After a car accident left her legs paralyzed, Nemati took up archery because "this is the rare case when a disabled person can compete on equal terms with a healthy one."
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Carolina Maria de Jesus
Brash, funny, and difficult, this mother of three wrote her way out of extreme poverty with her uncompromising look at Brazilian society - and was alternately lauded and berated for it.
Black, Muslim warrior queen of a tribe of griffin-riding Amazons - and the honest-to-god namesake of California.
Cross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.
Roundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the wrong priests.
When an oppressive regime threatened her home, this Samoan war goddess took matters into her own hands.
When a firebreathing shapeshifting hippo menaced her people, this shaman faced it down in a magic battle - and then hurled it into space.
Cut Nyak Dhien
When her (second) rebel husband was killed, this heroine of Indonesian revolution took over the fight against the Dutch.
When enemies invaded her town while her husband was on lunch break, she grabbed a nearby pestle and saved the day by achieving the high score in soldier whack-a-mole.
When the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
This pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession - and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.