Time magazine announced on Wednesday its selection of a diverse group of "Silence Breakers" -- women and men whose recent public allegations of sexual misconduct across multiple industries have sparked a culture-wide re-evaluation of norms -- as its 2017 Person of the Year.

The Time cover features five women including actress Ashley Judd and pop superstar Taylor Swift, whose accounts of experiencing sexual harassment in their careers helped create the atmosphere of openness in which the hashtag #MeToo stormed social media this fall.

"The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover...along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s," the magazine said in its announcement.

Following Judd's on-the-record allegations in October against Harvey Weinstein, many others came forward against the powerful movie producer with similar accounts of sexual harassment and intimidation. Weinstein, who was fired from the Weinstein Company soon after the reports surfaced, denies all allegations.

In the same month, the phrase "Me Too" coined by activist Tarana Burke over a decade ago gained prominence on social media through a post by actress Alyssa Milano.

A host of high-profile figures in U.S. media, politics and entertainment have since been embroiled in scandal over alleged or admitted sexual misconduct.

The magazine said its shortlist for the 2017 Person of the Year, meant to recognize the "person or group of people who, for better or worse, wielded the most influence in the previous 12 months," also included North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, China's Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, who was chosen for the distinction last year following his election as U.S. president.