100th International Women’s Day: World’s 10 most influential women (PHOTOS)

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  • Michelle Obama
    First Lady Michelle Obama requests Jessica Simpson to serenade military families Reuters.
  • Hillary Clinton
    “I believe strongly that every person – man and woman, boy and girl – has a God-given right to participate and to go as far as his or her hard work and talents will take them.” – Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. The 67th United States Secretary of State, Hillary launched the "100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges", on the eve of IWD. A hundred women from 92 different countries gathered at the State Department to start the three-week professional exchange program in the United States. The program involves traveling to cities across the country where each of the 100 participants will get to interact with business leaders and government officials thereby forging communication between different cultural groups. Reuters.
  • Oprah Winfrey
    An American television host, actress, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey is regarded as one of the most influential women across the globe. Born into poverty in rural Mississippi, Oprah rose to fame with her tabloid talk show that revolutionized the face of the 21st century mainstream television and media communication. It was reportedly her 14 million estimated daily fan-base that helped President Barack Obama gain the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. Reuters.
  • Angela Merkel
    Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany and is frequently compared in stature to Britain’s Margaret Thatcher. In fact, Merkel is the second woman to chair the G8 forum after Thatcher. Born in Hamburg, Merkel was educated in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, where she studied physics. Later, she worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof. Forbes magazine ranked her last year as the 4th most powerful women on the planet. And indeed, with ownership of nine public companies with annual sales of over $70 billion, this “Iron Lady” is a role model for women across the globe. Reuters.
  • Lady Gaga
    With five Grammy Awards, twelve nominations and estimated sale of fifteen million albums; very few artists can claim to achieve what Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta popularly known as Lady Gaga has within a short span of time. The American pop-singer is known as much for her musical performances as her outré sense of style and fashion. Reuters.
  • Indra Nooyi
    This Indian-born American executive is popularly known as the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Incorporated. Besides this, she is also a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Reuters.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
    Recipient of Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991; Aung has helped to forge a new political scenario in her country, Burma, through her constant efforts and dedication. Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest on numerous occasions since she began her political career, totaling 15 of the past 21 years. In fact, for the past 20 years, she had to struggle a lot under the oppressive Burmese junta who are the rulers of the country. Reuters.
  • Nancy Pelosi
    She was the first woman to hold the US House of Representatives and is the highest ranking female politician in American history. On November 17, 2010, Pelosi was elected as the Democratic Leader by House Democrats and therefore the Minority Leader in the Republican-controlled House for the 112th Congress. Reuters.
  • Sarah Palin
    US Republican, Sarah Palin, known for her fiery statements, is undoubtedly a very popular figure in the international political arena. Forbes magazine stated that “As a political commentator on Fox (with a $1 million-a-year, multi-year contract) and deft user of Twitter (260,000 followers) and Facebook (2 million-plus fans), she has largely bypassed traditional media to blast the press and the president.” Reuters
  • Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordon
    A very popular figure in the Middle-East, Rania Al Abdullah is the current Queen consort of Jordan as the wife of King Abdullah II of Jordan. Throughout the years, she has striven to improve the quality of education for Jordanian children while, at the same time, advocating the need for education for children across the globe. Reuters.
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They are the leaders, business heads, fashionistas and movie stars and they have come a long way since March 19, 1911 when the first IWD was celebrated in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

With rapid industrialization and economic expansion towards the turn of the 20th century, there was a unified voice demanding improved working conditions and equal political and human rights for women.

However, it was only during the 1970s, as the international feminist movement started to gain momentum, that United Nations General Assembly declared 1975 as the International Women's Year and organized the first World Conference on Women, held in Mexico City.

Despite all the measures undertaken to prevent gender discrimination and forge equal rights, gender-based violence and conflicts have continued throughout the ages.

For the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be Women's History Month stating that there is still work to be done before women achieve true parity.

Take a look at our list of 10 most influential women across the globe who have, through their constant efforts and dedication, set new milestones for the world to tread on.

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