‘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.'
50 years before women got the federal right to vote, Esther Morris became America's first female justice of the peace. A contemporary newspaper called her “the terror of all rogues” and said she offered “infinite delight to all lovers of peace and virtue."
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.
To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.
A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
Although her tribe was destroyed and she was forced into an unwanted marriage, this indomitable woman came to run the world's largest empire - with a woman as her companion.
She traded a life of privilege for one spent fighting for justice on both literal and political battlefields so tirelessly that even exiling her five times couldn't keep her down.
Mexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.