Time revisits 100 years of ‘Person of the Year’ covers to honor overlooked women

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Time magazine on Thursday announced it has created 89 new covers representing a “Woman of the Year” for each year its “Man of the Year” or “Person of the Year” honor was awarded to a man.

“In 1999, Man of the Year gave way to Person of the Year. While the name rightly changed, too often the choice was the same. With this 100 Women of the Year project, we’re spotlighting influential women who were often overshadowed,” the magazine said in a statement.

The magazine’s selection of 89 women reflects the fact that women were named Person of the Year 11 times in the preceding 100 years.

“This includes women who occupied positions from which the men were often chosen, like world leaders [former Israeli Prime Minister] Golda Meir and [former Philippine President] Corazon Aquino, but far more who found their influence through activism or culture,” Time added.

Other honorees included 1943’s Virginia Hall, an American amputee who became the Gestapo’s most-wanted spy and the U.S.’s most decorated woman civilian during World War II for her work with British and U.S. intelligence; 1950’s Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) the first woman to run for the presidential nomination of a major political party and a vocal critic of her fellow GOP Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Wis.); and 1971’s Angela Davis, a pioneering activist within Black Power, second-wave feminist and Marxist circles.

The magazine chose former first lady Michelle Obama as its 2008 Woman of the Year, the year former President Barack Obama was named Person of the Year. “Though her days as First Lady are over, her influence hasn’t waned,” according to Time.

“As former Time editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs writes, this project is an exercise in looking at the ways in which women held power due to systemic inequality,” the magazine wrote, quoting Gibbs’s statement. “Women were wielding soft power long before the concept was defined.”

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