‘My past,’ she told the room, ‘is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.’
Forgotten Pioneers of Tai Chi in the WestPrior to the "kung fu craze" of the '70s, two women were already spreading tai chi in Europe and America.
Tweenage champion rock climberThis 13-year-old is one of the top female rock climbers in the world. And she's got a great sense of humor on top of that.
Owners of Manic Panic, the First Punk Rock BoutiqueManic Panic, which has become practically synonymous with extremely vivid shades of hair dye, was started in 1977 by these two punk rock sisters.
The opium-smoking author who lived with pygmies in CongoEmily Hahn led a life as varied as her writings. She got a degree in engineering to prove that she could, then made a career as a writer; she lived in a red-light district and dined with millionaires; she had a family in England and worked in New York.
The Queen of FencesFredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum ran an operation fencing millions of dollars worth of stolen goods in New York. To increase her client base, she opened a school to teach aspiring criminals skills such as pickpocketing, graduating up to safe-cracking and blackmail.
11-year-old cryptographic entrepreneurWhen her mother started paying her to generate secure passwords, she realized other people would do the same.
The First Person in a Wheelchair to Perform on BroadwayAli Stroker became the first person in a wheelchair to perform on Broadway after her debut as Anna in "Spring Awakening."
A Doctor in Auschwitz"I learned that [pregnant women] were all taken to the research block to be used as guinea pigs, and then two lives would be thrown into the crematorium. I decided that never again would there be a pregnant woman in Auschwitz.''
Creator of the Home Pregnancy TestIn 1968, the tests to determine whether someone was pregnant were done in labs, and the results sent to a doctor, who would relay it to the patient--a process which could take weeks. Margaret Crane changed that.
Leader of the NBA Union
'My past,' she told the room, 'is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.'
When Singaporean guerrillas tried overthrowing British rule, they turned to this gangster to run their communications. The cat-and-mouse game in which she was caught by a female police officer is riveting stuff.
New York's first licensed female cabbie didn't let racism, sexism, or a speech impediment slow her down.
Without training, this 13-year-old shattered world records for running in 1967 -- unfortunately, it happened shortly after Kathrine Switzer's headline-making Boston marathon entry, and Mancuso's feat was all but forgotten.
Tammie Jo Shults
One of the US Navy's first female fighter pilots took a job with a commercial airline - and then saved the day when an engine exploded mid-flight.
Her apartment, which she dubbed Dream Haven, was a “who’s-who of the Harlem Renaissance: artists, poets, writers, songwriters, intellectuals, and activists” - everyone from Zora Neale Hurston to Langston Hughes to W.E.B. Du Bois.
Together with her husband Serge, this woman has spent her life tracking down war criminals and bringing them to justice.
Part of a WW2 unit that untangled a logistics nightmare, she lived to a hundred and helped run a chapter of the NAACP.
In the 60s, an Italian woman was abducted and raped - and then pressured to marry her rapist. She instead took him to court and got him tossed into jail.
She organized the Club From Nowhere - a collection of chefs who helped the effort in anonymity, to avoid reprisals in their personal and professional lives.
When she was assassinated for her critiques of the police, protests broke out across Brazil.
When the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
When an oppressive regime threatened her home, this Samoan war goddess took matters into her own hands.
The illegitimate daughter of a minor noble, after losing her husband, she became one of the most powerful and fierce women in Italy - commanding troops, insulting Machiavelli, and fighting Cesare Borgia with unmatched ferocity.
Recruited widows, orphans, and prostitutes into an all-woman ninja spy group, the largest in Asia at the time.
Olga of Kiev
Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.