Despite near-total blindness from an autoimmune disorder, this self-taught cook won the grand prize on MasterChef in 2012.
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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 a government magistrate unjustly killed her son, this unassuming middle-aged wife spent years raising an army to topple that same government.
One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law…
When her husband became deathly ill, this pregnant teen took the reins to become America's first female boat commander - all while fighting off a mutiny and keeping her husband alive.
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.
Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
Champion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.
When the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.