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The Top 10 Women To Celebrate

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March 8th is International Women's Day, and, as usual, I have mixed feelings. It's always exciting to celebrate the achievements and breakthroughs of women, whether in their own communities or in the bright light of the global stage.

But the day also underscores the ongoing inequality between genders. We don't celebrate an International Men's Day. If we were a truly equal society, would we need a day of our own?

This always reminds me of that great quote of Bella Abzug: "True equality will come NOT when a female Einstein is recognized as quickly as a male Einstein, but when a female schlemiel is promoted as quickly as a male schlemiel." That Bella -- she knew how to sum it up.

But my reservations about our "Day" aside, I always enjoy looking back on the previous year and remembering the women who inspired us -- by taking a stand, by having an impact, by making a difference.

To that end, it's been a fabulous year for women. When Mary Barra stepped to the helm of General Motors in January, cheers rang out worldwide -- not just because of her personal achievement, but because a woman had at last broken through the ceiling at that most notorious of boys' clubs: as the first female CEO of a major global automaker. No small feat there.

Likewise the ongoing triumphs of 16-year-old Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai. Her advocacy of girls' education nearly cost her her life at the hands of a Taliban hit squad in 2012, and her outspokenness in the aftermath brought her international acclaim. Most people - young or old - who'd suffered a trauma like that might have taken for cover. Not Malala -- she's now taken her courageous stand to the next level (see slide show).

So, from "leaning in" with Sheryl Sandberg, to laughing along with Ellen DeGeneres, it's been a banner year. And in honor of International Women's Day, here's a look at our top ten movers and shakers -- from the arts to athletics, from politics to technology, from the boardroom to the classroom.

Is it the definitive list? Hardly. But for that we'd need an internet twice as big. That's okay -- a woman will probably build one.

Happy International Women's Day, everybody!

International Women's Day 2014
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