This year marks the centenary of famous Suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison's tragic death at the Epsom races. This event and the work of the Suffragette movement have made me stop to think about how far we women have come in the last 100 years and how much more there is to be done to help the next generation achieve success.
So who are the fierce and fabulous women of today? I compiled a list of my top ten women, on the basis that they had to be still living, role models and successful in their own right.
1. Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She is the first woman in Germany to hold this office. She has a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level, and has been referred to as "the decider." Currently ranked as the world's second most powerful person by Forbes magazine, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is a polemical figure unafraid of controversy. Her recent decision to go public about her double mastectomy won her both praise and criticism, but has focused the public's attention on Breast Cancer screening.
Angelina makes my list for using her fame to promote humanitarian causes. In 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century and greatest black philanthropist. Her story is a real rags to riches story, being born into poverty to a teenage single mother. She landed a role as a talk show host, going on to launch her own production company. It seemed that whatever Oprah touched turned to gold. However, her new venture, 'Oprah Winfrey Network' (OWN), is stumbling as it's reportedly making losses approaching $330 million. Last month in New York, before an audience of media executives, Oprah told them "I am in the climb of my life".
4. Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde makes my list, as she is the first female head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Her appointment, in June 2011, comes amidst the European sovereign debt crisis. She has already courted controversy with her remarks about crisis stricken Greece and her subsequent Facebook post, "As I have said many times before, I am very sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing"; she received Over 10,000 comments, many of them obscene.
5. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington launched the Pulitzer Prize winning Huffington Post in 2005. In 2009 she was ranked 12 in Forbes' first-ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media. In 2011, AOL acquired The Huffington Post for US$315million and made her president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.
6. Dame Clara Furse DBE
Dame Clara broke the glass ceiling when she was appointed CEO of the London Stock Exchange between 2001 and May 2009. Dame Clara has just been appointed to the new financial watchdog, the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequor, which has ruffled a few feathers in Westminster.
7. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook and has proved it is possible to make it to the top of the corporate ladder. Her recent book Lean In, aims to arm women with the tools and guidance they need to keep moving forward in the work place. The book's release is coupled with the launch of www.LeanIn.org, a nonprofit that will receive all of the book's proceeds.
8. Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard was elected Australia's first female prime minister on 24 June 2010. She caught the world's attention when she blasted her opponent Tony Abbott with the now famous line "If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror."
9. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez or J Lo is the highest earning Latin American actress. Jennifer has achieved record sales of 75million and a cumulative film gross of over $2billion. She has used her position as a global pop icon to begin her own cosmetics, clothing and entertainment empire. She is opening 15 cell phone stores with bi-lingual staffers starting this month to cater to the Hispanic market.
Adele makes my list as a role model for young women: she proves that you don't have to strip off in music videos and men's magazines in order to be a successful singer. Her album 21 is the longest running number one by a female solo artist on the UK and US albums chart. Plus she's just been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to music.