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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.
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.
This stubborn empress led her native Ethiopia to do the unthinkable - defeat one of the major European powers in war.
To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.
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.
When the English laid siege to her castle home, this Scottish woman bedeviled them until they gave up.
One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law…
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.
When famine hit Jeju island, where she'd been exiled since birth, this prostitute-turned-businesswoman spent her fortune to feed everyone.
Matilda of Tuscany
Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.