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International Women's Day 2019: Explore our images of women who have inspired the world this year

Every year on March 8, people recognise the achievements of women and consider the next steps in the global women's rights movement. Here at AAP we're looking back on our images of women who have inspired Australia and the world over the last twelve months. From activism to the arts, politics and sport, they've made the news for their ambition, daring, creativity, kindness and more.

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The change maker: Greta Thunberg. The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, pictured here at a protest attended by more than 7,500 students in Belgium, has quickly become the most recognisable member of a movement of young people striking from school and hitting the streets to call for urgent measures to combat climate change. Image by Stephanie Lecocq for EPA.

Others at the forefront of change include Julia Gillard, who in 2018 was recognised for her role in establishing the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who along with Ronan Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

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The fighter: Leetona Dungay. The mother of 26-year-old David Dungay, who died in police custody at Long Bay Prison Hospital in 2015, has advocated for her son throughout the NSW coronial inquest into his death. The court heard this week that the incident has already led to the revision of emergency response guidelines at the hospital. Image by Peter Rae for AAP.

Also pushing for progress in the face of adversity were women like Martha Ojulo, a Melbourne resident and refugee who spoke out after her son was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 2007, and Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year old Palestinian activist who after her own imprisonment has raised awareness of the Israeli military detention of Palestinian children.

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The winners: Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry. The stars of women's cricket have had a bumper year, including a win for Australia in the final of the Women's World Twenty20 against England in November. Alyssa was awarded at the Australian Cricket Awards in February with the three major awards on offer, including the Belinda Clark Award. Image by Joel Carrett for AAP.

World number one in women's tennis Naomi Osaka, who took out this year's Australian Open against Petra Kvitova, and Stephanie Gilmore, who won her seventh World Surf League Women's Championship title in November, also thrilled fans with their impressive victories.

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The record breaker: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 29-year-old New Yorker made history in 2018 as the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress, and is now making headlines for her work on climate change policy. Before entering politics she was working in a bar to support her family. Image by Alex Edelman for SIPA/PA.

Other women surpassing milestones include Ariana Grande, who became the second artist in the Billboard chart's 60-year history after the Beatles to take out the top three spots in the Hot 100 simultaneously, and Killing Eve star Sandra Oh, now the first Asian woman to be nominated for and to win an Emmy for best leading actress in a TV drama.

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The artist: Ruth E Carter. At the Academy Awards in February, Ruth E Carter became the first African American woman to win for costume design for her work on the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther. Image by Chris Pizzello for AP.

Others closer to home who have kicked goals with their creative talent include fashion designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, who were both awarded with the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2018 for their contributions to the industry, and Michelle de Kretser, who last year won the Miles Franklin Literary Award for the second time for her novel, The Life to Come.

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The hero: Christine Blasey Ford. The psychology professor was commended for her courage in testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who allegedly sexually assaulted her in 1982. Image by Tom Williams for AP.

Other women to gain recognition for shows of courage and resilience include Stephanie Borchorsky, who received the National Police Bravery Award after saving two children from being set on fire by their father in 2015, and Carol Matthews, who won Victoria's 'Local Hero' award for her work to improve bushfire preparedness after Black Saturday.

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The symbol: Ita Buttrose. The journalist and businesswoman is adding another chapter to her illustrious media career as the newly announced chair of the ABC. Image by Dan Himbrechts for AAP.

Also representing progress in powerful ways are high-profile women like New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who in 2018 was the first female world leader to bring an infant to a UN general assembly meeting, and Michelle Obama, who in her new book Becoming details her path from Princeton student to successful lawyer to mother and first lady.

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Explore our images of these and more inspiring women in our gallery for International Women's Day. To go further back, you can also browse our images for #IWD2018.

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