Kyle Crichton

Since its inception in 2002, the Saturday Profile has aimed to bring to readers of The New York Times people around the world they probably have never heard of, but who have led interesting lives and done extraordinary things, or perhaps recently gone through a remarkable experience.

The people we look for usually do not run countries, or headline blockbuster movies, or write best sellers. We leave those to the appropriate sections of the newspaper. Our subjects are more likely to have just emerged from prison, or written their 1,547th novel.

Or, this year, to be women with a story to tell about abuse, sexual or otherwise - a couple of whom shared #MeToo moments in our pages. Carlotta Gall told the story of Henda Ayari, a French citizen of North African heritage and anti-Salafist activist who accused a prominent Oxford professor of raping her.

Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, a proponent of a “feminist foreign policy,” opened up to Ellen Barry about her abuse at the hands of an old boyfriend when she was a young woman, something she had never said publicly before.

Perhaps my favorite profile this year was Kiki Zhao’s stirring depiction of the remarkable Yu Xiuhua, now one of China’s most read poets, a woman with cerebral palsy who lived most of her 41 years on a farm, writing at a low table. She never finished high school, and says she “could write before she could read.” Now, she is invited to places like Stanford University and fends off comparisons to Emily Dickinson.

So take a look. We sincerely hope you enjoy reading them as much as we liked selecting and editing them.

Manal al-Sharif

A Saudi Woman Who Got Behind the Wheel and Never Looked Back

Manal al-Sharif is best known for challenging laws and mores that keep women down in her native country.

Emma Morano

Remembering the World’s Oldest Person, in the Objects She Left Behind

Emma Morano’s singular achievement in life may have been perseverance. She lived for 117 years, crediting her longevity to raw eggs and her lack of a husband. She died on April 15.

Margot Wallstrom

Sweden’s Proponent of ‘Feminist Foreign Policy,’ Shaped by Abuse

As foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, who broke free from a violent relationship in her 20s, is challenging assumptions in a traditionally male sphere.

Henda Ayari

‘I Could Not Forget What Happened to Me That Night With Him’

Henda Ayari created a storm when she denounced radicalism. Now, inspired by the #MeToo campaign, she has accused an Oxford professor of rape.

Olive Yang

The Female Warlord Who Had C.I.A. Connections and Opium Routes

Born to royalty in Burma, Olive Yang, who died on July 31, rejected her birthright to become a cross-dressing warlord and opium trafficker.

Asli Erdogan

Torn Ballet Shoes, and a Life Upended

Asli Erdogan, a novelist of the “dark, pessimistic,” is struggling to process her own grim experience: months in prison.

Letizia Battaglia

A Sicilian Photographer of the Mafia and Her ‘Archive of Blood’

Letizia Battaglia chronicled Palermo’s Mafia wars in the 1970s and ’80s for a local newspaper. Now, her images appear in museums and retrospectives.

Sinta Nuriyah

A Former First Lady Presses On for a tolerance

Sinta Nuriyah carries forth her family’s campaign in Indonesia, holding interfaith events and establishing a network of progressive Islamic boarding schools for girls.

Yu Xiuhua

A Chinese Poet’s Unusual Path From Isolated Farm Life to Celebrity

Yu Xiuhua, born with cerebral palsy, lived a quiet village life. She is now a literary sensation whose vivid, erotic poems are “stained with blood.”

Alice Schwarzer

A Pioneering German Feminist Looks Back in Anguish

Alice Schwarzer, who has battled for women’s rights for years, is stunned that “an old-school sexist” like Donald J. Trump could win the United States presidency.

Maryam Sharif

In Pakistani Fray, Maryam Sharif Is on the Edge of Power, or Prison

She had recently emerged as the right hand of her father, the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But corruption charges are clouding her rapid rise.

–NY Times