Carolina Maria de Jesus
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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 an unrequited admirer began threatening her, this early fresco painter became one of history's first warrior artists.
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.
When the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
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.
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.
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 her brother was killed, this pharaoh took her time cooking up revenge.
After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.
One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law…