Dr. Maya Angelou Honored For Lifetime Achievement by Glamour Magazine

56846252Glamour magazine announces its annual Women of the Year tribute with 11 extraordinary and inspirational winners and one special-recognition honoree. Glamour‘s honorees have made unprecedented contributions to the worlds of entertainment, business, sports, fashion, science and politics. L’Oreal Paris is the title sponsor of the celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The 2009 Women of the Year are profiled in the December issue of Glamour, on newsstands November 10, with a stunning photo portfolio by renowned photographers, including Brigitte Lacombe and Matthias Vriens-McGrath. This evening’s awards ceremony will be held at Carnegie Hall, with a star-studded list of presenters and a special musical performance by Estelle. This year, the Glamour Women of the Year Fund initiative has worked with the Jenzabar Foundation and its cofounder Ling Chai, a 1990 Women of the Year honoree, to create a scholarship that will allow Iranian women to study at universities in the United States. Glamour‘s Women of the Year advisory board, made up of past honorees ranging from Jennifer Lopez to Nora Ephron to Katie Couric, helped nominate:

  • Dr. Maya Angelou – A memoirist, poet, educator and civil rights activist, Dr. Angelou holds more than 30 honorary degrees for her many published works, including her latest, Letter to My Daughter, a collection of wisdom she has gathered throughout her life.
  • Dr. Jane Aronson – This pediatrician is credited with bringing the plight of orphans to the world’s attention. Her Worldwide Orphans Foundation has provided life-altering support to more than 20,000 orphans around the globe; in her private practice, Dr. Aronson works with adoptive parents–including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt–to care for their children and reassure them that their new families can work.
  • Laura Ling & Euna Lee – These journalists made headlines earlier this year when they were arrested and imprisoned while reporting on the plight of North Korean women who cross into China to escape starvation.
  • Marissa Mayer – She helped make Google the number-one search engine, overseeing popular innovations like Gmail, Google Maps and Google Earth. Among her current goals as vice president for search and user experience is bringing more women into the high-tech field and moving them up the ladder.
  • Stella McCartney – She has become one of the world’s most influential designers, thanks to her innate sense of what makes a woman look cool. A lifelong vegetarian and animal rights activist, she refuses to work in leather or fur, instead using man-made materials to create sexy stilettos and jackets that are coveted by the world’s most fashionable women.
  • One Million Signatures Campaign – Started in 2006 by a group of Iranian women, the campaign calls for an end to gender inequality in Iran. The organizers risk their lives asking women and men to sign a petition demanding changes in the laws that make women second-class citizens. Their courage has emboldened women across Iran to speak out with a newfound voice, one that was heard loud and clear during last summer’s post-election demonstrations.
  • Amy Poehler – A fearless comedian, she is currently the star and producer of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. She inspires young girls with projects like The Mighty B!, her Nickelodeon cartoon series about a feisty Honeybee Scout, and Smart Girls at the Party, her Web-based preteen talk show.
  • Susan Rice – The first female African American U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, she is putting women’s needs at the forefront of the American agenda at the U.N.
  • Rihanna – At just 21, this pop star boasts sales that have wowed even music industry veterans–and an incredible self-invented style. She started the Believe Foundation, a fund that provides educational and medical supplies to needy children; for the first time, she speaks out in Glamour about what she calls the “big secret” of domestic violence.
  • Maria Shriver – California’s First Lady has redefined the role into a platform for change and leadership with her annual Women’s Conference, multiple books, Emmy-award winning documentary on Alzheimer’s and her groundbreaking study on “A Woman’s Nation,” which ignited a national conversation on the female role at work and at home.
  • Serena Williams – The tennis powerhouse has won more career prize money than any female athlete in history. Her Serena Williams Foundation gives grants to U.S. college students, and she recently opened a secondary school in rural Kenya.
  • Special Recognition: Michelle Obama – America’s First Lady has brought the importance of mentoring to the national forefront. She has demonstrated a commitment to helping the next generation of girls expand their horizons by providing them with the information and inspiration to envision themselves as the leaders of tomorrow.

Glamour‘s Women of the Year event has had an impact on politics and society that literally saves lives. Glamour continues its Women of the Year Fund initiative, which translates the message of the event into action. The magazine’s 12 million readers can contribute to charities supported by the Women of the Year Fund at glamour.com/woty and watch their contributions make a difference in the pages of Glamour, which will follow the progress of the recipients. The 2009 winners, Iran’s One Million Signatures Campaign, cannot accept donations, so this year’s fund is dedicated to a scholarship program helping Iranian women attend universities in the United States.

Pictured: Writer Maya Angelou attends the memorial celebration for Odetta at Riverside Church on February 24, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)