Bow Down To The Queens: The 15 Most Influential Women Of 2013
Not to brag or anything, but 2013 was totally a great time for women. Aside from being just a generally awesome sex, we ladies delivered in areas all across the board this year.
Sure, we may do questionable things like purposely tear hot wax off our vaginas, but we also do really cool stuff like kick ass in the office and serve it up on the silver screen.
Notwithstanding the existence of Leonardo DiCaprio, when we think of all the things women collectively accomplished this 2013, we sometimes wonder why we need men around. Girls are having such an amazing year that there might even be a chance for Anne Hathaway!
Let’s take a moment to reminisce on the most powerful women of 2013.
1. Zhang Xin: The Woman To Play House With
Meet the woman who is richer than Oprah, Donald Trump and Jay Z: Zhang Xin. She’s the CEO of her own real estate development empire, SOHO China, and is the seventh richest, self-made woman in the world.
Worth a reported $3.8 billion, Xin is the quintessential "started from the bottom, now we here" story. Still, however, Zhang Xin remains humble in the face of extreme wealth, even suggesting that her 14-year-old son work at McDonald’s.
2. Angelina Jolie: The Guest Of Honor At Your Next Dinner Party
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Angelina Jolie is not all cheekbones and acting -- she’s also a prominent humanitarian, working with refugees worldwide and with the United Nations to bring awareness to the plight of disadvantaged people. Jolie is incredibly outspoken on the need to give back and develop a greater understanding of the world, after witnessing war-torn Cambodia while filming “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.”
The Goodwill Ambassador also made headlines this year when she revealed she underwent a double mastectomy. Between her fascinating stories and her sage insight, we wouldn’t mind listening to Angelina while picking at spring arugula salads and bruschetta.
3. Arianna Huffington: The Woman With The Coveted Reading List
Arianna Huffington literally controls the media as the co-founder of her namesake website, making this 63-year-old one of the most powerful women in the world. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Huffington Post has successfully positioned itself as the cornerstone website for trending and breaking news.
Arianna is now focused on expanding The Huffington Post globally, building her enormous million-dollar fortune. She still finds time to support good causes, like the Millennial Impact Challenge at IgniteGood, which aims to support young people with ideas for change.
4. Shonda Rhimes: The Woman Who’s In Charge Of The Remote
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Shonda Rhimes, the creative director and executive producer of hit ABC shows, like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” has transformed primetime television drama. She’s not only a prolific writer and creator, but also a powerful voice behind the fierce female leads in her multiple hit series.
Shonda’s prominence on the small screen has even prompted cult-like fans to name her growing empire Shondaland. Shonda is sharing the spotlight by hiring minority actors to portray her diverse set of characters: gay, straight, single, divorced, lethal and loving. Shonda Rhimes writes about people of all walks of life.
5. Wendy Davis: The Woman To Have On Your Team
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She’s the Texan Senator famous for orating an 11-hour filibuster and she’s not losing any steam. Wendy Davis will be running for Governor of Texas in 2014. Although Davis wasn’t able to fully filibust the proposed legislation that drastically curtails abortion rights (it eventually passed in a special session), she did garner attention to women’s reproductive rights and issues.
Her dedication to championing the freedoms of women even sparked a new hashtag, #standwithWendy, making her one badass chick.
6. Sheryl Sandberg: The Woman Who’s Saving Face
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First she rescued Facebook by making it profitable, and then she went on to trademark one of the hottest phrases of the year. “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg has changed the conversation of women in the workplace, advocating that ambitious females give it their all, no holding back.
The extraordinarily successful Chief Operating Officer of Facebook challenges females to forgo the excuses and instead believe in themselves and follow through.
Sheryl Sandberg is the woman to "Friend," "Like" and lean into.
7. Beyoncé: The Queen
Just when we think we’ve seen it all from Yoncé, she outdoes herself. From dropping a top-secret album complete with accompanying music videos, to giving back with her #BeyGood initiative, Beyoncé did it all in 2013. Even though she makes us feel extraordinarily lazy, we admire her dedication to her music and commitment to her fans.
8. Jenna Lyons: The Woman Whose Closet We Want To Raid
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She’s directly responsible for the dress code of millions of women and she delivers every season. As executive creative director of J.Crew, Jenna Lyons expertly uses her understanding of taste and a woman’s body to bring ladies an easy, chic style.
After putting in 22 years of hard work at the brand, Lyons is finally in a position of power. She serves as an inspiration for every woman who believes in climbing the career ladder the traditional way.
9. Janet Yellen: The Woman Making Bank
Once cleared by the Senate in January for her nomination, Janet Yellen will be the first woman to assume the role of Chair of the Federal Reserve, making her, arguably, the most influential woman in the financial world. No pressure, girl.
It's not like she isn’t prepared -- Yellen is currently Vice Chair of the Board and has years of economic experience under her belt. As a firm believer in monetary policy to spur investment and hiring growth, the 67-year-old is ready to make it rain on America’s economy… or at least something like that.
10. Marissa Mayer: The Woman-In-Chief
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Marissa Mayer is more than the savvy CEO of Yahoo! She’s also a mother, geek, style icon and brainiac. Since her turn as woman in-charge, Yahoo!’s stock has gone up 111 percent, proving her innate ability to lead.
At just 38 years old, Mayer has transcended dominant gender lines in Silicon Valley and positioned her company as a fierce competitor in the tech space. She’s putting the exclamation point back into Yahoo!!
11. Kate Middleton: The Woman Who’s Royally Flushed
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Kate Middleton has had quite a busy year between giving birth to baby George and keeping up with her royal duties. Even when she shocked audiences worldwide, showing her postpartum belly while posing with her newborn, there was still nothing bad to say about the Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate Middleton is a true role model for the young girls who want to be princesses when they grow up.
12. Angela Merkel: The Woman Not Leaving Anything Up To Chance
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She was voted to serve a third term as the Chancellor of Germany, paving the way for women in office everywhere. Angela Merkel is Germany’s first female chancellor and one of the few to hold the honor of serving a third term. She’s also a trained scientist who is helping to steer her country out of financial crisis. Merkel's German accent only adds to her strong leadership capabilities.
13. Malala Yousafzai: The Woman That’s Making School Cool Again
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At just 16 years old, the young Pakistani has written a book, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is a spokeswoman for young girls fighting for rights to an education.
Now, the Malala Fund, named in her honor, endorses the education and empowerment of girls in Pakistan and around the world.
14. Petra Collins: The Woman Pushing The Femvelope
The 21-year-old artist is challenging censorship and the female body. She analyzes girl culture through photography, fashion design (like her bleeding vagina t-shirt for American Apparel) and social media.
Most notably, in 2013, Petra Collins’ Instagram was deleted after she posted a photo of her bathing suit bottom with what most would refer to as a “bush” protruding from the edges.
“What I did have was an image of MY body that didn't meet society's standard of "femininity,” Petra said. It takes a lot of guts for Collins to put herself at the forefront of feminist conversation, no matter how hairy the situation.
15. Zaha Hadid: The Woman Who's Designing Our Future
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There’s nothing you can envision that this talented lady can’t make happen. With her influential thinking and sharp mind, Zaha Hadid is the most established architect in the world.
She draws up futuristic, yet functional designs with touches of glamor and divinity. Hadid also totally runs sh*t: She’s won countless awards, including the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize and founded her namesake Zaha Hadid Architects, which specializes in building unique establishments worldwide.
Top Photo Credit: Ramin Talaie/Getty Images