Chat show host Oprah Winfrey, women's rights activist Gloria Steinem and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee will be honoured with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.
They were named by the White House as being among 16 people who will receive the honour. Former President Bill Clinton will also receive a medal for humanitarian work.
President Obama said those nominated had "shared their talent with the world".
A medal will also be awarded posthumously to Sally Ride, the first woman to fly in space.
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