was not included in Fortune's list of leaders, which has never featured a sitting U.S. president.
This year's list contained the highest number of non-profit leaders since it was first published, Fortune said.
In all, 11 leaders affiliated with non-profits appear in the Fortune list, including Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the CEO of Save the Children International, and Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Theo Epstein, the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, was the "world's greatest leader", according to Fortune magazine.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)