And as 2014 has come to an end, the lists of the most inspiring people of the year are about to begin. It is truly beautiful to see how far some went and how hard they have worked. Such lists usually start with President Obama and end with Pope Francis; But not this one. This list is for the whole world to know how powerful women are, and how inspiring they can be.

1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala is the youngest Nobel Prize winner, winning 2014’s Nobel Peace Prize for fighting for education and women, in her native Swat Valley, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban banned girls from attending school. But Malala’s human rights advocacy has grown into an international movement, and she became a young inspiration with big dreams and a bigger heart.

2. Angela Merkel

Merkel is the first woman to be the Chancellor of Germany and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Her strong personality, her powerful words, and her dedication to always achieve and inspire, makes her one of the most influential women of 2014.

3. Joyce Banda

Leader and founder of the People’s Party, Banda was also the President of Malawi from 2012 until the 31st of May 2014. She was stated to be one of the 40 most powerful women of the year, according to Forbes, for her ongoing fight for freedom, democracy, and women.

4. Milka Duno

Who said that only men know how to drive? Milka Duno is a Venezuelan race car driver, who won the Rolex Series Miami Grand Prix becoming the first woman in history to win a major international race in the USA. 

5.  Janet Yellen

2014’s most influential women’s list cannot be complete without Janet Yellen. She is the first woman to head the most influential central bank in the world, given the size of the Fed’s balance sheet ($4T) relative to the U.S. GDP ($16.7T).

6. Indra Nooyi

Have you ever wondered who owns the can of PepsiCo that you are drinking? Well, it is Indra Nooyi. She is the current chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo. She led the company’s restructure, acquired Tropicana in 1998, and is the food and beverage giant’s fifth CEO.

7. Sarah Burton

If it weren’t for her, McQueen would have been ruined, because she is the one continuing the legacy. With no boundaries in creativity, arts, and fashion, Burton is the Creative Director of the entire McQueen brand. She has won several awards, including the International Designer of the Year Award and global recognition as the designer of the wedding dress for the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton on the occasion of her marriage to Prince William.

8. Lupita Nyong’o

She is not an average Hollywood star. She has this passion in her eyes that shines brighter than any Oscars’ awards. The Mexican beauty was named ‘the most beautiful woman of 2014’ by People, and the ‘woman of the year’ by Glamour.  She had her first featured film role in the historical drama 12 Years a Slave (2013) earning herself the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among numerous other awards and nominations. Nyong’o is the first Kenyan and first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award, which is truly amazing. 

9. Samantha Power

Her name says it all. As the world is exploding with crises such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria’s civil war, the proliferation of the extremist group ISIS and the Ebola outbreak, Power officially became, at the age of 44, the United States’ youngest-ever permanent representative to the United Nations.

10. Susan Wojcicki

Admit it, how many hours (or even days) do you spend watching You Tube? Well, you love it, but Susan Wojcicki owns it! She moved, this February, from her post as consigliere for Google’s ads and commerce, to become CEO of the largest video platform.

11. Marissa Mayer

At the young age of 38, Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo, with around $24 million as a salary. The Stanford University graduate, was listed to be the 18th most powerful woman in the world, for this year, according to Forbes.

12. Helen Clark

Being the most powerful woman in the United Nations, with a staff of 8,000 in 177 countries in 37 organizations, Clark might be the next UN Secretary-General. In January 2014, the Guardian interviewed Clark, raising the possibility that she could take over after Ban Ki-moon’s retirement, in 2016. She did not confirm her interest, but said: ‘There will be interest in whether the UN will have a first woman because they’re looking like the last bastions, as it were’.

13. Christine Lagarde 

Lagarde is the first woman to run the 188-country financial organization, known as the International Monetary Fund, being its Managing Director. Recently, she has been dealing with the tensions in Ukraine and approved a $17 billion loan for the country, this April.

14. Ivonne Juez de Abdel Baki

Trade Minister of Ecuador, President of the Commission of the Andean Community of Nations, Minister of Trade Industry, Fisheries and Competitiveness, President of the Andean Parliament, and awarded Decoration Resident Artist from Harvard University, ‘Art for Peace’ award from Princeton University, and the ‘Excellency in Leadership Award’ of the Economic International Order of Merit of Lebanon, makes Abdel Baki one of the most awarded women in the world, with a remarkable number of positions. The Lebanese lady from Latin America might be the upcoming President of Ecuador.

If the list of influential women had no limits, we would have thousands of names. However, these are the most famous and most powerful ones for this year. Let’s hope that they will keep amazing us in 2015!


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