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Jesse Jane McParland
When asked how she got started with martial arts, she explained "I used to do ballet ... but I didn't like it."
50 years after she won a judo championship while posing as a man, she finally got the gold medal owed to her.
A couple weeks after giving birth, Sveta Vold ran a half-marathon with her baby in a stroller. Seven weeks after giving birth, she completed a 135-mile bicycling ultramarathon in the snow.
Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society to become an expert mountaineer and archaeologist, traveled the Middle East by herself…
Ruth Coker Burks
In 1984, when nurses would draw straws to avoid entering the room of a patient with AIDS, and pharmacies would refuse to keep the pens of someone who worked with people with AIDS, she cared for hundreds of them with compassion and love.
She lost 2 husbands, 3 brothers, and a father to her enemy. Now she's striking back.
Fearsome undefeated samurai warrior who was "a match for any god or demon," and is one of Japan's greatest heroines…
When an enemy killed her husband, this Apache woman broke the rules of her tribe to get revenge - and in so doing, became one of her tribe's greatest heroes.
Dapaah founded the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative to stimulate employment in her hometown.
Joan of Arc
The infamous teen girl who helped end the Hundred Years War and save France - but do you know how…
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.
This revolutionary martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.
To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
The godmother of rock and roll, this black bisexual singer fused gospel and pop to blaze her own way across the Jim Crow-era south.
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.
Mythological Irish princess who was turned into a worm, butterfly, and a pool of water; who induced the strangest pregnancy since Jesus; and who may hold the key to understanding Ireland's history.
Through years of unrelenting protest, this Nigerian teacher felled a king, won women the right to vote, and taught all of Africa how to protest.
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.
The first female mathematician in recorded history, and one of the luminaries of the ancient world - but her grisly death at the hands of a mob was only the start of her troubles.
The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.