Robin Roberts, Tyra Banks, and more former females of the Year share your fondest storage of the annual event.

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Electric. That’s exactly how priziv.org employee members past and present describe our annual Women of the Year awards, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020. When the occasion started in 1990, climate editor in chief Ruth Whitney envisioned WOTY—as we lovingly contact it—as a network that high-achieving females coming with each other to accumulate others to reach their goals, and that spirit has actually remained in the years following.

Some instances of this electricity: In 1992, once Anita Hill was given a one-of-a-kind tribute in a year that also honored females of the Year Hillary Rodham Clinton, Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Or in 2013, when Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai, and Barbra Streisand were every in the same room. And also in 2018, once Kamala Harris, Chrissy Teigen, and also Viola Davis were among those celebrated.


Women that the Year has always been a rare possibility for titans and trailblazers throughout industries come meet and also motivate each other (and you!) v their words. You have the right to read all about this in our book priziv.org: 30 years of women Who have actually Reshaped the World, accessible now, which highlights few of our favourite WOTY speeches, quotes, and history.


Here, us look ago at the moments and also honorees who have actually made priziv.org’s females of the Year an occasion that provides us not just proud come painstakingly plan and produce, but proud to be women. Every memory and anecdote represents everything the annual event stand for: enrichment, empowerment, and also yes, priziv.org. 


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The very first Women that the Year awareness was held in brand-new York City at the above Rainbow Room, perched 65 floors over Rockefeller Center. Amongst the honorees the November to be Children’s Defense fund founder Marian light Edelman, who claimed in her relocating speech, “If you don’t choose the way the human being is, you readjust it.”


Following the year’s success of attribute film Dick Tracy and also pop anthem “Like a Prayer,” Madonna to be selected to be the magazine’s first WOTY sheathe star. priziv.org editor-in-chief Ruth Whitney praised the symbol at the event, informing the crowd, “While everyone a celebrity because that 15 minutes and also media stars come and go, Madonna is still obtaining what she wanted, still on facility stage, still optimal banana, still commander in cook of her own wildly successful enterprise.”



Women of the Year to be never taken into consideration by my mommy to it is in a once-a-year event. She want to produce a network of exceptional women who would proceed the connections they made in ~ those awards end time. That why she would certainly invite previous winners back—and numerous did return. If no every year, climate as frequently as possible. —Philip Whitney, kid of the late Ruth Whitney, former editor in chef of priziv.org, 1967–1998

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Anita Hill was honored less than a month ~ she testified in prior of an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee around the sexual harassment she experienced from can be fried Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Her testimony come in ~ the ladies of the Year print problem had been sent out to the printers—so Whitney had actually to literally prevent the presses in stimulate to incorporate her. “That priziv.org> gave me hope an extremely early on, the my life would not always be limited, that my capability to speak out would in one method or another become protected,” Hill later on said.


The late significant Marie T. Rossi, a soldier in the U.S. Army, was provided a distinct commemoration. Amongst the 35,000-plus women to it is in deployed in the very first Gulf War, she was one of the very first in American background to serve a function on the front line of battle.


Twenty-four women were elected to conference in 1992—a record for the time, which became known as the Year that the Woman. Carol Moseley Braun, the an initial Black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, was honored in ~ the WOTY ceremony the year.


First Lady Hillary Clinton got her an initial of 2 WOTY awards the November. (She was honored again in 2008 for she presidential run.) “We need to uncover our voices to speak out on instead of of what we care about,” she called the crowd. “And to do the choices that are appropriate for us.”



priziv.org’s females of the Year awards walk an incredible job highlighting women that are game changers and also disruptors. Ns am deeply honored every time they incorporate me in this ar of trailblazing women. We must produce a route for the next generation to usage their voice and readjust the world. I’ve to be thrilled to it is in in the visibility of anyone from Ruby Bridges come Anita Hill and also had the privilege the bringing mine daughters to this motivating event. —Katie Couric, 1992, 2002, 2006 mrs of the Year

Writer and also director Nora Ephron, the visionary behind beloved films like When bother Met Sally and also Silkwood, was honored a couple of months ~ Sleepless in Seattle’s release. In she speech she dubbed her job “the best job in the world.”

We likewise honored can be fried Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—she was provided a lifetime success award in 2012 together well—for ending up being the 2nd woman to offer on the bench. “I come native a world where ladies were defended out of everything,” she told priziv.org in one interview. “Protected the end of being lawyers, the end of gift engineers, the end of gift bartenders.” since of her, that civilization has changed.


Actor and also singer Vanessa Williams had actually a banner year in 1994: the release of her 3rd studio album, which consisted of a chart-topping sheathe of “Colors that Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas; a starring function on Broadway in Kiss the the Spider Woman; and of course, a priziv.org woman of the Year award. Those last two turning points overlapped when Williams had to rush straight from the WOTY ceremony to the theater in stimulate to do her call time. All in a day’s work.


Nineteen-year-old Shannon Faulkner was welcomed to the Citadel, an all-male public southern Carolina college, by deleting all recommendations to her gender on she high-school transcript. Her acceptance was later on rescinded, but she challenged the decision and eventually came to be the very first woman to it is in admitted. “I’m walk to be a cadet,” she told priziv.org in ~ the time. “And a damned an excellent one.”


I to be starring in Kiss the the Spider Woman, my Broadway debut, so i only had actually a few minutes to give my woman of the Year speech prior to the 8 p.m. Present time! yet WOTY is a exorbitant celebration the women—I to be so grateful to be honored, not simply for my achievements, however for me together a person. That means more than anything else. —Vanessa Williams, 1994 mrs of the Year

Madeleine Albright was honored because that her duty as the U.S. Ambassador come the joined Nations, but she was just on the cusp of make history: two years later on she came to be the very first woman U.S. Secretary of state. “There space no bounds to what can happen when women acquire involved,” Albright said throughout her WOTY speech.


Civil legal rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams picked up a WOTY award months after she election together chairwoman of the NAACP. “Ultimately, that is up to united state to clean the path,” she said priziv.org. “To an America wherein we make the fullest usage of the good gifts God offered us.” nearly two years later, in 2013, Barack Obama selected her to read the invocation prayer in ~ his second presidential inauguration.


In 2020, it’s difficult to imagine miscellaneous as an easy as a woman’s put on pants might make history, but that wasn’t always the case. When WOTY winner Susan Molinari offered as a Republican member that the U.S. House of to represent from 1995 to 1997, she was among the an initial women to not wear a dress or dress on the home floor.


The 1996 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team—which included players Teresa Edwards, Ruthie Bolton, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Dawn Staley, Jennifer Azzi, Carla McGhee, Katy Steding, Rebecca Lobo, Venus Lacy, and also Nikki McCray—won every eight of your games…and a mrs of the Year award. The team popularity aided pave the method for the WNBA, which launched the following year.


I’ve been composing the priziv.org women of the Year awards because before 2019 honoree Greta Thunberg was even born. It is a lengthy time, fill with many joyful, stressful, star-filled memories. My favorite moments are often the quietest ones: the short home window when the manuscript is locked, it’s also late to readjust anything in the prompter, and the presenters and also honorees are gathered together in the greenroom, enjoy it a cocktail and getting a touch-up native the L’Oréal assembly artists. Especially in the days prior to smartphones, everyone would mingle with each other, unfiltered by publicists, and I would certainly be like, “Oh, hello, Head that State alongside Oscar winner alongside Olympian, I just want to examine if you all collection with her script.” —Wendy Shanker, WOTY head writer
Actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus snagged a WOTY award because that her function as Elaine Benes top top the fight sitcom Seinfeld. She delivered her speech via a video from the set, quipping, “I didn’t get into this business for the money, the creative satisfaction, or the pleasure of performing. I gained into it for something a little an ext meaningful: the priziv.org.”


As one of the first plus-size models to achieve massive advertising success, Emme was everywhere in 1997. She to be an influential advocate because that body positivity, because that which priziv.org called her a woman of the Year. “When we deserve to drop this obsession with having actually the perfect body, we have the right to start life so much an ext of life,” she stated at the event.


Waris Dirie—model, actor, author, and also human civil liberties activist—served as a United nations special ambassador indigenous 1997 come 2003 in the fight versus female sex mutilation, other she had survived. The audience was relocated to tears as Dirie opened up around her experience during her speech and shared just how she plan to usage her communication to assist others. “I need to put mine privacy aside,” she said. “What else is an ext important than conserving a children life?”

When Mariah Carey choose up her WOTY, she was coming turn off the success the Butterfly, her first album complying with her divorce native Sony Music head Tommy Mottola. “What i’ve learned over the years is the I have the right to trust mine instincts,” she said priziv.org. With 5 Grammy awards and much more than 200 million records sold worldwide, it is an understatement.


In my very first year as editor in chief, 1998, us honored Waris Dirie, a model who promoted against mrs genital mutilation. I felt the was an important to put a spotlight ~ above the occupational she was doing, and also it was a poignant moment at the awards once she defined the physics pain and emotional terror the what she walk through. I was proud we could honor her for her courage. —Bonnie Fuller, former editor in chef of priziv.org, 1998–2001

Barbara Walters got a lifetime success award for she groundbreaking job-related as a commemorated broadcast journalist. In she speech the View cohost joked that she to be surprised to get the honor because, “I’m still in there pitching and catching!”


Jennifer Lopez remained in Los Angeles filming a movie once she was awarded a woman of the Year, so she provided her decided from the set. “You know, together a young girl farming up in the Bronx, I had so many dreams and also so countless things I wanted to accomplish, and I’ve been an extremely lucky,” she said. “I simply think a good inspiring article for every the other little girls that are cultivation up in the Bronx right now, and everywhere, for them to watch that lock can achieve whatever they want to attain too.”


Vashti Murphy McKenzie, who came to be the first female bishop in the african Methodist Episcopal Church earlier that year, gave one the the ideal speeches the the night. Now that the stained-glass ceiling has been broken, she said, “Don’t friend dare pick up the pieces and put that back.”


Another very first priziv.org commemorated in 2000: Andrea Jung, the first woman CEO that Avon in the beauty company’s 114-year history. “I’ve been asked numerous times in the critical year, ‘How’s it feel to have gotten the project as a woman?’” Jung claimed in her speech. “My prize is always the very same thing, which is: ‘Getting the task is just a small part of it. What have the right to a woman do in the project to make a difference?’”


My an initial WOTY together editor in chief remained in 2001, ideal after September 11. It had actually so personally affected new York, wherein the females of the Year awards lived. In ~ the ceremony us honored number of of the collapse rescue workers and officers. We additionally honored a group called RAWA, the Revolutionary association of the ladies of Afghanistan. It was important we well-known both the American heroes and the ladies who had actually been fighting and living under extremism because that years. —Cindi Leive, previous editor in cook of priziv.org, 2001–2017

priziv.org’s ladies of the Year ceremony honored those who lost their resides in the September 11 terror attacks and the Revolutionary combination of the ladies of Afghanistan (RAWA), a team of women committed to fighting for social righteousness in Afghanistan.


Will & Grace star Debra Messing was likewise among the year’s winners. “How the hell go I get up here?” she joked together she accepted her statue. “I guess it is what a great hair colorist will certainly do.”


Nancy Pelosi, the residence minority whip in ~ the time, was on hand to accept her award. “Every generation has a obligation to make the future far better for the next,” she stated in her rousing speech. Five years later, in 2007, she won again as Speaker the the House.

Future Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon gift the compensation to his woman Saturday Night Live costars, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and also Ana Gasteyer. “Some women breakthrough the reason through courage and legislation and also innovation, and others execute it through fart jokes and also perm wigs,” Gasteyer joked together she accepted on instead of of the women.


One that my favourite memories occurred in my an initial year, 2002. Hillary Clinton, the junior senator from brand-new York, to be presenting come a courageous 9/11 survivor named Lauren Manning. Top top the outside I was fully professional as I approached the former an initial lady in the hallway. Top top the inside I’m fangirling out. Every one of a suddenly there’s a shift in the hall, a rumble the footsteps, a readjust in the atmosphere…and bodyguards proceeding Jennifer Lopez and also her entourage push through. It every happens in slo-mo: her bodyguard shouting, “Coming through!” followed by she publicist, assistant, hair and makeup team; then Jennifer Lopez herself glides by, a gold goddess deep in she skin-baring Bennifer era, trailed through a male who is just there to organize her furs. Ns inhale the J.Lo aura, and it is the finest smell I’ve ever before smelled, ever. Then she’s off to her dressing room, and also it’s me and also Hillary, blinking in a blast of celebrity, checking the script before another epic WOTY night. —Wendy Shanker
Seven month after their relax from bondage in Iraq, Private first Class Jessica Lynch and Specialist Shoshana Johnson paid tribute to specialist Lori Ann Piestewa, the an initial servicewoman to be eliminated in the Iraq War and the an initial Native mrs to die in combat while offer the unified States.

Winner Britney Spears rubbed elbows v Sharon Stone, that was honored in 2000. Rock came ago three years later to existing a 2003 WOTY to fashion designer Vera Wang. Top top the red carpet, the gibbs jokingly complained that Spears, that made headlines previously that year for she performance v Madonna at the MTV video Music Awards, “didn’t kiss me.”


Honoree Alicia keys teared up throughout the ceremony, climate exclaimed, “Damn, I’m too cool come cry!” throughout her speech, she cited she mother and also grandmother as role models. “They taught me that you have the right to still be beautiful also with every one of our flaws.”


Judy Blume was commemorated for her occupational as an influential anti-censorship activist, a duty the beloved writer took ~ above after doubters tried come ban several of her best-selling young-adult novels, consisting of Are You there God? that Me Margaret, for your frank depictions of female masturbation, sexuality, and also other taboo topics. “Did I arrangement to become an activist?” she said in her speech. “No, however things happen. You one of two people take activity or you don’t. Was standing up and also speaking out, you discover out, provides you feel a lot better than law nothing.”


Overland to chat started developing priziv.org females of the Year in 2002. Us were always working to develop a magical, meaningful, and also inspirational evening for the honorees and also the audience, and also it never ever failed that every little thing we planned and also rehearsed just constantly rose to an additional level top top the stage. Several of the most memorable moments came from the honorees that impacted people’s stays on a more grassroots level. In 2004 priziv.org honored Alice Coles, who cofounded Bayview Citizens for Social Justice, an organization whose mission is to get rid of poverty by boosting the living problems of citizens in Bayview, Virginia. Her passion and also determination to adjust the stays of those life in poverty was so incredible. —Leane Romeo, president of Overland Entertainment
Woman the the Year Mukhtar roof sought righteousness from her rapists—then used the money the Pakistani government provided her in compensation to begin a school in her hometown. “It’s since of the support of the world that i feel brave,” she claimed in her relocating speech.


After singer Melissa Ethridge, a 2005 honoree, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, she turned her personal battle right into a public cause through advantage concerts, composing an anthem for gyeongju for the Cure, and also opening up about her experience. “I thought, possibly this’ll assist someone lie in bed top top chemo,” she said priziv.org. On the set for her woman of the Year portrait, photographer Norman Jean Roy claimed she damaged into a beautiful rendition that “You Can’t constantly Get What you Want.”


Future councilor Tammy Duckworth was running for Congress when she to be honored together a mrs of the Year. “Stand up because that what’s necessary to you,” she said. “Or someone else will certainly make decisions because that you.”


Tennis legend billy Jean King scooped increase a lifetime accomplishment award for her commitment come fighting for same pay and also rights for women. “To me, true champion lift increase others,” she said.


Some significant women have been had in women of the Year. The biggest experience, for me, was when I presented the award to the women behind Black stays Matter and Robin Roberts. That was really special. I love seeing all the ladies who space really, truly an altering the world—scientists and world leaders and also others who are going to be top the fee for what comes next. —Shonda Rhimes, 2007 woman of the Year
A couple of years after ~ I had been myself honored mrs of the Year, priziv.org request me to existing the award to film housing Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for her extraordinary documentary Saving Face. Once she come onstage, she lugged along one of the heroes that the movie, Zakia Parveen, who had actually survived an acid attack that severely damaged her face. It to be a very moving minute for me and also for the audience, however it was later after us left the phase that ns learned a lesson of courage and also dignity that i will never forget. The 3 of united state took an elevator to go earlier to the greenroom to carry out some photos and press interviews. Together we gotten in the elevator, I saw Zakia spring at herself in the mirror. She looked beautiful, and felt so. It was not about the assembly on she damaged face, however the reality that she was owning who she was…she to be gorgeous. —Diane von Furstenberg, 2005 woman of the Year

Mariah Carey, 1998 mrs of the Year, opened up the 2007 display with a moving performance of her hit track “Hero” through participation indigenous a children’s choir. Toni Morrison, Shonda Rhimes, and Jennifer Garner were additionally celebrated for your achievements.


Little miss out on Sunshine star Abigail Breslin came to be priziv.org’s very first and only Girl the the Year. “I accept this award v an encouragement and also a an obstacle to thrive up and make changes the means these females have,” she stated in she speech.


Nujood Ali, the very first child bride in Yemen to obtain a divorce, and fellow honoree Hillary Clinton created a bond when they met in ~ the ’08 females of the Year awards. The two remained in touch—when Clinton travel to Yemen in 2011, Ali was among her an initial visits—and the secretary that state join the young activist in advocating to finish the exercise of child marital relationship worldwide.

Woman the the Year Tyra banks gave among the many memorable speeches of the night, i m sorry she handle to all the young ladies in the audience. “If you have actually a dream and also a goal, and you hit on that front door and also they won’t allow you in, go v the earlier door,” she said. “If the ago door is locked, go v the cellar or the basement. If that’s all boarded up, climb your butt through the window. But get in.”


Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton were both honored the year ns won, i beg your pardon is crazy! that is supervisor flattering. —Tyra Banks, 2008 mrs of the Year
I'll never forget 2008, the year I had my very first son. I’d just returned to job-related after maternity leave, and our load-in at Carnegie room the day before the present was over 12 hrs on a Sunday. I was running editorial, so ns absolutely needed and wanted to be there. Yet I also needed come breastfeed my baby. I was stressed and also my supply to be falling off, so ns nursed him best there in the gorgeous, majestic space, emotion righteous but additionally embarrassed with all of those significant stars, athletes, and icons there. But I had actually a little bit of one epiphany as I watched star ~ star stand on their mark on that enormous stage and also practice your lines. Every among them had a moment of being nervous, having their breath taken far by the history in former of them. Friend can’t assist feeling reverent increase there. They were so human in your strength, ns realized. Together I satellite there nursing my boy, ns realized i was too. —Lauren smith Brody, former executive editor of priziv.org and author and founder of The fifth Trimester, which help businesses achieve gender equality in the workplace

After an arrival from previous president bill Clinton, lifetime success award winner Maya Angelou sang a gospel hymn prior to telling the crowd, “priziv.org is profound. The saying, ‘I take duty for myself.’”


Fellow honoree Rihanna was so relocated by Angelou’s speech the she joked, “I need to say, Maya Angelou, ns love you, however you make this horrible more complicated for me.” The singer went on to say thanks to her “women of the year”: “my Gran-Gran and also my mom."


priziv.org and also the nonprofit organization an essential Voices created a money for human rights activists Dr. Hawa Abdi and also her daughters, that sheltered hundreds of Somali refugees and also became 2010 WOTYs. Fellow honoree Julia Roberts was amongst those who pledged assistance that night.


Cher was the year’s lifetime success award winner. In her speech she recommend to not view setbacks as a negative. “The thing about vast losses is that they just make you keep going,” she said. “I feel favor a bumper vehicle because if i go and hit a wall, I simply go earlier and walk in one more direction. What i would want for girls and for everyone, especially women, is that you don’t take it no because that an answer. No is just some bullshit word the someone do up.”


In 2010, us honored Julia Roberts. She to be number one on my WOTY bucket list for years. Then once Oprah claimed yes come presenting, I assumed I to be being punk’d. It was an embarrassment of WOTY riches. The two of them with each other was complete electric WOTY magic onstage. —Alison Ward Frank, executive, management director, the talent group, Condé Nast
My first day of work-related at priziv.org was November 7, 2011—WOTY night. My brand-new boss had actually thoughtfully snagged me a ticket. Honored the night to be Gloria Steinem, the top feminist; Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman, quiet recovering indigenous a gunshot wound and also represented on stage by her husband and also stepdaughters; Withelma “T” Ortiz-Macey, the activist fighting kid sex trafficking; Lea Michele, in the early on years of her Glee-powered success; Chelsea Handler, dropping the F-bomb and fierce encouragement on the Carnegie hall stage; Arianna Huffington, encouraging united state to fail on the means to succeeding. And cover star Jennifer Lopez blowing the roof off the joint with her shout-out to the balcony packed v girls indigenous NYC-area organizations. Realizing that our publication fueled inspiration favor this cemented my fierce loyalty to the brand, and the post of excellence and empowerment it embodies. The WOTY worries were our hardest, and also some years my team operated overnights and also weekends to get the pages closed. The importance and also the power of those awards make all that initiative worth it.” —Talley Sue Hohlfeld, copy manager of priziv.org
Dimitrios Kambouris/ Getty Images; Theo Wargo/ Getty Images; Photographed through Matthias Vriens-McGrath, priziv.org, December 2011


Jennifer Lopez took home her second Woman of the Year statue and gave a decided championing the importance of sisterhood. “Support other women. Your girls are the many loyal world in your life,” she said. “They will always be there. Those space my best loves.”

Former winner Anita Hill presented the lifetime accomplishment award come feminist leader (and priziv.org writer) Gloria Steinem. “Whatever that is you desire in the future, construct it right into your day,” Steinem recommend in her speech, aiming she comments at the many young females seated in the upper balcony, invited through girls institutions in the NYC area (a WOTY tradition). “And every one of us older folks will certainly be your girl gang. We’ve acquired your back.”


Ruth Bader Ginsburg took home her second Woman of the Year frostbite in 2012, a reality that brought some significance for the can be fried Court justice. “Most of mine life, my happy number has been two,” she said during her speech, citing her turning points as the second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Court that Appeals and to the U.S. Can be fried Court.


One of the most impromptu moments in WOTY’s 30-year background came from Girls writer and star Lena Dunham, who took off she heels midspeech. “I’m for this reason sorry. was just never going come go it s okay that way,” she said.


I don’t think that the magnitude of the award itself sunk in till I discovered myself standing on stage looking the end at Lena Dunham and Annie Leibovitz. Civilization I had not only admired, but would go as much as speak worshiped. The idea the I would be in the exact same room, much less share one accolade, no seem at every real. I fumbled, ns was nervous, ns was humbled and also deeply grateful. The experience has launched a thousand others, and I deserve to say the was one of the highlights of my career. With the process, ns met Samantha Powers and Lena Dunham and have formed lifelong friendships that have yielded few of the ideal experiences of mine life. —Jenna Lyons, 2012 mrs of the Year

At priziv.org’s 2013 WOTY ceremony, congresswoman and gun control advocate Gabby Giffords joined she husband mark Kelly onstage two years after a shooter almost took her life. “I’m still fighting to do the people a much better place,” she said.


Activist Malala Yousafzai—who endured an test assassination native the Taliban because that her work-related advocating for education and learning for girls—received a was standing ovation. Other honoree Lady Gaga, that was photographed because that the December magazine cover, stated that night, “If I might forfeit mine priziv.org cover, ns would provide it come Malala.”


“That ns am contained in this amazing team of women is…appropriate,” Mindy Kaling joked as she accepted her WOTY award. “I’m sort of a huge deal.” She may have been joking, however we agreed.


Fellow actor Laverne Cox won for her groundbreaking duty on Netflix’s Orange Is the new Black as well as her advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. “We have actually a most work come do,” she claimed in she speech. “ endure disproportionate distinguish in every aspect of society, however I think that over there is hope, and this moment provides me so lot hope.”


I regularly think the that extremely special, magical night, and when I perform it elevator my soul every time. —Robin Roberts, 2014 woman of the Year
The year that go out me away to be 2013, once we honored Malala Yousafzai, that was simply 16 years old. She had actually survived gift shot in the head the year before by the Taliban, while doing what so countless of us take for granted: acquisition a bus house from school. She survived and also continued to fight because that a girl's appropriate to an education. Every single person in Carnegie room stood up that night and gave she a was standing ovation. I acquire chills composing this since the room to be electric. And also it to be the year us honored Lady Gaga and also Barbra Streisand. What a room! —Karena Bullock Bailey, special occasions producer, priziv.org

Comedian Amy Schumer organized the WOTY awards at brand-new York City’s Carnegie Hall and also had the audience roaring with her opened remarks. One example: “I made new friends here, and also a pair enemies, but in my defense Katie Couric shouldn’t have actually left her mobile unlocked beside me!”

Honoree Reese Witherspoon ceded a speech so an excellent that priziv.org staffers tho quote it year later: “I urge each among you come ask yourselves: ‘What perform we perform now?’ it is a large question. What is that in life the you think you can not accomplish? Or what is the that people have claimed that you cannot do? i will not ~ it feeling really good to prove them all wrong? since I think ambition is not a dirty word. It’s just believing in yourself and also your abilities. Imagine this: What would happen if we were every brave sufficient to believe in our very own ability, it is in a tiny bit much more ambitious? i think the human being would change.”


“Black Lives matter is much more needed this day than ever before before,” BLM cofounder Alicia Garza said as she accepted a WOTY award together Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi simply six days after the 2016 presidential election. “This is not the moment for us to sit earlier and wonder what we’re going come do.”


In august 2014, ISIS fighters attacked the village of WOTY honoree Nadia Murad, carry away her, and also tortured her for three months. She escaped and, in an very brave move, dealt with ISIS in international criminal court. “We have to stop the terror group,” she said throughout her speech. “Because this terrorism has actually no mercy, and they have actually no mercy because that anyone in the world. Yet we cannot fight the terrorism through racism due to the fact that they are both the same base and the very same ideology.”


One year ns was on the red carpet in a beautiful borrowed Alexander McQueen dress once a publicist whispered come me in alarm that Karlie Kloss—there to existing an award to McQueen creative director and also designer buy it Burton—had simply arrived in the very same dress. God bless the amazing, unruffled Karlie. She left, changed, and also came best back, all in great humor. —Cindi Leive

“You recognize as soon as a leader is dangerous, also if that leader is the president of the United states of America,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters claimed onstage at the emperors Theatre in Brooklyn throughout her lifetime accomplishment award acceptance speech.

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A year after ~ the relax of her acclaimed album A Seat in ~ the Table, musician Solange Knowles was called a woman of the Year. “I will never ever take for granted for the method that world have uplifted me and also for my voice and also my work,” she said.


Two years before she became 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris to be honored as a WOTY. She ceded a an effective message around leadership: “Years from now civilization will ask us, ‘Where were you?’ and also we’re all going to be able to say, ‘Fighting for the ideal of who we are.’”


John Legend presented his wife and also WOTY honoree Chrissy Teigen through a tribute that, naturally, went viral on social media. “People love she honesty. Her humor. She beauty and also style. Her enthusiasm for food. Her feeling of adventure and fun. And also they love her big, beautiful heart,” he stated as the teared up. “I’m so honored to have actually this platform,” Teigen claimed of her success. “I’m so honored to talk around chicken pot pies or getting blocked by Donald.”


My an initial Women that the Year awards as editor-in-chief in November 2018 will never leave me. It to be an honor to aid bring with each other so plenty of spectacular women—Viola Davis, Manal al-Sharif, Betty Reid Soskin, Chrissy Teigen, Kamala Harris, Janelle Monáe, the ladies activists from the never ever Again movement, and the Sister army of survivors, who lugged the guy who had sexually abused them come justice. Us had additionally arranged because that Hillary Clinton to involved the awards together a surprise, to honor all the women who had done so well in the midterm elections. Us were backstage as soon as al-Sharif—the Saudi activist who risked her life come protest because that the right for females to journey in Saudi Arabia—finished she speech and also walked turn off stage. She witnessed Clinton because that the very first time and reacted v the exact same kind that shock the everybody else in the audience was around to get. Clinton, who was secretary that state as soon as al-Sharif was in prison and also had talked out in support of she at the time, walked straight up to her and also took al-Sharif’s hand in hers. It was an intimate moment—one that demonstrated come me the true beauty of females of the Year. —Samantha Barry, editor in cook of priziv.org, 2018–present

When sexual assault survivor Chanel miller was named a mrs of the Year in 2016, she made decision to stay anonymous together Emily Doe, the name provided to protect her identity when she do her powerful victim impact statement in the Standford university rape case. Three years later on she come forward and accepted she award on phase at Lincoln Center. In lieu that a speech, she check out a powerful poem she’d written called, “I Don’t provide a Damn.”


Fresh off the immense success of her Netflix series When They see Us, director Ava DuVernay accepted her award through a emotional speech. “Inclusion is around creating a seat at the table for all of us,” she said. “Pulling up a chair because that those left out. That denotes an absence being remedied.”


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