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Nancy Wake

This most-wanted WW2 spy rescued Jews and POWs, blew up Nazi trains, and used an X-rated radio rhyme to identify herself to Britain.

Luisa Capetillo

In 1915, this rowdy Puerto Rican activist was arrested for wearing pants in public. It wouldn't be the last time she wore pants, or got arrested.

Mkabayi kaJama

One of the most powerful women in Zulu history, this cursed princess did what was necessary to protect the realm.


When a soldier raped her, this woman tossed him in a well and threw rocks at him until he died.

Vitka Kempner

Spy, smuggler, saboteur, partisan: this Jewish woman refused to go like a lamb to the slaughter, and fought the Nazis tooth and nail... even after the war, when she, alongside others, poisoned thousands of Nazi POWs in a revenge plot.

Cornelia Sorabji

One of the first Indian women to practice law, she fought against -- and inside of -- a system that held no room for her.

Sarah Biffin

Born without arms or legs, this artist learned to write, sew, and paint with her mouth - and came to work for kings and queens.

Toregene Khatun

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.

Alakhai Beki

This Mongol stood up to the most fearsome man in the world and in so doing, prevented a genocide.

Anne Farquharson-Mackintosh

When the true king of the Scots came to reclaim the throne, this spirited woman went up against her husband to back her chosen sovereign.

Virginia Hall

This "most dangerous of all spies" staged daring mountaintop escapes, prison breaks, and railway bombings -- all on her trusty wooden leg, codenamed "Cuthbert."

Mary Patten

When her husband became deathly ill, this pregnant teen took the reins to become America's first female boat commander - all while fighting off a mutiny and keeping her husband alive.


When Columbus and his crew ravaged her land, this native Haitian poet gave all to keep the peace.

Ani Pachen

When China invaded her native land, this would-be monk put down her pacifist dreams and took up arms.

Marguerite de Bressieux

When soldiers sexually assaulted her and others, this woman donned armor and got revenge.

Bessie Stringfield

Motorcycling across America, making her living doing stunts and transporting secret government documents, this stand-out woman found family in places she didn't expect.


When this Spanish merchant went out to pick cabbages, she stumbled upon an unusual kind of pest: a French knight.

Black Agnes

When the English laid siege to her castle home, this Scottish woman bedeviled them until they gave up.

Sutematsu Oyama

The first Japanese woman to go to college didn't have a choice. But the experience changed her - and she changed Japan in return.

Takeko Nakano

When the end of an era was at hand, this samurai woman refused to go gently.


This Armenian folktale princess saved her hapless beau - by making him get a job.

Soraya Tarzi

1920s Afghanistan was a progressive and rapidly-modernizing country in large part to the most powerful, empathic, and maligned queen it had ever seen.


When Rome set its eyes on her country, this one-eyed queen fought them tooth and nail, until they left her alone.

Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine

America had Al Capone. Sydney had Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine - who *hated* each other.

Vasilisa Vasilyevna

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.


When her husband was killed by conquistadors, this native Chilean showed the Spanish what "fight like a woman" really means.


When she came face-to-face with a great monster, this mother saved her child and herself through bravery, quick thinking, and great culinary skills.


When her brother was killed, this pharaoh took her time cooking up revenge.

Isabella of France

After years of neglect and abuse from her husband, this queen raised an army and took over England for herself.

Mary Anning

When her father died, leaving her lower-class family in debt, this indomitable woman worked tirelessly and became one of history's greatest fossil collectors.


When an enemy killed her husband, this Apache woman broke the rules of her tribe to get revenge - and in so doing, became one of her tribe's greatest heroes.

Jeanne de Clisson

When her husband was unjustly executed, this French noblewoman-turned-pirate became the terror of France.

Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz

This brilliant poet rose from illegitimacy and poverty to become one of the luminaries of her age - until she flew too close to the sun.


Abandoned and imprisoned, this real-life Amazon took back the life she had stolen away.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko

When her beloved college of history was bombed by the Germans, this woman began a dark path that would see her become history's deadliest female sniper -- and one of Eleanor Roosevelt's best friends.

Taytu Betul

This stubborn empress led her native Ethiopia to do the unthinkable - defeat one of the major European powers in war.

Kate Shelley

To save an oncoming passenger train, this 15-year-old girl climbed across a collapsing bridge, with nothing but flashes of lightning to keep her from falling to her death in the flooding river below -- a river that had already killed her father.

The Mirabal Sisters

When a cruel dictator ruined this Dominican Republic family, these sisters gave their lives to end his.

Jackie Mitchell

In 1931, a seventeen-year-old girl struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in front of a crowd of thousands -- and then was benched into obscurity.

Sophie Morigeau

The only use this Canadian badass had for pretty pink bows was to adorn her own rib — which she amputated from her own body after an accident.


When her father decided to marry her, this leather-clad princess embarked on one of the most bonkers Cinderella tales ever told.

Micaela Almonester

After decades of gaslighting and emotional abuse at the hands of her in-laws, this iron-willed woman survived being shot four times point blank, won a separation from her husband, and became one of the most respected business icons in New Orleans.

Isabel Godin des Odonais

To reunite with her husband, she went on a months-long trek through the jungle -- and was the only survivor.

Rosalind Franklin

The three men who accepted the Nobel Prize for "the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century" neglected to mention one thing: they owed much of their success to one brash, brilliant, and overlooked female scientist.

Stephanie St. Clair

This audacious black gangster fought the Italian mob for control of Harlem and won, taunting them in full-page newspaper ads as she went.

Onorata Rodiani

When an unrequited admirer began threatening her, this early fresco painter became one of history's first warrior artists.


3rd century Rome had a major woman problem. Her name was Zenobia, and she took over a huge chunk of their empire in her brief and tumultuous career as rebel queen.

La Llorona

Mexico's infamous "weeping ghost" has many incarnations: a jilted widow, a slave princess, a milk addict, a coffee bag, and a pair of panties.


To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.

Freydís Eiríksdóttir

When attacked by Native Americans, this pregnant viking bared her chest, brandished a sword, and took them on by herself. And she won.

Rebecca Lukens

First her father died. Then her sons. Then her husband. Pregnant, saddled with debt, a failing company, and an overbearing mother, Rebecca Lukens rolled up her sleeves and showed the world what she was made of: iron.

Constance Markievicz

Socialite turned sniper turned socialist politician - Ireland's first woman elected to office had quite a life.


This unlikely heroine created her own Woman's Army of 70,000 soldiers through good manners and political savvy - and then used it to overthrow one of China's greatest douchebags.

Nana Miriam

When a firebreathing shapeshifting hippo menaced her people, this shaman faced it down in a magic battle - and then hurled it into space.

Mekatilili wa Menza

When colonial powers went too far, she rebelled in the most stylish way possible: dancing from town to town. It was surprisingly effective.

Princess Pyeonggang

This princess held her father to his word in the most unexpected way: by demanding to marry the stupidest man in Korea.

Ida Laura Pfeiffer

Starting her travels at 45 years old, this globetrotter became a worldwide sensation for going boldly where no woman had gone before.

Sonya Golden Hand

Russia's greatest female thief was so slippery that even once she was re-captured after escaping from a Siberian prison, nobody was totally sure it was her.

Zelia Nuttall

This single mom developed the field of Mexican archaeology, while fiercely protecting it from the sleazy and opportunistic.


The "panther queen" of the Azna defeated some of the greatest villains of French colonial history through wits, cunning -- and possibly magic.

Manuela Sáenz

This revolutionary heroine of South America kept a pet bear, a disembodied moustache, and a lifestyle that defied every convention possible.

Sigrid the Haughty

When some scrubs hit on her, she burnt them alive. When a king slapped her across the face, she obliterated his kingdom. Sigrid the Haughty was not to be messed with.

Banu Goshasp

This superhero of early Iranian mythology starred in her own stories, and plenty of them.


When flying cannibal ghosts kidnapped two women, there was no man that could save them. But there was a woman.

Kumander Liwayway

When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, this beauty queen traded face powders for explosive ones.

Nia Ngao Zhua Pa

This Hmong morality tale shows how to be a good person, but it certainly takes some twists getting there.

Annie Jump Cannon

This astronomer threw off all the social conventions of her day to pursue her one true calling: the stars.

Li Chi

When a monster demanded teenage girl sacrifice, Li Chi saved herself, and was crowned princess for her troubles.


When horse-riding Spaniards invaded, she defied her tribe to befriend one of the abandoned horses, using her new bond to fight off the Spanish.


When her deadbeat brothers demanded the impossible, this South African princess carried through, and slayed a dragon.


This Indonesian queen ruled wisely and justly in life, and was deified as the embodiment of all evil after her death. The story of why gets a bit complicated.

Isabelle Eberhardt

This undefinable adventurer's life burnt bright but short: a wildcard of the Algerian revolution, she survived an assassination attempt by sabre, and died in a freak desert flood.

Tamar of Georgia

Saint, sovereign, and fiercely independent woman, she quashed two rebellions from her ex-husband, expanded her nation's borders, and ushered in a golden age.


The "Last of the Aboriginal Tasmanians" (she wasn't) used brains, brawn, and sheer will to carve a place for herself, even as the world was collapsing around her.


The first prosthetic limb in human civilization went to this ancient warrior queen. Or did it? The story is more complex than you might think.

Catalina de Erauso

After escaping from a convent, this swashbuckler had the strength to chase her dreams: which were apparently to drink, fight, and womanize.

Tsuruhime Ohori

When invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.

Onake Obavva

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.

Charlotte Badger

The first European woman to end up in New Zealand, Charlotte Badger was part pirate, part adopted Maori, and part mom. Which part is which is somewhat lost to history.


An Inuit woman so strong nobody could even beat her lice in arm-wrestling, her story just gets stranger the closer you look.

Masako Hojo

When her shogun husband cheated on her, she raised an army and destroyed the other woman's house. Later she deposed her incompetent son to become the first nun to rule Japan.


When this indigenous Brazilian warrior mermaid proved too awesome for her tribe, she just took up residence in the water, and started an aquatic harem of passers-by.

Hester Stanhope

100 years before Lawrence of Arabia, this British woman traveled the Middle East by herself, surviving shipwrecks, plagues, and Bedouin attacks in the process.

Ranavalona I

This brutal sovereign's reign saw her outlaw clapping, pioneer death by feet-kissing, and design giant weaponized scissors - but are we only getting one side of the story...?

Naziq al-Abid

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.


This Jewish-Ethiopian warrior queen took the throne, ended a millennium-old biblical dynasty, and caused a break in Ethiopia's history that has not healed to this day - or did she...?


The first female mathematician in recorded history, and one of the luminaries of the ancient world - but her grisly death at the hands of a mob was only the start of her troubles.


This legendary warrior queen killed 70,000 Romans, burnt London to the ground, and became the most famous headhunter of all time - and to this day, Britain loves her for it.

La Jaguarina

This undefeated half-Spaniard fencer was a household name in the 1800s - only to vanish into retirement (and obscurity) when she ran out of people to fight.


When the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.

Ching Shih

Headed a squadron of 80,000 pirates, ruled the Chinese seas for two decades, and actually retired happily - but not before extorting a nice pension from the Chinese government.


Mythological Irish princess who was turned into a worm, butterfly, and a pool of water; who induced the strangest pregnancy since Jesus; and who may hold the key to understanding Ireland's history.

Noor Inayat Khan

Pacifist Indian princess who gave up everything of herself to hold the line in occupied Paris during World War 2.

Julie d’Aubigny

Sword-slinging, opera-singing bisexual rock star of the 17th century - who burnt down a convent to romance a nun and had to be pardoned by the king of France TWICE.

Shajar al-Durr

Muslim sultan who took the throne, defeated Louis IX in battle, ransomed him back to France for 30% of their GDP --- and did it all in secret.


The last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.

Ida B. Wells

One of the first anti-lynching advocates, she risked her life for decades to report on the truth when nobody would believe her.

Elisabeth Bathory

Possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history, a primary inspiration for Dracula, one of the most reviled women in history, and, I argue, innocent.

Petra Herrera

Mexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.


This undefeated warrior princess refused to marry unless her suitor could defeat her in wrestling - if he lost, he owed her 100 horses. In the end, she had 10,000 horses and no husband.


When her brother of this fairytale princess decided to marry her, she warded him off by cutting off her own hands. Then she gave birth to a dog. It got weirder after that.

Mai Bhago

This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.

Wu Zetian

The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.


The poster child for childhood abuse, nobody should ever make a kids' movie about her.

Mariya Oktyabrskaya

When her husband was killed in WW2, she sold all their belongings, bought a tank, named it Fighting Girlfriend, and started killing Nazis.


After being saved from demonic forces, this legendary Indian princess is then subjected to endless purity tests by her own husband. She eventually puts an end to his questions in a manner that surprised everyone.

Nzinga Mbande

When the Portuguese took the throne from her, this Angolan queen made a new one: out of her own servant. She then fled to the jungle, conquered a tribe of cannibals, and waged war on the Portuguese for so long that they gave up and left.


This mythical queen gave birth to the minotaur and cursed her unfaithful husband with the world's weirdest magic STD -- but was her whole story just a smear campaign?


Possibly the most cartoonishly evil woman to have ever existed, this Merovingian queen was an endless source of assassination attempts - including, on one memorable occasion, her own young daughter.

Corn Maiden

This mythical Native American woman saved her loved ones from starvation with delicious magical leprosy - a fact that led to, shall we say, complications.


The ghost of a tragically-murdered young child come back to haunt her mother in post-slavery America.


One of the greatest pharaohs to ever live, she built up Egypt so much that a generations-long sustained effort to erase her from history couldn't do the trick.

Vera Peters

When she was told to "go do women's work" after upstaging the medical community in her treatment of Hodgkin's disease, Dr. Vera Peters revolutionized breast cancer treatment through years of painstaking, meticulous work.

Velu Nachiyar

With a dead husband and a hostile foreign country on her hands, this Indian queen did the unthinkable - turned her loyal servants into some of the first suicide bombers in recorded history.

Trinidad Tecson

Turned into a revolutionary in middle age, this mother became one of the Philippines most heralded women.

Te Ao-Kapurangi

Abducted from her tribe, this Maori woman managed to save her kinsmen and stop a war - by straddling a roof and cramming the house underneath.

Susan la Flesche Picotte

The first Native American medical doctor endured back-breaking labor, years spent alone, and institutional racism to better the lives of her people.

Sojourner Truth

When her kid was stolen from her, this ex-slave successfully sued to get him back; she then went on to become a forceful speaker for abolition across the United States.

Savitribai Phule

In fighting the bias of the caste system to spread education, this woman brought knowledge to girls across India.


One of the most famous women in American history, this hyper-capable Shoshone woman walked across America with a baby strapped to her back, in order to map it.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The godmother of rock and roll, this black bisexual singer fused gospel and pop to blaze her own way across the Jim Crow-era south.

Pailadzo Captanian

After escaping the Armenian Genocide (by walking across the Syrian desert while pregnant), this woman went back into Armenia to rescue her sons, then made her way to America -- where she invented the recipe for Rice-a-Roni.

Olympias of Macedon

The much-maligned woman fought tooth and nail to position her son, Alexander, to become "the Great" - and herself in the process.

Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones)

This leader of the labor movement suffered imprisonment, defamation, and untold misery to battle against forces that most of us just take for granted.

Mother Lu

When a government magistrate unjustly killed her son, this unassuming middle-aged wife spent years raising an army to topple that same government.

Molly Craig

The daughter of an aboriginal woman and a white man, her race led her to be kidnapped by the Australian government - only for her to escape and walk across the continent to get home... twice.

Marsha P. Johnson

This cheery godmother of trans civil rights masked a dark past of abuse.

Marie Equi

Once upon a time, there was a lesbian Wild West abortion doctor. She once horsewhipped a guy in the face and was tossed in San Quentin Prison for sedition. To the surprise of no one, she lived in Portland.

Madam C.J. Walker

America's ostensible first female self-made millionaire was a black beauty magnate who did it all for her daughter.

Mandukhai Khatun

Destined to be a mere political pawn, this Mongol queen rode into battle while pregnant, united the warring tribes, and was considered to be the second coming of Genghis Khan.

Labotsibeni Gwamile LaMdluli

When her husband inadvertently sold the country to colonial forces, this queen spent the rest of her life getting it back.

Man-deok Kim

When famine hit Jeju island, where she'd been exiled since birth, this prostitute-turned-businesswoman spent her fortune to feed everyone.

Juana Azurduy de Padilla

This revolutionary (and mother of five) should have been the namesake of Bolivia - and that's the opinion of Simon Bolivar, the actual namesake of Bolivia!


This Native American clan mother brought together 5 tribes under the Haudenosaunee Confederacy - and helped make the document that inspired the United States Constitution.

Irena Sendler

This Polish nurse sacrificed her safety, her marriage, her very family to save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.

Ilona Zrinyi

When her rebel husband was imprisoned, she continued the movement - by holding a castle under siege for three long, lonely years.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Through years of unrelenting protest, this Nigerian teacher felled a king, won women the right to vote, and taught all of Africa how to protest.

Fannie Lou Hamer

This uneducated, impoverished activist suffered unbelievable abuse in her journey to be able to vote -- but that did not stop her.

Cut Nyak Dhien

When her (second) rebel husband was killed, this heroine of Indonesian revolution took over the fight against the Dutch.

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.

Benazir Bhutto

The exiled daughter of a deposed ruler, she could have been a fairytale bridge between worlds - but fairy tales are not real. Benazir, whose name means "without flaw," was anything but.

Bella Abzug

Loud, proud, uncompromising: this bold politician helped bring about Title IX, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment - as well as much more.

Arwa al-Sulayhi

The greatest ruler of Yemeni history, she defeated her numerous foes to usher the country into its golden age.

Angela Jimenez

Tomboy, daughter, spy, soldier, foster mom, innkeeper, gold miner, nurse, activist; veteran: Angela Jimenez doesn't need a movie so much as a mini-series.

Ada Blackjack

The lone survivor of an ill-fated scientific expedition, this Inuit woman persevered for two years on a remote arctic island in order to get money to treat her ill son.

Neerja Bhanot

When terrorists hijacked her plane, she gave her life to save it, becoming the youngest recipient of India's highest honor.

Phoolan Devi

This "untouchable" woman ended decades of abuse by starting a bandit gang and avenging the lower castes. After some time in prison, she got out, ran for parliament, and won.


Sold into sexual slavery to Hernan Cortes, this maligned woman became his interpreter, and it was with her words that the Aztec Empire fell.


Somalia's ballsiest queen, she took power from men either figuratively or literally - by ordering much of the gender castrated. Hero or villain, depending on who's doing the telling, she remains one of Africa's most divisive figures.

Caterina Sforza

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.

Artemisia Gentileschi

One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law and in her powerful, grotesque, incredibly popular paintings that depicted his gruesome death.

Micaela Bastidas

The strident partner of the eponymously-named Tupac Amaru Rebellion of native peoples against the Spanish, she handled army and bureaucratic logistics with an unmatched efficiency. Cut Content: Tupac Amaru's Demands His demands were surprisingly minimal: he primarily wanted less enforced labor and a court closer to where he lived, so he wouldn't have to trek all the way out to Lima from the Andes.

Cut Content: Micaela's Graphic Death

Records say the Spanish cut out her tongue and then tried to use a garrote on her. Her neck proved too slender, however, so they used rope and then kicked her until dead. Tupac got off worse - after watching the executions of his family and having his tongue cut out, each of his hands and legs were tied to a different horse and he was literally pulled apart. In a shocking turn of events, the brutal slaughter of folk heroes did not achieve the desired goal of winning over the average Andean.

Empress Myeongseong

Picked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.

Marguerite de la Rocque

Stranded by her cruel relative on an abandoned Canadian island (literally named the Isle of Demons), she survived for two years by hunting animals and eventually made it back to France.


This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.

Joan of Arc

The infamous teen girl who helped end the Hundred Years War and save France - but do you know how she got to such prominence? This book has an answer, and it involves another powerful woman, operating behind the scenes...

The Night Witches

This all-female civilian volunteer unit of the WW2 Soviet military overcame a lack of training, equipment, and faith to pull off one of the greatest underdog feats in human history and in so doing become Germany's worst nightmare.

Yoshiko Kawashima

Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.

Qiu Jin

This revolutionary martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.


Roundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the wrong priests.

Marie Mancini

Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in the process.

Hortense Mancini

One of the most infamous libertines of the Renaissance, she cavorted all over Europe to flee her abusive marriage, lived a hedonistic life, and wrote memoirs under her own name - all in an attempt to win herself a divorce.


The actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.

Emmeline Pankhurst

This unassuming middle-aged woman became one of Britain's most notorious terrorists in her unyielding quest to win women the right to vote.

Anita Garibaldi

This heroine of South America and Italy fought in numerous civil wars alongside her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, often while pregnant or while carrying her children.

Princess Caraboo

This phony Asian royalty fooled rural England for some time - but the truth she was hiding was far darker.

Khawlah bint al-Azwar

When Byzantine forces captured her brother, this warrior poet donned the outfit of a black knight and went on a bloody rescue mission.


When this princess had her life ruined by an unstoppable warrior, she: became a fervent ascetic for years and got a divine boon; killed herself to reincarnate faster; came back as a man; and killed the man who'd wronged her, in the stunning climax of the world's longest epic poem.

Alice B. Clement

Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.

Dhat al-Himma

Sword-slinging Arabian heroine who stars as the heroine of an extremely long and entertaining epic tale.

Josephine Baker

Rose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.


The world's fiercest all-female fighting force, and the incredible legend of how they rescued their deposed queen from slavery in Brazil.

Mata Hari

This amateur dancer escaped a life of abuse by pretending to be an Indonesian princess - and eventually became a victim of the maniacal world of espionage.

Olga of Kiev

Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.

A’isha bint abi Bakr

Independent, bold wife of the Prophet Muhammad, she led armies in the Battle of the Camel and was one of the central figures of the Shia/Sunni civil war that continues to this day. (Note: this entry's image follows Islamic artistic conventions to depict its figures respectfully)

Anne Hutchinson

This uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.

Harriet Tubman

Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.

Christine de Pizan

When her husband unexpectedly died, she rolled up her sleeves and became one of the greatest authors of the age to keep food on the table. She wrote passionate defenses of her gender (and military treatises!) that were centuries ahead of their time.

Laskarina Bouboulina

Born in a prison cell, this revolutionary financed and led a large chunk of Greece's navy to victory in their fight for independence.

Ada Lovelace

History's first computer programmer, who invented algorithms for the first computer - which didn't even exist during her lifetime, so she had to do it all in her head.

Wallada bint al-Mustakfi

Spirited poetry-spouting princess who lived an audacious life and put her cheating lover on blast with her expert slam poetry.


Saved the Jewish people by hammering a tent spike through an unsuspecting house guest's head.

Rani Lakshmibai

Widowed young queen who led a fearsome rebellion against the British with her child tied to her back.


Sex worker who became empress of the Byzantine Empire, and used her political power to safeguard her interests, and her husband's reputation.

Tomoe Gozen

Fearsome undefeated samurai warrior who was "a match for any god or demon," and is one of Japan's greatest heroines to this day.


Chaste and virtuous woman spends life assuming she's better than her more sex-positive neighbor, and for this haughtiness becomes in death a demonic woman who lures wayward men to their death - a stunning indigenous inversion of the Madonna/whore complex.

Nanny of the Maroons

Led colony of escaped slaves and protected them from the English using borderline supernatural abilities.

Nana Asma’u

Massively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.

Chiyome Mochizuki

Recruited widows, orphans, and prostitutes into an all-woman ninja spy group, the largest in Asia at the time.

Josefina Guerrero

Let her leprosy go untreated for years to make herself the perfect spy in the Japan-occupied Philippines - soldiers wouldn't touch her, so she could slip right through.

Mary Lacy

This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.


Instigated a massive "women's war" against British taxation, the effect of which was one part protest movement, one part comedy roast, and one part block party.

Pope Joan

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.

Mary Bowser

Brilliant undercover spy who posed as a slave to spy on - and attempt to burn down - the Confederate White House.

The Valiant Ladies of Potosi

Eustaquia de Souza and Ana Lezama de Urinza, two sword-and-gun-toting lesbian teen vigilantes - 17th century Bolivia's answer to Batman.

Gertrude Bell

Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society to become an expert mountaineer and archaeologist, traveled the Middle East by herself - later teaching Lawrence of Arabia how it's done - and became one of the most influential women in the English empire, advocating loudly for Iraq's self-governance.

Yaa Asantewaa

As an old woman, led an incredibly successful rebellion against British colonialism, known as The War of the Golden Stool, or the Yaa Asantewaa War.

Trung Trac and Trung Nhi

Sisters who led an army on elephant-back to overthrow oppressive Chinese rule and establish a short-lived Vietnamese kingdom.

Elizabeth Bisland

Rose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.

Nellie Bly

Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.

Moll Cutpurse

Cross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.

Matilda of Tuscany

Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.

Sayyida al-Hurra

Indomitable pirate queen who ran Morocco and ruined Portuguese trade.

Gracia Mendes Nasi

Jewish businesswoman who saved thousands of Jews from the Inquisition by smuggling them out of the country.

Katie Sandwina

Champion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.


United Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.

Emmy Noether

Revolutionized the field of mathematics, yet was persecuted for being Jewish and paid a pittance for her visionary teaching work.

Tin Hinan

The greatest leader of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of northern Africa, who put their men in veils and let their women run the show.

Jane Dieulafoy

A phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.

Marie Marvingt

Ludicrously over-accomplished athlete who invented flying ambulances and won the only gold medal ever awarded by the French Academy of Sports for "all sports" - yes, all of them.


The first naval admiral of modern times, she protected her country from foreign invaders with aplomb.


Viking princess who decided she'd rather be a pirate than get married.


Black, Muslim warrior queen of a tribe of griffin-riding Amazons - and the honest-to-god namesake of California.

Wilma Rudolph

Overcame polio, poverty, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, racism, whooping cough, and teenage pregnancy to make Olympic history by winning three gold medals.


An unbeatable warrior princess who just wanted to have kids - and founded a new nation in her quest to do so.

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields

Pistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.

Grace O’Malley

Irish pirate queen who led decades of rebellions against England, met face-to-face with Elizabeth I, and got official license to continue her piracy.

Florence Nightingale

One half of the odd couple of Crimean nursing - the by-the-book Victorian rebel who revolutionized the field of medicine who stood in stark to Mary Seacole's jolly reliance on folk remedies and home comforts.

Mary Seacole

One half of the odd couple of Crimean nursing - the jolly black businesswoman who swore by folk remedies, in stark contrast to Florence Nightingale's by-the-book Victorian approach to medicine.


Indigenous lawmaker who united warring tribes under a unified code of laws that she made herself.

Kurmanjan Datka

A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.

Sybil Ludington

To warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere's.

Moremi Ajasoro

When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.

Te Puea Herangi

The reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader.


After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.


This goat-riding, spoon-wielding princess fought trolls to save her sister. 2


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Historical Figure Mythical Figure Literary Figure Cluster