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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Montclair chapter.


As young women, we look up to other women who are put in front of us, whether it be on magazine covers, popular news websites, or the faces we see on television. But with all these beautiful, well-known names and faces we see each day, how many of these women are truly inspirational? Well collegiettes, we picked out the top 10 Women of the Year! These women have made a positive impact in our world and for women throughout the year. So kick back and take a look at who made this years’ list!

Maryam Durani

In a country where it is best to stay quiet, this woman speaks loud and clear for all to hear. Maryam Durani owns and manages the only local radio station in Kandahar Province—one the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan. As if that wasn’t courageous enough, Durani’s radio station focuses primarily on women issues and helps women understand their rights in a male dominated society. Regardless of the multiple assassination attempts against her and being a walking target for the Taliban, this woman has endured bounds of bravery. For these many reasons, she was named one of the 10 International Women of Courage by the U.S. State Department in 2012.



Vicki Soto

While the recent tragic events in Newtown, CT flooded news headlines within the last week, talk of a fallen hero surfaced. Soto, an elementary school teacher at Sandy Hook elementary, only 27 years-old, shielded her students from the gunman to save her students’ lives. Had it not been for the bravery of this school-teacher, the number of victims in the tragic school shooting may have been even higher than the reported 27 deaths of the community. Soto’s selflessness and courageousness should be remembered as she remained a brave hero that day.



Gabby Douglas

Millions of people worldwide watched this mere 16-year-old rule the Olympic games this past summer. Gabby may be the youngest on this list of incredible women, but she has already accomplished a great deal thus far. At age 6, Gabby began formal gymnastics training and by the time she turned 8 years old, she won a state championship. With a mind full of dreams, Gabby began training for the 2012 Olympics when girls her age would come home from school to play with their Barbie’s. Years of training and dedication paid off when Gabby became the first African American to win a gold medal in the all-around event, as well as another gold medal with her teammates.



Anne Hathaway

Breaking the mold from reckless celebrities getting into trouble all year, Anne Hathaway remains a stunning actress for women to look up to. Hathaway had a memorable year, starring as Catwoman earlier this year, Hathaway inspired one of the most popular Halloween costume ideas of the year, and will be appearing in what seems may be another popular film, Les Misérables, coming to theaters on Christmas Day. Hathaway also tied the knot with Adam Shulman in September. While she’s not behind the big screen preparing for her next powerful role, she’s constantly helping charities each year, this year being St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The American-Cancer Society, among others.




Aung San Suu Kyi

So few people can recall this woman’s remarkable accomplishments over the past several years. To sum it up, Aung San Suu Kyi has been a symbol of democracy for her country of Burma. She has been able to keep the military government, which has been ruling the country from having absolute power. Not only has Aung San Suu Kyi been striving to keep peace, she has been doing it all while being under house arrest for a collective 15 years. This past September, the Congressional Gold Medal was presented to this incredible woman, which is the highest civilian honor in the our country. 



Jill Abramson

In only a single year, Jill Abramson has turned the New York Times around as the first female executive editor in 160 years. Obtaining that position as a woman is already enough of a reason to applaud her. Abramson has high goals for the renowned publication, which can be spotted at most newsstands across the country. To keep up with the online presence of news coverage, Abramson spearheaded the project. Due to the digital makeover, NYTimes.com now has over 1.5 million paid subscribers and draws more than 40 million visitors worldwide every single month.




The music industry would not be the same without this singer-songwriter, especially in 2012. This past year if you were to turn on the radio, then you would  most likely be listening to one of Adele’s songs by the time you reached your destination. Her songs are such earworms that it’s no surprise Adele won 6 Grammy Awards back in February, including the biggest award of all—Album of the Year. She won the most Grammy Awards by a female artist in a single night. Not only is her music an inspiration to women everywhere, but so is her stance on body image. Back in 2011, Adele was (and still is) pressured for her fluctuating weight by the media. She simply responded by saying, “I make music for ears, not eyes”. Preach it, Adele.



Tahmina Kohistani 

While women in America have come a long way, we’re beginning to see inspiring changes for women in other countries as well. At this years’ 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Afghani runner Tahmina Kohistani, just 23 years-old, made it to the Olympic games as the only female representing her country. Kohistani even wore a hijab while competing, out of respect. For a country which does not have equal rights for women, Kohistani had to overcome the negative comments those in her country made to her regarding her participation and training for the Olympics to show other women in Afghanistan that change is possible.



Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge is among the most put together people in the spotlight worldwide. Not only is she herself an incredibly classy individual, but so is her impeccable style. Aside from her involvement with the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, Kate Middleton has become quite the global style icon this past year during which she has been dubbed the world’s best-dressed woman. We could not agree more considering the Duchess refuses to hire a personal stylist and yet, there is not a single major women’s magazine that has not featured her style in 2012. While Kate continues to inspire us with her charm and wardrobe, we can only dream to take a peek inside that closet of hers.



Taylor Swift

As women, we have all had our hearts broken at least once. And so has Taylor Swift. But rather than cry about it, Swift sang about it, in her most popular album released,Red. Within the first week of her albums’ release,Red, sold 1.208 million copies, making it the highest number of albums sold in a week since 2002. We think she proves there is no sweeter revenge than your own success!


Photo Sources:

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