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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.
First her father died. Then her sons. Then her husband. Pregnant, saddled with debt, a failing company, and an overbearing mother, Rebecca Lukens rolled up her sleeves and showed the world what she was made of: iron.
This Polish nurse sacrificed her safety, her marriage, her very family to save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.
The last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.
Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones)
This leader of the labor movement suffered imprisonment, defamation, and untold misery to battle against forces that most of us just take for granted.
Cross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.
The three men who accepted the Nobel Prize for "the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century" neglected to mention one thing: they owed much of their success to one brash, brilliant, and overlooked female scientist.
United Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.
The actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.
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.