Found this great list of 20 inspirational female journalists via Journalism.co.uk, formed with input from their Twitter followers, and posted in honour of International Women’s Day.

I hadn’t heard many of the names that made the list, and it’s a shame that I hadn’t: I was astounded to see what they had accomplished as individuals and as journalists. It’s always reassuring to see proof that there is great journalism happening out in the world, as well as great journalism by female reporters, photographers and writers.

There were only 20 highlighted, and there are no doubt more than 20 “inspirational women journalists” who deserve the title but didn’t make the cut. That being said, these really do seem like the cream of the crop.

Collectively, these women have reported from Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, America, Ireland, Russia, Syria, Sri Lanka, China, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, North Korea, Afghanistan, Serbia, South Africa, and Somalia, not to mention a 72-day trip around the world. Recognitions awarded include CNN’s MultiChoice African Journalist, the Martha Gellhorn Prize, and an Emmy, to name a few.

Their work ranges from photographing Marilyn Monroe, to faking insanity and being committed to a “mad-house,” to reporting from Belgrade when NATO bombed Serbia, to covering Tiananmen Square.

Here is the full list, complete with ultra-short bios.

And here are the names in order:

Marie Colvin, Anna Politkovskaya, Veronica Guerin, Ida B. Wells, Martha Gellhorn, Lyse Doucet, Hala Jaber, Kate Adie, Caroline Wyatt, Rachel Carson, Eve Arnold, Nellie Bly, Alex Crawford, Lindsey Hilsum, Sue Lloyd-Roberts, Clare Sambrook, Frances Harrison, Mary Stott, Ida Tarbell, and Fatuma Noor.

Happy International Women’s Day.

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I had the opportunity to attend a conference in South Surrey featuring female guest speakers who have “defied expectations” in their personal and professional lives.

Speaking were Mayor Dianne Watts, Olympic medalist Joannie Rochette, Vancouver Sun editor-in-chief Patricia Graham and former governor general Michaelle Jean.

The style of the event was fairly typical, with a huge emphasis on networking and mingling. The speeches were phenominal and anything but ordinary.

Each woman shared with the audience her story, and how she came to achieve her goals. They were all unique, but shared many similar qualities: Each was a leader in her own field whether it was athletics, politics, journalism or volunteerism.

It was inspiring, sitting in the second row, just feet away from people who are excellent role models. The biggest thing I took away from the conference was the realization of how genuine, grounded, relatable and human each woman is. They talked about mistakes and challenges and overcoming adversity. None of them were born with a silver spoon in their mouth: They worked hard and didn’t let their circumstances define them.

I learned a lot, and had a great time with my fellow PAT member.

But the highlight of my day didn’t come until the end of the eight-hour conference, after all of the speeches were over.

Michaelle Jean had been the last guest to go on stage. Right before her speech, the audience had had a quick five-minute dance session to stretch our legs before the final presentation.

Still on stage after speaking, Michaelle Jean joked about dancing, explaining that when she was in Africa, she danced with people to overcome language barriers: Instead of communicating verbally, they expressed themselves with their bodies.

So the sound guys put on a song, and the former governor general proceeded to dance on stage with one of the event coordinators. The entire audience was on their feet, grooving to the music. A couple more organizers went on on stage, as did two attendees.

I saw my opportunity, and I seized it.

I told my friend that I was going on stage to dance with Michaelle Jean. So she stepped aside and I rushed over and started dancing. And I inched  closer and closer to her until we were both rocking out, shoulder-to-shoulder, in front of several hundred people.

More women came up on stage, and the energy in the auditorium exploded. After dancing with Michaelle Jean for several minutes, we hugged, and parted ways.

The event wrapped-up shortly afterwards, but I was in a daze for a good hour after the experience ended: This afternoon, I busted a move with the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

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