“To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.” – Simone Weil
There is something special that sets apart those who, in the words of the French philosopher Simone Weil, “give an order” to themselves to be a hero or heroine.
USA TODAY’s Women of the Year project honors local and national heroines who make a positive impact in their communities every day.
Unfortunately, heroines sometimes go unrecognized for their work. This project is an attempt to remedy that. Across America, USA TODAY readers submitted their nominations for national and state Women of the Year honorees.
USA TODAY’s Women of the Year program is the continuation of our 2020 Women of the Century project, which showcased remarkable women in American history in the century since they won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Stories will be added to this project through the end of March.
In 2019, the U.S. women’s national soccer team filed a lawsuit demanding equal pay and working conditions. Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn explain. Read the story
Womankind, an inspiring video series from the Humankind franchise, showcases the untold stories of everyday women doing incredible things. The women of Womankind are entrepreneurs, small business owners, children, mentors, volunteers, teachers, pilots, mothers, friends, grandmothers. They are changing the world one act, one business, one relationship at a time. Watch more videos
Womankind: Celebrating women who are changing the world
Astronaut makes history on her hard-fought journey to space
‘Brown Bag Lady’ cooks up delectable dishes to nourish belly and soul
This incredible trio prove age is just a number
This doctor is a hero to the homeless in Detroit
Hayley Arceneaux beat childhood cancer to make history in space onboard Inspiration 4
This entrepreneur has created a solution to surplus food wastage
Doctor devotes her life to fighting for Black moms
Memphis mom touches the lives of 75 foster kids
91-year-old activist continues to change the world
Trans women of color create a network of support
Military moms help soldiers as if they were family
This big, red bus brings hope, food and fun
Mom gives away millions of diapers to babies in need
Aunties form ultimate sewing squad to save lives
Mom creates cheer team for kids with special needs
Doctor starts free clinic to help the uninsured
Shop USA TODAY’s Women of the Year exclusive merch collection and champion women’s equity together. Shop the collection
These remarkable women are leading and inspiring all across the country. Their stories are as diverse as the honorees themselves. Read more
Nominate a woman for her leadership or resilience for USA TODAY’s Women of the Year project. We’re looking for women who are advocates for equity, inspire change, lift up others and give everyday women a place to see themselves. Fill out our form
USA TODAY’s Women of the Century project in 2020 highlighted achievements of trailblazing women in the 100 years since they won the right to vote. Explore the stories, podcast, augmented reality experience and more. Explore the project
Read the Women of the Century Q&As:
- Rita Moreno: On bravery, her journey and the importance of listening
- Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha: Lead was poisoning water in Flint, Michigan. She put her reputation on the line to prove it
- Ruby Bridges: She was 6 when she walked into a segregated school. Now she teaches children to get past racial differences
- Billie Jean King: On her journey for equal rights in tennis, life: ‘No one ever has it easy’
- Jessie ‘Little Doe’ Baird: The language had gone quiet. Remarkably, she brought it back, saving far more than just words
- Tarana Burke: On the power of empathy, the building block of the Me Too movement
- Cristina Jiménez Moreta: She helped get DACA, now she helps young immigrants find their voice
- Helen Zia: She’s seen hostility against Asian Americans before. ‘We didn’t learn enough or some people have forgotten’
- Dolores Huerta: At 90, the labor leader still works to make a difference
- Gloria Estefan: ‘Be in each and every moment, that’s the only thing you really have that’s guaranteed’
- Madeleine Albright: On how she became secretary of state, speaking up as a woman and the importance of calling out wrongs