Angela Merkel
©Kai Wiedenhoefer

Women of 2012: Angela Merkel

In her favourite phrase ‘step by step’, Angela Merkel has become the most powerful woman in Europe - and probably the world. In this exclusive interview, the German chancellor opens up to Quentin Peel on why she went into politics, on promoting women and reveals her wry sense of humour

Jessica Ennis springs from the starting mark
©Levon Biss

Jessica Ennis

The heptathlete talks about winning Olympic gold, supportive men – and how she learnt to live with her muscles

Illustration of Aung San Suu Kyi
©Elisabeth Moch

Aung San Suu Kyi

The will of the people is still strongly behind The Lady. Even in the isolated villages of the Irrawaddy Delta, people conjure her name as if it were magic

Lena Dunham
©Caroll Taveras

Lena Dunham

The creator of TV series ‘Girls’ doesn’t want to be the voice of her generation – even if she is. Emily Steel meets her. Plus, Lena on Lena in tweets and photos

Illustration by Luis Grañena of Queen Elizabeth, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Catherine Middleton
©Luis Grañena

The Windsor women

Though the structure of the world’s greatest soap opera has remained unchanged all this time, now there is a new feminine angle; there are in effect three queens

Gu Kailai
©Writer Pictures

Gu Kailai

It’s surely not the way she planned it, but this former lawyer, now facing life in jail, has changed the course of Chinese politics

A portrait of Doreen Lawrence by Shara Henderson
©Shara Henderson

Doreen Lawrence

Two of her son’s killers are finally in jail. But her fight for justice goes on – as does her battle with grief

Rebekah Brooke illustration by Luis Grañena
©Luis Grañena

Rebekah Brooks

Had the Brooks baby been the only headline about her in 2012, this might well have been a year of unmitigated happiness

Yekaterina Samutsevich
©Alexey Kuzmichev

Pussy Riot’s Yekaterina Samutsevich

While her two bandmates languish in jail following their anti-Putin stunt , the Pussy Riot activist is back on the streets – and ready to cause a stir

Illustration by Elisabeth Moch of Malala Yousafzai
©Elisabeth Moch

Malala Yousafzai

The 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl’s courage resonated throughout the world with thousands petitioning for her to be given a Nobel prize