Leading Women's most inspiring women of 2014

Story highlights

  • We asked for your Leading Women of 2014
  • Hundreds of people nominated women across a diverse range of professions
  • The final list brings you women worldwide who stood out for their accomplishments this year

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more. Follow us on @CNNIwomen.

(CNN)CNN set out on a hunt to find the women who excelled in their professions in 2014.

We wanted to know which women you felt deserved an accolade for their achievements this year and turned to our readers, partners, and organizations we've worked with this year to find out.
    The women with the most votes have been crowned our Leading Women of 2014.
    The Women of the Year 2014
    Read more about the winners in the gallery above.
    THE LONGLIST
    Further outstanding women nominated for their work in the fields of Science and Technology, Health, Politics, Philanthropy, Business and Arts can be seen in alphabetical order in the longlist below.
    Read more and be inspired.
    ARTS
    Amma Asante -- BAFTA winning writer and director whose film, Belle, received praise from Oprah Winfrey. The film is the seventh highest grossing independent movie of 2014.
    Roxane Gay -- Author and professor of English at Purdue University and co-editor of PANK. In 2014 she published Untamed State and Bad Feminist.
    Ellen Page -- Actress most famous for her roles in Juno, Inception and X-Men: Days of Future Past. In 2014, Page came out as gay in a speech at a Human Rights Campaign's conference.
    Victoria Siddall -- Director, Frieze Fairs. In 2014, she was appointed as Director of Frieze London (from 2015) and Frieze New York (from 2016) in addition to her existing position as Director of Frieze Masters.
    Kerry Washington -- Actress who has starred in TV drama Scandal, written by Shonda Rhimes, since 2012. In 2014 she was named as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.
    SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH (STEM)
    Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh -- The Nigerian doctor died this year after overseeing the treatment of Ebola patient Patrick Sawyer. Her efforts prevented the wider spread of Ebola in Nigeria.
    Dr. Nancy J Cox -- Director of CDC's Influenza Division, Dr. Cox retires from the CDC on 31 December 2014 after a career improving the world's ability to combat influenza.
    Samantha Cristoforetti -- European Space Agency astronaut who was launched on the Soyuz spacecraft to live and work on the International Space Station in 2014.
    Milka Duno -- Race car driver who won the Rolex Series Miami Grand Prix becoming the first woman in history to win a major international race in the USA.
    Ellen Kooijman -- Dutch geochemist whose LEGO Mini figures, featuring three female scientists, sold out within days of their limited release this year.
    "My 6 year old daughter has the LEGO set designed by Kooijman," says CNN anchor Kristie Lu Stout who nominated her. "It's widened her career options from princess to astronomer!"
    POLITICS
    Aung San Suu Kyi
    Joyce Banda -- First female President of Malawi from 2012 - 2014. Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation which empowers Malawian women and offers free education to orphans.
    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf -- Liberian President, Africa's first elected female head of state, and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. She also lead her country through its first Ebola outbreak.
    Aung San Suu Kyi -- Burmese activist, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner and co founder of the National League for Democracy, a party dedicated to nonviolence.
    Kathleen Wynne -- First female premier of Ontario, and the first openly gay head of government in Canada. In June 2014 she was reelected with a majority government.
    Helen Zille -- Former campaigning activist, current Executive Mayor of Cape Town, South Africa and leader of the country's opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.
    HUMANITARIAN
    Dr. Hawa Abdi -- Somali activist, gynecologist and founder of the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation; a non profit organization which provides free shelter, water and medical care to women and children.
    Shabana Basij-Rasikh -- Co-founder and President of SOLA, a nonprofit that helps exceptional young Afghan women access education and employment.
    Yevgeniya Chirikova -- Environmental activist who won the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for her campaign against the destruction of the Khimki Forest in Moscow.
    Angelina Jolie -- Actress, UNHCR Ambassador and founder of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation conservation project. Directed her second film, Unbroken, in 2014.
    Hadiza Bala Usman -- Activist and initiator of the protest movement asking for the release of 200 schoolgirls girls abducted in Borno State, Nigeria which spread worldwide.
    BUSINESS
    Rosalind Brewer -- President and CEO of Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart. Currently the 64th most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes.
    Jo Malone -- Fragrance designer who created a multi-million dollar fragrance empire, which she sold in 2006 to Estée Lauder before creating new company -- Jo Loves.
    Indra Nooyi -- Current chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo. She led the company's restructure, acquired Tropicana in 1998, and is the food and beverage giant's fifth CEO.
    Karen Fondu -- L'Oréal Paris President who works on the Women of Worth initiative, supporting women-led organizations through financial support and mentorship.