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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.
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.
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.
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.
Noor Inayat Khan
Pacifist Indian princess who gave up everything of herself to hold the line in occupied Paris during World War 2.
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 Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
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 Japanese invaded the Philippines, this beauty queen traded face powders for explosive ones.
Cut Nyak Dhien
When her (second) rebel husband was killed, this heroine of Indonesian revolution took over the fight against the Dutch.