This 81-year-old Lebanese woman organized her own all-female recycling team, partly to empower the women, and "partly because she thought they would do a better job."
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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.
Born without arms or legs, this artist learned to write, sew, and paint with her mouth - and came to work for kings and queens.
This Mongol stood up to the most fearsome man in the world and in so doing, prevented a genocide.
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.
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.
Viking princess who decided she'd rather be a pirate than get married.