Since you’re all clearly still hungover from Christmas, we’ll keep this simple. Earlier today, we announced the candidates for Man of the Year.
On New Year’s Day, we’ll reveal all of the winners. For now, read up on our five handpicked women of the year – which you may be relieved to find out doesn’t include a certain Hillary Clinton.
Woman of the Year: Priscilla Chan
At the beginning of 2015’s final month, Chan and her husband/revolutionary Mark Zuckerberg announced they will be pledging 99% of their Facebook shares to charity. In total, the donation was valued at $45 billion in the form of a foundation fittingly called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
The charitable focus on healthcare, science and education is not surprising – given her background as a pediatrician and teacher. She plans to launch The Primary School in 2016 – which will provide K-12 education in East Palo Alto, California.
And while all of these feats are fascinating, perhaps none is more significant than the maturation of Mark Zuckerberg – which even Zuckerberg himself would tell you she’s responsible for.
As you could guess, Ms. Chan was a rather easy choice for our top women of the year.
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin were working for NBC News when they decided to create theSkimm.
Now, everybody from your dad to ex-girlfriends is actually checking their Gmail to read their morning brief on world news. Not only is it bringing the news to people in a different way (you know, one that’s legitimately interesting), it’s reestablishing the purpose of ‘e-mail’ in an internet age that has basically obliterated it.
“News is not only our career, it’s our passion. Because of this, we have always been the go-to source for friends seeking the scoop on current events or breaking news. We soon realized three things: Reading the news is time-consuming; Wanting to read the news is a hobby; lastly, not everyone has the time or interest.” – theSkimms
Like Steph Curry’s clear place among our Man of the Year nominees, no woman athlete dominated headlines in 2015 like Ronda Rousey did.
By August, Rousey had already defended her UFC championship twice – and her ridiculous 14-second victory in February went viral.
But not nearly as viral as a stunning knockout loss to Holly Holm three months later, which officially became her first mixed martial arts defeat. Though clearly not her proudest moment, the fact that Ronda Rousey losing created such a massive reaction says it all.
On Google’s top Trends of 2015 list, Rousey was the third-most searched person of the entire year and the most searched athlete of. Second on the athlete list? Holly Holm.
She was also the first woman athlete to guest host ESPN’s Sportscenter, called out Floyd Mayweather for his history of domestic violence, and used her fame to help raise money for endangered animals.
Add a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appearance in February and cameos in two different movies (Furious 7 and Entourage), and it’s clear how insane of a year Ronda Rousey had.
Making a Women of the Year list is tough for musicians, seeing that their year-long relevance can be limited by the date of an album release.
Well, thanks in part to her latest album 1989 being released at the end of last year, Taylor Swift basically took over the world in 2015.
The international tour for her fifth and most successful album yet – the first time a Swift record wasn’t labeled “country” – was the fourth-highest grossing tour ever by a female artist.
After singles “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off” reached number one status in 2014, “Bad Blood” – featuring rap king Kendrick Lamar – has done the same thing since its release earlier this year, as well as winning Video of the Year at the VMA’s.
In June, she used her massive bargaining power and forced Apple to adjust their plans for Apple Music – securing payment for every artist from the very first stream.
2015 also marked the beginning of her relationship with Calvin Harris, the world’s highest-paid DJ. All in all, Taylor Swift is arguably the most powerful woman in music.
You may know Misty Copeland best from her Under Armour ad that blew up this year, but she’s quickly become a top pioneer in both the female and African-American communities.
By June, she had been named one of the American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancers – the first ever African-American woman to do so.
Two months before that, Copeland made Time’s annual list of The 100 Most Influential People. Her second book, Life In Motion, also hit the New York Times bestseller list this year – and last month she announced plans for a third book on the way.
In a millennial/startup age that’s encouraged young people to follow their passions more than ever, Misty Copeland has become one of its finest role models.