“For most of history, anonymous was a woman,” were the words of Virginia Woolf. I think Ms. Woolf would be proud of how far women have come, and indeed we have come very far. While there is still a lot of work to do in the fight to give all women voice and visibility from the office to the home, I think we also ought to celebrate the many women who make strides in business, science, technology, international affairs, academia, government, law, media, and the home. The following 10 women have made a difference in their careers, communities, and of course in the world as a whole, and we think you should know them.
1. Marissa Mayer
At 37, Marissa is the CEO of Yahoo, which makes her the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. A native of Wausau, Wisconsin, Ms. Mayer graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and an M.S. in Computer Science. In 2009, she was one of Glamour Magazine ‘s Women of the Year. Away from Yahoo, Mayer sits on the boards of the New York Ballet, National Design Museum, and other non-profit organizations.
2. Dr. Helene D. Gayle
Ms. Gayle is the president and CEO of CARE USA, a division of CARE International – a humanitarian aid organization fighting global poverty. Prior to joining CARE, she had spent over twenty years at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with a large focus on HIV/AIDS. Helene received her M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. at John Hopkins University. She also has several honorary degrees and awards and is considered a prominent global thinker of the time.
3. Chan Laiwa
A rags to riches story, Chan Laiwa was born in Beijing, China and is the founder of Fuwah International Group – one of Beijing’s largest commercial property developers. Chan is also the founder of the China Red Sandalwood Museum where she serves as the curator, which has earned her the title of a cultural diplomat in China. Ms. Laiwa is one of only 19 self-made female billionaires in the world.
4. Katherine Krill
Kay Krill, as she is known, is the president and CEO of Ann Taylor Stores. She is responsible for all three Ann Taylor divisions – Ann Taylor Stores, Ann Taylor Loft, and Ann Taylor Factory Stores. Kay is credited for spearheading the growth of the Loft division, which has grown into a $1 billion business. In 2012, she was one of the twenty-five highest paid women in the United States.
5. Christiane Amanpour
Regarded by many as one of the most prominent and powerful women in media, Ms. Amanpour serves as the Chief International Correspondent for CNN and a Global Affairs anchor for ABC news. In her coverage of the Bosnian and Gulf wars, she gained a reputation for being fearless in the field. Ms. Amanpour has won nine Emmy Awards and received numerous global honors for her work.
6. Dolores Huerta
Ms. Huerta is a civil rights activist and labor leader who co-founded what is now the United Farm Workers. Dolores has received global acclamation for her pursuit of workers’, immigrants’, and women’s rights. Huerta was the inaugural recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 1998. In 1992, Ms. Huerta founded a non-profit in her own name that creates leadership opportunities for community organizing, civic engagement, and policy advocacy in health and environment, education and youth development, and economic development.
7. Isabel Allende
Isabel is a Chilean-American writer and is considered to be the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author. In 2004, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1996, she founded the Isabel Allende Foundation which supports programs to empower and protect women and children. In 2010, she received Chile’s National Literature Prize and is regarded as one of the top 10 most powerful female authors in the United States
8. Victoria Ransom
Victoria is co-founder and CEO of Wildfire, a social media marketing software provider. Originally from New Zealand, Ms. Ransom has been an entrepreneur since her early twenties. As the founder of Wildfire, she has led the company’s success to profitability within just one year of it’s start. In 2010, she was named the New Zealand Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year and in 2011 was one of “Top 25 Women to Watch in Tech.”
9. Chimamana Adiche
Ms. Adiche, a Nigerian, is regarded as one of Africa’s most prominent female authors currently. Chimamana obtained a Masters in creative writing from John Hopkins University and an M.A. in African Studies from Yale. Her most notable works are Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun which have received worldwide acclamation and have earned her numerous honors and awards.
10. Tawakkol Karman
Known as Yemen’s Iron Woman, Tawakkol became the international face of the 2011 Yemen uprising. Ms. Karman is a politician, journalist, and human rights activist. In 2005, she co-founded Women Journalists Without Chains with seven other female journalists to promote freedom of opinion and expression. In 2011, she became the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.