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A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
This Armenian folktale princess saved her hapless beau - by making him get a job.
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.
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.
Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
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.
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.
When China invaded her native land, this would-be monk put down her pacifist dreams and took up arms.
Nanny of the Maroons
Led colony of escaped slaves and protected them from the English using borderline supernatural abilities.
Indomitable pirate queen who ran Morocco and ruined Portuguese trade.