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.
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.
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.
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.
This mythical Native American woman saved her loved ones from starvation with delicious magical leprosy - a fact that led to, shall we say, complications.
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 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.
Matilda of Tuscany
Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.
When attacked by Native Americans, this pregnant viking bared her chest, brandished a sword, and took them on by herself. And she won.
1920s Afghanistan was a progressive and rapidly-modernizing country in large part to the most powerful, empathic, and maligned queen it had ever seen.