Since it was first established in 1911, March 8 International Women's Day has been celebrating female achievement in the political, economic, social and cultural space across the globe. To mark the occasion, CNBC picks a selection of female pioneers that the world should be paying attention to throughout the course of 2016.
  1. Hillary Clinton (Democratic presidential candidate)
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    If there's any woman worth watching in the U.S. this year, it's the one with a strong chance of becoming the nation's next and first female President. Despite "emailgate" Hillary Clinton remains a frontrunner for the Democratic Party ticket. During her campaign, Clinton is tackling issues ranging from gun violence prevention, climate change, LGBT equality, labor to women's rights.
  2. Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany)
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    Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor, has been given the title of the world's "most powerful" woman for nine years – according to Forbes – since she assumed office in 2005. With events like the global financial crisis and Greece's debt crisis still simmering away, Merkel and her European counterparts are facing new challenges. All eyes will be on Merkel to see how she deals with the ever-expanding refugee crisis, a potential Brexit and concerns over global growth.
  3. Cheryl Boone Isaacs (Academy president)
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    Storm clouds gathered at this year's Oscars, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced an all-white Oscar nominee line-up for the second year running. The Academy's president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs revealed she was "frustrated" by the lack of diversity in January, followed soon after by the organization announcing it would make a series of fundamental changes to make the Academy's governing bodies and membership "significantly more diverse."
  4. Janet Yellen (Federal Reserve chair)
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    December 16, 2015, may have been historic for the Federal Reserve, but investors will be keeping a close eye on the central bank this year, to see how it follows through on raising interest rates. While a global market sell-off and economic weakness have stirred speculation that the Fed could take it slow in 2016, its chair, Janet Yellen, remains confident that the central bank will take decisive and methodical actions throughout 2016, while taking in both U.S. +international economic factors
  5. Jennifer Doudna (Professor)
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    Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, including Professor Jennifer Doudna helped develop the CRISPR-Cas9 system, a genome-editing tool. It allows scientists to break DNA at sites where there might be a mutation, and allow cells to repair that mutation by introducing new genetic information. While genetic engineering remains a controversial subject, the science behind it and its potential benefits are being explored in several countries, - the Zika Virus as just one recent example
  6. Blythe Masters (Digital Asset Holdings CEO)
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    Once an executive of leading U.S. bank, JPMorgan Chase, Blythe Masters has now entered a space which is becoming more prominent in our society: blockchain technology. Being the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a company that helps bridge the gap between blockchain development and financial services, Masters and her company could have a big year, especially as leading banks publicize their continued interest in the technology.
  7. Marissa Mayer (Yahoo CEO)
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    It hasn't been the easiest time for Yahoo. The internet pioneer's CEO, Marissa Mayer however remains determined on making Yahoo the best it can be. With a key focus on digital, predominantly in search, mail and mobile, Yahoo is pursuing a turnaround strategy to revamp its business. What these new strategic plans are will be in focus for investors in 2016.
  8. Nawal Al-Fuzaia (Kuwait OPEC Governor)
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    The oil market is facing turbulent times, with recent months seeing some of the most volatile price moves. One key player in cutting a global supply glut is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). With its 169th meeting taking place in June, all eyes will be on its member countries and whether they choose to make a coordinated cut. Kuwait's OPEC governor, Nawal Al-Fuzaia is one of the only female representatives at OPEC; however, her input amongst other representatives cou