2013 was a year when women roared.
For the first time ever, women were selected to run both the U.S. Federal Reserve and a Big Three automaker. A state senator won praise from the Fonz for fighting a restrictive abortion bill in Texas. Saudi Arabian women took to the roads to protest a ban on women drivers, and women set new records in entertainment and sports.
These are the women who defined the year.
Serena Williams stays on top, sets a new earnings recordSerena Williams celebrates a point against Na Li of China during the final of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Instead of putting away her racquet in her early 30s, tennis star Serena Williams captured 11 new titles in 2013 and became the oldest female tennis player ever to be ranked No. 1 in the world. She also earned $12.4 million from winning matches in 2013, more than any other female tennis player in history has brought home in a single year.
Obama nominated a woman to lead the U.S. Federal Reserve
US President Barack Obama applauds, as he along with economist Janet Yellen, leave after announcing the nomination of Yellen as Federal Reserve chair. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
Janet Yellen joined the Fed in 1977. She met a man in the cafeteria, married him, left her Fed job and eventually made her way back to the U.S. central bank. Except this time, she's set to become the country's first female Fed chair and even Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — who had vowed to fight her nomination — has stepped out of the way.
Saudi women defy the country's ban on women drivers
Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif flashes a victory sign as she drives her car in Dubai to show of solidarity with Saudi women preparing to defy a Saudi government law against women driving. (Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)
Beyonce became the queen of iTunesBeyonce performs on stage during a concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Beyonce Knowles surprise December album release sold more than a million copies in its first day, setting an iTunes record and becoming iTunes fastest-selling album ever. Queen Bey's album "Beyonce" is her fifth solo project and includes a video with every song.
Earlier this year, Beyonce sold more than $100 million in concert tickets for her Mrs. Carter Show world tour.
Wendy Davis fought abortion restrictions in Texas — and almost wonState Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) contemplates her 13-hour filibuster in Austin. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
The Lean In movement takes hold
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks at Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
2013 was the year that Sheryl Sandberg leaned in. The Facebook chief operating officer released her first book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, a project aimed at helping women overcome gender barriers in the workplace. The book encourages women to work smarter instead of harder and is linked to a network of Lean In circles aimed at getting groups of women together encourage and support one another in their careers.
A woman is selected to be GM's next CEOMary Barra, GM's next CEO, introduces the 2013 Buick Encore at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. The NAIAS opens to the public January 14th and continues through January 22nd. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
For the first time in history, a woman will be in charge of a major American automaker. General Motors said in December that Mary Barra would take over the CEO spot when Dan Akerson leaves the post in January.
Barra is a second-generation GM employee who started working at the company when she was 18. She had been in charge of GM's product development division.
This is how GM's outgoing CEO Akerson described her in a conference call with journalists: “She understands all the internal machinations. This is an executive who has a vision of where she wants to take the company.”
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