Humanity's greatest weapon against malaria came from an unlikely source: a secret military program, where a woman worked in obscurity for decades.
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Nia Ngao Zhua Pa
This Hmong morality tale shows how to be a good person, but it certainly takes some twists getting there.
When her kid was stolen from her, this ex-slave successfully sued to get him back; she then went on to become a forceful speaker for abolition across the United States.
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.
Possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history, a primary inspiration for Dracula, one of the most reviled women in history, and, I argue, innocent.
"Stagecoach" Mary Fields
Pistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.
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.
The "panther queen" of the Azna defeated some of the greatest villains of French colonial history through wits, cunning -- and possibly magic.
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.
In 1915, this rowdy Puerto Rican activist was arrested for wearing pants in public. It wouldn't be the last time she wore pants, or got arrested.