In 2015, these women changed the world

Story highlights

  • In 2015, some of the biggest news and successes resulted from the actions of women
  • Frida Ghitis: Here are my nominees for women who changed the world

The CNN Special Report, "All the Best, All the Worst 2015," airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET and looks at the best and worst stories in big news, politics, pop culture, sports and more.
Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review, and a former CNN producer and correspondent. Follow her @FridaGhitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)The majority of the world's most powerful and influential positions remain in men's hands. But the imbalance is gradually tilting -- and it shows. In 2015, some of the biggest news and successes resulted from the actions of women.

Frida Ghitis
Here are my nominees for women who changed the world in 2015. But, before we get started, I want to mention some women who have been on my lists in previous years as they continue to shape our world.
Hillary Clinton made strides in her historic quest to become the first female president of the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed she is the undisputed strategic and moral leader of the European Union, Janet Yellen brought an end to nine years of zero-interest rates instituted since the Great Recession, and female Kurdish warriors proved an inspiring and effective counterforce against ISIS.
    Here are the new faces who inspired, defied, guided or moved the world.

    Loretta Lynch

    Traditionally, the top U.S. law-enforcement official is not well-known outside of the United States, but Attorney General Loretta Lynch not only made headlines around the world, she also brought a particular kind of change that billions of people had yearned for but thought was out of reach.
    Lynch stunned the world by taking on the entrenched, corrupt officials of FIFA, the governing body of the world's most popular sport, soccer. She had the guts to do what nobody else had dared; she lifted the heavy rock under which everyone knew worms were crawling. FIFA officials, she declared, had engaged in "rampant, systematic and deep-rooted" corruption, and it was time to "bring wrongdoers to justice." To the billions who knew that graft has long tarnished the top levels of the beautiful game, it was a moment to rejoice and say: Amen to that!

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    When the Ebola epidemic took on alarming proportions in West Africa, it was tough for Liberia, one of the epicenters of the crisis.
    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the leader of Liberia, pleaded for international help. One reason the world responded is because the indefatigable President has international moral stature. She played a key role in guiding her country after brutal civil wars and received the Nobel Peace Prize for her effort.
    Johnson Sirleaf not only helped bring an end to the epidemic, she did something just as remarkable: She revealed her emotions and admitted her faults. When it was all over she said she had been afraid, and conceded she had made big mistakes as a result of her fear. Then she showed gratitude. Instead of collecting laurels, she thanked all the people and countries who made victory against Ebola possible.

    Aung San Suu Kyi