Malala Yousafzai — Joint recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her ongoing fight for a girl’s right to education. She is a leading spokesperson for women’s rights, and is setting an example for women and girls around the globe.
Emma Watson — The actress of Harry Potter fame became the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and used her speech to the UN to call for gender equality and for women and men alike to reclaim “feminism” to benefit all.
Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani – Professor of mathematics at Stanford University, in 2014 Mirzakhani became the first female to have ever been awarded the Fields Medal — the most prestigious prize in mathematics — for her ” outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.”
Thuli Madonsela — As the Public Protector of South Africa this year she challenged her country’s president — Jacob Zuma — over his abuse of taxpayers money and has been described as an “example of what African public officers need to be” by TIME magazine who placed her in their top 100 influential people in 2014.
Christine Lagarde – Lawyer and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. In 2007 Lagarde became the first female Minister of Finance, Economy and Trade in France, nominated by Elisa Berkowitz, Executive Producer for CNN International shows including Leading Women and Vital Signs with Dr Sanjay Gupta.
Angela Merkel — The German Chancellor came top of the Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2014 for the fourth consecutive year. The former scientist turned politician was the first female to win the position as chancellor and is now the longest-serving elected EU head of state.
Shonda Rhimes — Screenwriter, director, and producer. Her most famous work has been on TV shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder which debuted September 25, 2014. She also won the Directors Guild of American diversity award this year.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The Nigerian writer has authored three novels and is heralded for drawing attention to African literature throughout her award-winning career. This year, she was nominated for Forbes’ Africa ‘Person of the Year’ Award as well as ‘Personality of the Year’ in the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards.
(Adapted from CNN)