Throughout history, there have been numerous women who proved to be great examples of fierce intelligence, kindness, and talent. They were powerful and inspirational, and they have pioneered for women’s rights, racial equality, but also succeeded to make great breakthroughs in the worlds of science, mathematics, aviation, and literature.
They were inventors, scientists, leaders, politicians, or even Queens. There are so many examples, that we found it extremely difficult to choose only 12 of them.
However, the women on this list will always be remembered for being true rule-breakers and pioneers who took the game to a whole new level, showing their male peers what it really means to be a role model.
She was the queen of rom-coms. Jane Austen basically defined a literary genre with her shrewd way of observing various social observations and her witty imagination.
She was born into a family of eight children in England. She initiated writing her own novels, like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” while she was still a teenager.
Her novels are hilarious, endearing, and they question women’s roles within society. Jane had to hide her identity as the author of some of the most famous novels of her days. After her death, her brother, Henry, made the fact that she was the real author public.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” is one of the most beautiful, powerful, and honest stories that took place during World War II, and it was written by a German teenage girl.
The Franks were a Jewish family who was living in Germany, then moved to Austria the entire time Hitler rose to power and during World War II.
The family hid in a secret room with four other people throughout the war but were later discovered and sent to concentration camps in 1944. Out of the Frank family, the only one who survived was Anne’s father, and he was the one who decided to publish Anne’s diary.
Maya Angelou is definitely one of the most influential women in our entire American history. She was a poet, a singer, a memoirist, and civil rights activist.
She wrote an award-winning memoir called “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, which made history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.
As far as we know, Angelou had an extremely difficult childhood. She was a black woman who grew up in Stamps, Arkansas. Ever since she was just a child, she experienced racial prejudices and discrimination throughout her life.
At the age of seven, she was assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend, who was then killed by her uncles.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth used to call herself “The Virgin Queen” because she decided to marry her country instead of a man. While it might only sound like ancient history now, Queen Elizabeth I is one of the best monarchs British history ever had.
Under her reign, England became a great European power in politics, commerce, and the arts. Truth to be told, she had a hard life up until the point she became a queen.
In fact, she should have never been one, because she was a woman and because her mother was Anne Boleyn, the most hated ex-wife of Henry VIII. Even so, she proved how worthy of the throne she was.
Catherine the Great
Another great historical figure is Catherine the Great. The Prussian-born Queen is definitely one of the most ruthless women on this list.
As she was stuck in a loveless marriage to the King of Russia, she decided to orchestrate a coup to overthrow her unpopular and unloved husband Peter III, and named herself the Empress of the Russian Empire in 1762.
She has received credit for modernizing Russia and establishing the first state-funded school for girls, encouraging the development of the economy, trade, and arts.
She is also known for the numerous lovers she had up until her death, and how she used to gift them an abundance of jewels and titles before sending them back from where they came from.
Sojourner Truth is one of the most inspirational African-American women in U.S. history. Her words belong to one of the most beloved speeches any woman has ever made.
She was an African-American abolitionist, but also a women’s rights activist. She delivered a speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, 1851, which has come to be known as “Ain’t I a Woman?” She was separated from her family at only nine years old and was subsequently sold for auction as a slave.
In 1829, she managed to escape to freedom with her child, Sophia, but she had to leave her other two children behind.
Rosa Parks was taking the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, when the bus driver asked her to stand up and give her seat to a white man.
Parks was a black seamstress that refused to do so, which sparked an entire civil rights movement in America. In 1955, Alabama was still under segregation laws.
At the time, white citizens were the only ones allowed to sit in the front of municipal buses, and black men and women were obliged to sit in the back.
On that day, there were no longer seats in the white section, so the bus conductor asked the four black ladies to stand and give their places to the white man. Parks didn’t obey.
Malala was born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997. Her father was a teacher and ran an all-girls school in her town. But when the Taliban took over her town, they forbade girls to go to school.
In 2012, at the age of 15, she publicly spoke out on women’s rights to education. After that, a gunman hid in her school bus and shot young Malala in the head.
But she survived. Yousafzai fled to the UK where she has become a strong presence on the world stage. She became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, at only 17 years old.
Did you know that her face is now on our $50 dollar note and that there’s a University named after her in Western Australia? She was the first-ever female member of parliament and a strong women’s rights activist.
Edith suffered a traumatic childhood. Her mother died while she was giving birth when she was only seven years old. Then, her father was convicted of murdering his second wife, when Edith was only 15 years old.
From a very young age, she focused on advocating for women’s rights. Her being elected at 59 years old in 1921 was an extremely unexpected and controversial event.
Amelia Earhart is the embodiment of a rule breaker. She was an American aviator who became the first woman that flew solo across the Atlantic.
She was also the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to America. She was a pioneering aviator, refusing to be defined by her gender from a very young age.
She played basketball when she was growing up, took auto repair courses, and attended college for a while. Soon after that, she started taking flying lessons and became determined to become a pilot.
She passed her flying test in December 1921. Earhart wanted to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe, which led to her disappearance and apparent death in 1937.
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