Rihanna joins Michelle Obama as "Women of the Year"

Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:42am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Rihanna joined U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, British fashion designer Stella McCartney and nine others on Monday to be honored as "Women of the Year" after the R&B singer took a public stand on domestic violence.

The annual Women of the Year Awards, published by Glamour Magazine for the past 20 years and sponsored by L'Oreal, pay tribute to women who have made major contributions to entertainment, business, sport, fashion, science and politics.

Barbados-born Rihanna, 21, whose hit songs include "Umbrella" and "Disturbia", joined the list after taking a public stand on domestic violence and urging other women to follow her lead after being beaten by her ex-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown.

Brown, who was one of the fastest rising R&B artists in the United States before the attack in February, was sentenced to five years probation and community service in August and has publicly apologized.

Michelle Obama received an award of special recognition for bringing the importance of mentoring to the forefront.

"She has demonstrated a commitment to helping the next generation of girls expand their horizons by providing them with the information and inspiration to envision themselves as the leaders of tomorrow," the magazine said in a statement.

Designer Stella McCartney was praised for her designs and also as a life-long vegetarian and animal rights activist who refuses to work with leather or fur, instead using man-made materials.

Tennis champion Serena Williams was honored for using her Serena Williams Foundation to give grants to U.S. college students and recently opening a secondary school in Kenya.

Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were honored after making headlines earlier this year when they were arrested and imprisoned while reporting on the plight of North Korean women who cross into China to escape starvation.   Continued...

<p>Singer Rihanna waves to supporters during her arrival in Manila November 15, 2008. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo</p>