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Thursday is International Women's Day, and GlobalPost is kicking off the celebration with tributes to 10 larger-than-life women.
1.) Cecile Richards — president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: An advocate for women's rights, reproductive health and sex education, Richards became president of Planned Parenthood in 2006 following her position as deputy chief of staff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2010, she won the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship and was featured on TIME magazine's 2011 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
2.) Abigail Disney — filmmaker and philanthropist: This granddaughter of Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy Disney began her filmmaking career in 2008 with the production of the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a film documenting the non-violent peace movement Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. She is the co-founder and co-president of the Daphne Foundation, a project aiming to confront causes and consequences of poverty in New York City.
3.) Dana Priest — journalist: A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, this investigative reporter for the Washington Post helped to uncover high profile scandals from secret CIA interrogation sites and prisons across the world to the deterorating conditions of the Walter Reed Hospital. In 2011, Priest co-authored Top Secret America, a report documenting the national security buildup prior to the 9/11 attacks.
4.) Park Geun-Hye — South Korean politician: This head of the South Korean conservative Grand National Party is favored to be the next elected president of South Korea, making her the first female in such a position. Geun-Hye was born to former South Korean President Park Chung-hee before he was assassinated by his own intelligence chief in 1979.
5.) Elizabeth Warren — policy advocate: As former chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Committee from 2008-2010, Warren monitored the effects of the government bailout programs of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. She helped to establish the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2011 and is a Democratic contender in the 2012 Massachusetts Senate election.
6.) Viviane Reding — EU Justice commissioner: Reding is an outspoken advocate for the increase of women on company boards. A former writer for the Luxembourger Wort, she was president of the Luxembourg Union of Journalists before she was appointed the European Commissioner of for Education and Culture in 1999.
7.) Marie Colvin — journalist: The late award-winning journalist for Britain's The Sunday Times was killed during her coverage of the Syrian uprisings when the building she occupied was shelled by the Syrian Army in February 2012. Colvin covered conflicts of war throughout her career and was granted the first international interview after the Libyan uprising began with Muammar Gaddafi.
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8.) Michelle Bachelet — head of U.N. Women: The current head of U.N. Women, Bachelet served as Chile's first female president from 2006-2010. A real Jill-of-all-trades, she is respected pediatrician and epidemiologist with training in military strategies.
9.) Manal al-Sharif — activist: This Saudi Arabian women's rights advocate created quite the controversial buzz in her home country when she uploaded a video of herself driving, an act forbidden by the Saudia Arabian government, igniting the Facebook campaign Women2Drive. Al-Sharif has been detained and released twice for the matter and is currently working on a project to collect donations for the release of female domestic workers in Saudi Arabian prisons.
10.) Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — filmmaker: Her documentary Saving Face, a film chronicling victims of acid attackers in Pakistan, made her the first Pakistani Oscar winner. The 34-year-old Karachi native was also the first non-American to win the coveted Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2004.