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Top 20 inspirational women

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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day we asked you to tell us who you thought was the most inspirational woman of the last 100 years via our Facebook page and Twitter account. Having compiled the masses of suggestions we received, we've whittled it down you our top 20 which are featured in the gallery below.

Our competition to win Stylist Network event tickets is now closed, but you can still tell us which of the 20 women you think is the most inspirational of the last 100 years by leaving a comment below.

Click an image to open the gallery.

  • Oprah Winfrey

    American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist (1954- )

    Christine Lowe (via Facebook): "A woman of influence with great generosity, never ending empathy and energy when campaigning for the good of others."

  • Louise Bourgeois

    One of the world’s most respected artists and sculptors (1911-2010)

    Cerys Turner (@ceryscuriosity): “Louise Bourgeois is most inspiring woman of the last 100 years for unstoppable creativity, encouraging others and longevity.”

  • Queen Elizabeth II

    Queen of England (1926- )

    Rebecca Odedun (@rodedun): “The Queen – for weathering all sorts of drama and still looking fabulous whilst doing so…”

  • Annie Lennox

    Scottish singer best known for her time in the Eurythmics, she now devotes a lot of her time to charity (1954- )

    Tara Scott (@tararumba): “And of course @AnnieLennox for everything she is doing to rebrand feminism and empower women! Gwan sister!”

  • Coco Chanel

    Founder of French fashion house Chanel. She made the little black dress, women’s trousers and collarless jackets en vogue. (1883-1971)

    MSNshopping (@msnshopping): “It has to be Coco Chanel – her exquisite taste and strong-mindedness transformed the face of fashion as we know it.”

  • Hedy Lamarr

    The Austrian actress who was the first woman to appear nude on film in Ekstase (1933). She is also credited with inventing a radio guiding system for torpedoes which was used in WWII. (1914-2000)

    Harriet (@whereisharriet): “How about Hedy Lamarr? Silent film actress, known as the most beautiful women in the world and an amazing scientist!”

  • Margaret Thatcher

    Baroness Thatcher was the first female Prime Minister of the UK (1925- )

    Sweet Couture (@sweetcoutureUK): “People might not like this but Margaret Thatcher, merely because she was a leader of men in an era dominated by men.”

  • Josephine Baker

    American dancer, singer and actress; she was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture (1906-1975)

    Sweet Couture (@sweetcoutureUK): “Josephine Baker for not letting her “colour” come in the way of her art and passions!”

  • Aung San Suu Kyi

    Burmese opposition politician and a former General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. She was arrested and put under house arrest for 15 years. She was released in 2010 (1945- )

    Flavour of France (@flavouroffrance): “Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politician, for her bravery and sacrifice in the fight for her country’s freedom.”

  • Princess Diana

    The ‘Queen of Hearts’ won the affection of the public through her charity work, style and elegance (1961-1997)

    Emma Lloyd (via Facebook): “Princess Diana – for her strength, compassion and style.”

  • Emmeline Pankhurst

    English political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement (1858-1928)

    Kush Kushla (via Facebook): “Emmeline Pankhurst for rather obvious reasons (she just about counts as she died in 1928). I get so angry when I read the turnout percentage for elections these days!”

  • Beth Ditto

    American singer with the band Gossip (1981- )

    Amirah Valu (via Facebook): “Beth Ditto a woman who truly embraces her curves.”

  • Eve Ensler

    Playwright and activist, she’s well known for her taboo-busting play, The Vagina Monologues (1953- )

    Becka Sunter (via Facebook): “Eve Ensler, founder of V Day international, the international movement to end violence against women and girls. She is an inspirational speaker! Her efforts in the Congo for women who have been systematically raped and abused are incredible.”

  • Natalia Vodianova

    Model, actress and philanthropist (1982- )

    Tatiana Ashakova (via Facebook): “Natalia Vodianova! Can’t stop admiring her for all what she does maintaining such a positive image all the time! She inspires me as I’m just like her – a Russian living in the UK.”

  • Maria Sklodowska Curie

    Poland-born French physicist and chemist famous for her work with radioactivity (1867-1934)

    Monika Chodakowska (via Facebook): “Maria Sklodowska Curie – the first woman to win the Nobel prize in science (and the first person who received it twice). 100 years ago in a world dominated by men she achieved what is hard to beat even by women now. True inspiration!”

  • Kate Middleton

    Soon-to-be princess (1982- )

    Zoe Harris (via Facebook): “Kate Middleton – she has big boots to fill but is doing a great job so far.”

  • Alex Box

    Creative Director for Illamasqua and makeup artist extraordinaire (1972- )

    Anita B (@missanitab): “Alex Box, she’s changed the way we look at beauty, she celebrates difference rather than making everyone look like a clone.”

  • Lee Miller

    Model, photographer and war correspondent for Vogue during WWII (1907-1977)

    Lauren Keogh (@laurenkeogh): “Lee Miller – for being muse, model, Vogue fashion photographer, war correspondent, mother and artist. Amazing woman!”

  • Rosalind Franklin

    British biophysicist who found that a DNA molecule consists of an intertwined double helix of atoms (1920-1958)

    Susie Cousions (@susiecousins): “How about Rosalind Franklin? She is often overlooked in favour of Watson & Crick, but without her DNA couldn't have been discovered.”

  • Agnes Baden-Powell

    The younger sister of Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Scouts), she founded the Girl Guides (1858-1945)

    @ciorstaidh: “Agnes Baden-Powell. Her sister-in-law Olave was more famous, but it was Agnes who began the Girl Guides.”

    Picture credits: Getty Images, Rex Features and Girlguiding UK. Usual Stylist terms and conditions apply to the competition

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