Time Names 100 Historical ‘Women of the Year,’ Including Oprah, Frida Kahlo and Madonna

“We… wanted to acknowledge the women that history hasn’t always recognized or looked at,” editor Kelly Conniff told TheWrap

Time Women of the Year
Time Magazine

The Time “Person of the Year” used to be the “Man of the Year,” and while there have been women featured since the 1999 shift — the most recent recipient was climate activist Greta Thunberg — the magazine now wants to highlight 100 “Women of the Year” who shaped history, even when they weren’t being honored for it contemporaneously.

Thursday, Time rolled out its “100 Women of the Year,” a project that gives a unique cover to each honoree and, like “Person of the Year,” grants them a write-up from some of the most notable modern contributors. For instance, Natalie Portman penned the profile of 1962’s honoree, Jacqueline Kennedy and Olivia Wilde wrote about 1992’s Sinead O’Connor. A special print edition of the magazine features a pull-out poster with all 100 new covers, which also live online along with the essays.

“We looked back in history and wanted to acknowledge the women that history hasn’t always recognized or looked at,” editor Kelly Conniff told TheWrap prior to the announcement of the list. She attributed that lack of recognition to “the way the world worked” for so long, but noted her team’s goal has been “to kind of celebrate, acknowledge and recognize and find the women that deserve to have their moment on the cover of Time.”

“We decided to do an original cover for every single woman who had not been honored as a ‘Person of the Year’ previously,” added senior editor Emma Barker. “We started in 1920 going up through 2019 … We have 100 covers, all featuring these women, and they’re designed to fit the era of the year they were featured. All the ’20s are charcoal drawings, like they really were in the ’20s, like the old-time covers. They go through the design theme of each era.”

The project was conceived with filmmaker Alma Har’el while the honorees were selected by Time editors along with with Har’el  and a committee of influential women across different fields, including Katie Couric, Soledad O’Brien, Lena Waithe, MJ Rodriguez, Elaine Welteroth, Amanda Nguyen, Zazie Beet  and former editor in chief of Time Nancy Gibbs.

Here’s the full list of honorees:


1920 The Suffragists
1921 Emmy Noether
1922 Xiang Jingyu
1923 Bessie Smith
1924 Coco Chanel
1925 Margaret Sanger
1926 Aimee Semple McPherson
1927 Queen Soraya Tarzi
1928 Anna May Wong
1929 Virginia Woolf
1930 Martha Graham
1931 Maria Montessori
1932 Babe Didrikson
1933 Frances Perkins
1934 Mary McLeod Bethune
1935 Amelia Earhart
1936 Wallis Simpson
1937 Soong Mei-ling
1938 Frida Kahlo
1939 Billie Holiday
1940 Dorothea Lange
1941 Jane Fawcett and the Codebreakers
1942 The Resisters
1943 Virginia Hall
1944 Recy Taylor
1945 Chien-Shiung Wu
1946 Eva Perón
1947 Amrit Kaur
1948 Eleanor Roosevelt
1949 Simone de Beauvoir
1950 Margaret Chase Smith
1951 Lucille Ball
1952 Queen Elizabeth II
1953 Rosalind Franklin
1954 Marilyn Monroe
1955 The Bus Riders
1956 Golda Meir
1957 Irna Phillips
1958 China Machado
1959 Grace Hopper
1960 The Mirabal Sisters
1961 Rita Moreno
1962 Jacqueline Kennedy
1963 Rachel Carson
1964 Barbara Gittings
1965 Dolores Huerta
1966 Stephanie Kwolek
1967 Zenzile Miriam Makeba
1968 Aretha Franklin
1969 Marsha P. Johnson
1970 Gloria Steinem
1971 Angela Davis
1972 Patsy Takemoto Mink
1973 Jane Roe
1974 Lindy Boggs
1975 American Women
1976 Indira Gandhi
1977 Judith Heumann
1978 Lesley Brown
1979 Tu Youyou
1980 Anna Walentynowicz
1981 Nawal El Saadawi
1982 Margaret Thatcher
1983 Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
1984 bell hooks
1985 Wilma Mankiller
1986 Corazon Aquino
1987 Diana, Princess of Wales
1988 Florence Griffith Joyner
1989 Madonna
1990 Aung San Suu Kyi
1991 Anita Hill
1992 Sinead O’Connor
1993 Toni Morrison
1994 Joycelyn Elders
1995 Sadako Ogata
1996 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1997 Ellen DeGeneres
1998 J.K. Rowling
1999 Madeleine Albright
2000 Sandra Day O’Connor
2001 Wangari Maathai
2002 The Whistleblowers
2003 Serena Williams
2004 Oprah Winfrey
2005 Melinda Gates
2006 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
2007 Lilly Ledbetter
2008 Michelle Obama
2009 Malala Yousafzai
2010 Nancy Pelosi
2011 Tawakkol Karman
2012 Pussy Riot
2013 Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi
2014 Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
2015 Angela Merkel
2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton
2017 The Silence Breakers
2018 Maria Ressa
2019 Greta Thunberg