Throughout history, there have been numerous women who have achieved success despite male oppression and women continue to make gains in the modern era. Below are just a few of the most prominent of these women.
Jane Addams: Founder of the American settlement house movement and Nobel Prize winner.
Susan B. Anthony: A leader of the women's rights movement of the 19th century and a significant figure of the suffrage movement.
Joan of Arc: During the Hundred Years' War she led the French army to several victorious battles and was subsequently burned at the stake for heretics. She was canonized in 1920.
Ella Josephine Baker: A leading civil rights activist of the 1930s.
Clara Barton: An American humanitarian and nurse who became the first president of the American Red Cross in 1881.
Simone de Beauvoir: French writer, feminist, and existentialist philosopher who is widely considered the mother of the post-1968 feminist movement.
Elizabeth Blackwell: The first American female doctor.
Louise Arner Boyd: An American explorer who became the first woman to fly over the North Pole.
Rachel Carson: An American biologist and environmental writer whose work advanced the global environmental movement.
Marie Curie: A polish physicist and chemist who made great advancements with radioactivity and was the first person to win two Novel Prizes.
Emily Dickinson: A major American poet known for her reclusiveness and unconventional poetic style.
Amelia Earhart: An aviator and author who broke numerous aviation records including becoming the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart is also known for her mysterious disappearance in 1937.
Marian Wright Edelman: A children's right activist and founder of the Children's Defense Fund in 1973.
Edith Flanigen: An American chemist who became the first woman to be awarded the Perkin Medal in 1992.
Betty Friedan: Writer, feminist, and activist whose book The Feminist Mystique is credited with leading the second wave of the American women's movement.
Indira Gandhi: The first and only female prime minister of India who was assassinated in 1984.
Caroline Herschel: An astronomer and discoverer of several comets.
Dorothy Hodgkin: A chemist who developed Protein Crystallography and won the Novel Prize in Chemistry.
Helen Keller: Became the first deaf and blind person to achieve a Bachelor of Arts.
Juliette Gordon Low: Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Catherine de Medici: Married to Henry II, she became Queen of France in 1547 and exercised extreme power during the reign of her 10 year old son.
Lise Meitner:A member of the team that discovered nuclear fission. She is often used as a prime example of a woman of scientific achievement getting passed over for the Nobel Prize.
Mother Teresa: An Albanian nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and tended to the sick, poor, dying and orphaned for 45 years.
Florence Nightingale: A leader in founding the nursing profession by opening the first nurse training school.
Rosa Parks: an activist of the African American civil rights movement who started the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Christine de Pizan: A medieval era poet who challenged gender stereotypes and misogyny.
Queen Elizabeth I: Queen of England and the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
Jeannette Rankin: The first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1917.
Eleanor Roosevelt: The 32nd First Lady of the Unites States as well as a noted activist, author, and political voice. She is most noted for working on the behalf of working class women.
Sacajawea: A Shoshone woman who guided Lewis and Clark on their westward expedition.
Margaret Sanger: Birth control activist who founded the American Birth Control League known today as Planned Parenthood.
Gloria Steinem: An American journalist, political activist, and feminist who is credited with helping to usher in the second wave of feminism in the United States. She is also one of the the founders of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Lucy Stone: A prominent suffragist and abolitionist in American history.
Harriet Beecher Stowe: American abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Emma Tenayuca: Beginning in the 1930s, she led the Mexican workers movement in Mexico.
Margaret Thatcher: The only female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as well as the only woman to lead the U.K.'s Conservative Party.
Sojourner Truth: An African American abolitionist and women's rights activist best known for her 1850 speech “Ain't I a Woman?”
Harriet Tubman: After escaping from slavery herself during the Civil War, Tubman led the Underground Railroad.
Phillis Wheatley: A famous African American poet of the 1700s who was later emancipated for her success.
Mary Wollstonecraft: A British writer of the 18th century who authored A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
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