The Year in Women

A look back at the last 365 days in women - the good, the bad, and the decidedly iffy.

January 6, 2009 5:00 AM
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madonna onstage with guitar
Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

We laughed, we cheered, we readied ourselves for world domination.
Middle Age Is the New Sweet Spot Even at 50, Madonna's still got enough juice to be a factor in A-Rod's divorce.

WOMEN WHO WHOMP

I Am Perky, Hear Me Roar
After barely surviving her second year in the CBS anchor chair, Katie Couric justifies her $15 million salary with a deftly withering interrogation of Sarah Palin.
ruqaya al ghasara olympic runner
Francois-Xavier Marit/Getty
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WOMEN WHO WOMP

Hijabulous! Ruqaya Al Ghasara, a 26-year-old sprinter from Bahrain, is the first Muslim woman to run wearing a hijab (covering everything but her face and hands), reaching the semifinals for the 200-meter sprint at the Beijing Olympics.
ariana huffington in a black dress
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

Cue My Big Fat Greek Joke
Arianna Huffington's eponymous blog seals its status as the election go-to for the liberal-leaning, catching 5.5 million unique visitors per month and reaching an estimated value of $100 mil.
Ruven Afanador
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

But Too Bad Women Aren't Funny On the strength of 30 Rock, Baby Mama, a $5 million book deal, and doppelgänger Sarah Palin running for VP, Tina Fey rockets up the Hollywood power lists.
Brian Ach/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

And You Should See Her Parallel Park Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to win an Indy car race in April, when she takes the checkered flag in the Japan 300.
Brad Barket/Getty
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

While J.K. Rowling Was Busy Buying France With her Twilight series, author Stephenie Meyer rides the vampire trend to multimillionairehood, with 12.2 million books sold and a buzzy $37 million movie hitting theaters this month.
Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

Can You Say "Celesbian"?
LiLo and Sam hook up...
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

... Ellen and Portia get hitched...
Dominique Charriau/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

... and club music goes totally bi-curious with Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl."
Tim Soter/WireImage.com
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

Who Cheats on Christie Brinkley? Following tales of her husband's teenage girlfriend and $3K-a-month porn habit, the ex-supermodel gets custody of the kids and $80 million in real estate, platinum grin intact.
Cliff Watts
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WOMEN WHO WHOMP

Angelina, Inc. She's not just the most sought-after drama mama, she's probably the most lucrative. By our math, Angie contributed an estimated $460 million to the U.S. economy last year, in tabloid sales ($100 million), box-office bank ($350 million), and salaries for security staff and a nanny for each child ($10 million) - to say nothing of the sensual massage oils she must use on Brad.
Jemal Countess
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ALLEGATIONS OF CHAUVINISM

The rise of Sarah Palin found budding Gloria Steinems in surprising places. Dick Morris, Republican strategist said "A man would never have had to go through [what Sarah Palin endured]...It's the deep sexism that runs through our society. Glenn Beck, conservative pundit said "Can't raise kids and be a vice president? How irresponsible for this woman to do it? What a sexist thing to say."

TWO STEPS BACK

Cringe-worthy lows on the road to glory.
Makes Us Miss Grand Theft Auto In a new Sony PlayStation game, Fat Princess, players stuff a damsel with cake until she's too fat for opponents to move her.
M. Ngan/AFP
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TWO STEPS BACK

Can We Smack You Upside the Head Instead? "Mr. President, want to?" asks Olympic beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, inviting the leader of the free world to smack her rear during his post-game courtside visit.
George Frey/Stringer
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TWO STEPS BACK

Real Housewives of the Polygamist Compound A raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas reveals 19th-century fashions and a caveman level of female subjugation.

TWO STEPS BACK

Maybe That's Why Yale Accepted Bush To balance the 58-to-42 female-to-male ratio in colleges, admissions officials woo men by designing butch brochures and accepting lower-achieving boys.
Mahesh Bhat
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TWO STEPS BACK

Not What We Meant by Equal Opportunity The new growth industry among women in the Middle East? Suicide bombing. This year in Iraq, at least 27 female bombers struck, compared to eight in '07.
Nancy Kaszerman/Newscom
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TWO STEPS BACK

Because Men Are Doing Such a Kick-Ass Job Running Wall Street In September, Sallie Krawcheck, the chairman and CEO of Citigroup's Global Wealth Management unit, is the last of three female chief officers on the Street to be pushed out.
Todd Huffman
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TWO STEPS BACK

And It Takes Years Off Your Vaj! The inventor of the G-Shot - a collagen treatment for your G-spot - has made $185,000 in sales in the past year.
Danielle Levitt
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TWO STEPS BACK

Hot New Teen Accessory! Juno, Jamie Lynn Spears, Bristol Palin, and the sophomore class of Gloucester High make a worrisome trend of teen pregnancy.
Kirby Lee/WireImage.com
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THE SCAPEGIRLS

If business goes south or the campaign hits the skids, nobody makes a better fall guy than a gal.
Marion Jones We get why the disgraced track star was stripped of her five Olympic medals after 'fessing up to doping. But explain to us why she's serving a six-month federal prison sentence when better-paid, higher-profile juicers still enjoy the champagne-room treatment. (We're looking at you, Roger Clemens.)
BRININ/SIPA/Newscom
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THE SCAPEGIRLS

Samantha Power What happens when a Pulitzer Prize - winning Harvard policy whiz turned Obama adviser calls Hillary Clinton "a monster"? She gets the boot, and an estimable 15-year career becomes a two-word campaign-season epitaph: collateral damage.
Jamal Countess
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THE SPURNED WIVES CLUB

Bold-faced philanderers had a banner year, and their wives stood by them - often just to the left of the lectern, bleary-eyed and pissed.
Silda Wall Spitzer A hot, Harvard-educated corporate lawyer quits her job to support her crusading husband's vice-fighting career; he repays her by hooking up with a 22-year-old, $4000-a-night call girl.
Jim Spellman/WireImage.com
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THE SPURNED WIVES CLUB

Elizabeth Edwards We can only hope that John's scuzzy infidelity with loose-cannon videographer Rielle Hunter took Elizabeth's mind off her terminal cancer.
Bill Pugliano/Getty
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THE SPURNED WIVES CLUB

Carlita Kilpatrick Thousands of text messages (some graphic) expose Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's affair with his chief of staff. His wife, meanwhile, stars in ads touting her husband's family-values credentials.
James Devaney/WireImage.com
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SECOND ACTS

Whether they failed, faltered, or fell off the radar, make no mistake - they're baaaaaack.
Carly Fiorina Three years after being ousted as Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, she returns as McCain's top economic adviser (though she still believes it's harder to run H-P than the USA).
Tony Barson/WireImage.com
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SECOND ACTS

The Original Supermodels Linda Evangelista, 43, beats out a pubescent waif for Prada's fall/winter '08/'09 campaign; Claudia Schiffer, 38, bumps various French ingenues to land Chanel; and 38-year-old Naomi Campbell stops assaulting others long enough to score Yves Saint Laurent's fall campaign.
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com
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SECOND ACTS

Kathie Lee Gifford The left-for-dead chatty survivor lands a hosting gig on the Today show.
Brian Ach/WireImage.com
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SECOND ACTS

Paris Hilton The human punch line has a laugh at the expense of John McCain, who likened Obama's celebrity to hers. "Thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude," she coos in her surprisingly funny Web video.
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com
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SECOND ACTS

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn After Bush fires the scientist from his Council on Bioethics for supporting stem-cell research, she wins a prestigious L'Oreal-UNESCO prize for her work on aging, which brings us closer to finding a cure for cancer. You're doin' a heck of a job, Blackie.
Julien Hekimian/WireImage.com
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LADIES IN WAITING

Politicians sure to make A1 headlines next year.
Ingrid Betancourt Will the former Franco-Colombian presidential candidate, held hostage for six years in the South American jungle, risk another run for Colombia's highest office? Can't be harder than being tied to a tree for 12 hours a day.
M. Vatsayana/AFP
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LADIES IN WAITING

Mayawati Kumari The chief minister of India's most populous state is favored to become the country's first prime minister from the Dalit caste, India's lowest rung on the social ladder. Who's untouchable now?

LADIES IN WAITING

Tzipi Livni Israel's foreign minister, a former Mossad field agent, is in line to become the country's first female prime minister since Golda Meir. Her goal: to make peace with the Palestinians. Here's hoping she's got a closet full of Kevlar pantsuits.
Ben Goldstein
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THE HILLARY INDEX

Number of Hillary Nutcrackers sold: 270,000
Her historic campaign, by the numbers
Amount spent on pizza: $43,127 . . . and on postage: $19,958,867
Number of books published about her since she announced: 22
Google hits for "Hillary and bitch": 2.6 million
Average cost of her pantsuits: $6350
S. Krouglikoff/Getty Image
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BILLIONAIRESSES

There were 99 female billionaires in the world this year, 16 more than last year. Seven of them are under 40. Ten of the world's billionairesses are self-made. Ten years ago, none were.
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