Many people say that 2012 was the “Year of Women.” And in some ways, it was. Women ruled in television and movies. We also saw a record number of women elected to Congress, and there is no doubt that women weren’t the primary topic of the 2012 presidential election. But all that doesn’t mean 2013 won’t be a big year for the ladies, too. We have our eye on a few who had major success in 2012, and will continue to be women to watch in 2013.
Last year was a great one for the Facebook COO. She became the richest self-made woman in the U.S. thanks to her Facebook stocks (her net worth is about $1.25 billion) and she made headlines when she simply admitted to leaving her office at 5 p.m. every day to have dinner with her kids. Shocking!
“Women need to start out their careers with the assumption that they are going to stay in,” she said in an interview on The Valley Girl Show. “When you’re in the law firm, don’t think, ‘I don’t even know if I want to be a partner because I might want kids someday.’ No. Just assume you want to be a partner. Keep your foot on the gas pedal,” she said. “We need to get women to start out aiming big and staying in.”
But 2013 could be even better as many aspirational young women are counting down the days until her new book,Lean In, hits the shelves in March. (Pre-order the book through this link and email the receipt firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be invited to a special event with Sandberg hosted by Levo this spring.)
Dunham’s show, Girls — which she created, writes, directs and stars in — premiered on HBO and became a national conversation piece. Then there was the $3 million book deal, as well as a slew of awards (Emmy nominations, Glamour Woman of the Year, TIME‘s Coolest Person of the Year) and just all the attention for being a relatively normal-looking person who happens to have a TV show. The second season of Girls starts January 13. Here we go again…
President Obama may have been TIME‘s Person of the Year, but Mayer was a close second. In just one week alone, she got a huge promotion and the nation talking about the state of women in the workplace. After a prominent career at Google (she was employee No. 20) Mayer was named the new CEO of Yahoo, making her Silicon Valley’s most powerful woman. And then she announced she was pregnant with her first child. Some applauded her for taking on such a big job while about to become a first-time mother, while others were appalled by her easy-going attitude and her two-week maternity leave.Her pregnancy and promotion was triumphant for women, but others considered it a hindrance for women who do not have the same support and paycheck as she does. Still, the really important thing is that Mayer got people talking about this very important issue.
Burch has had a great decade, but this was an especially good year for the fashion mogul (as well as a challenging one). In just eight years, Burch built a $2 billion company (that started at her kitchen table) that is now an internationally recognized brand with locations all over the world. She has achieved acclaim and fame as a designer, but she also has been lauded for her work in helping other female entrepreneurs with The Tory Burch Foundation. In an interview with Fast Company Burch said, “Early on, it was just the way potential investors were a little condescending. I felt that from the beginning. There was a stigma attached to being a woman in business. I think it’s about the ambition.”
However, she also faced some tough times this year when her very intense business battle with her ex became verypublic. Jabs were thrown and they were both in the press a lot, but they both finally settled on New Year’s. She said in an interview with CNN in November: “At the end of the day, my priority is with my business and my children. I have six children with Chris that he and I care about and that’s what I think about. But also [there is] my team that I look at and I think it is extraordinary what we have built together. My focus is finding a solution and hopefully we will get there and then we will be better for it at the end.”
Is an IPO next for this lady?
Okay, so she is only 17, but we don’t care. Douglas has had an amazing, amazing year. After giving up everything to pursue her Olympic dream, she made history and became the first African-American woman to win the gold medal for the all-around in gymnastics. On top of that huge accomplishment, she was one of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People, named the Associated Press’ female athlete of the year, and wrote Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith. And we haven’t even mentioned the millions this girl has earned from endorsements.
“To have her burst on the scene like that, come out of nowhere, is part of the allure,” said Darin David, an account director for sports-marketing agency The Marketing Arm. “She was able to do that in one of the most high-profile events at the Games. That puts her right there with any of the top swimmers or track stars coming out of the Games.”