Humor a factor in rating the most inspirational women

When New Hampshire native Sarah Silverman was fired after one season on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in the mid-1990s, her budding career in comedy momentarily appeared in ashes. She didn't allow it to be a career-ending experience, however, and rebounded to become a stand-up comic, writer, and actress who addresses social taboos in satirical and edgy (sometimes even vulgar) routines on "Comedy Central" and elsewhere. Her chutzpah has landed her atop the list of "10 Most Inspirational Women of 2008," as selected by members of, a social networking website focused on women's life stages and interests. For inclusion, candidates had to have achieved prominence independent of a famous male relative and demonstrated grace and dignity in the face of criticism and controversy. The most inspirational women, as chosen by the website, and their livelihoods:

1. Sarah Silverman, comedian/actress
2. Oprah Winfrey, media mogul
3. Lisa Ling, journalist/National Geographic correspondent (tie)

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives

5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court justice
6. Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive of Teach for America
7. Meg Whitman, cofounder and chief executive of eBay
8. Leigh Ann Hester, sergeant, Army National Guard
9. Katie Couric, CBS Evening News anchor

10. Shonda Rhimes, screenwriter/director/producer

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