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Since it was first established in 1911, March 8 or International Women's Day has been celebrating female achievement in the political, economic, social and cultural space across the globe.

For 2016, International Women's Day is concentrating on "Pledge for Parity", a call to people everywhere to help achieve equality as quickly as possible. In the World Economic Forum's latest gender gap report, the nonprofit foundation estimated the gap in pay between male and female wouldn't close until 117 years from now, in 2133.

To mark the occasion, CNBC picks a selection of female pioneers that the world should be paying attention to throughout the course of 2016.

Written by CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs.

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