Susan la Flesche Picotte
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When terrorists hijacked her plane, she gave her life to save it, becoming the youngest recipient of India's highest honor.
When a monster demanded teenage girl sacrifice, Li Chi saved herself, and was crowned princess for her troubles.
Rose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.
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 the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.
Olympias of Macedon
The much-maligned woman fought tooth and nail to position her son, Alexander, to become "the Great" - and herself in the process.
When her rebel husband was imprisoned, she continued the movement - by holding a castle under siege for three long, lonely years.
Matilda of Tuscany
Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.
The lone survivor of an ill-fated scientific expedition, this Inuit woman persevered for two years on a remote arctic island in order to get money to treat her ill son.
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.