It’s not easy to defy norms now, so imagine how difficult it would have been in the staid societies of the past! Despite rigid rules and exigent expectations, more than a few marvelous maidens rose up to assert their power, intelligence, and just plain awesomeness. Today’s Top 10 recognizes a few of these rebellious role models!
10. Boudica (unknown - c.AD 60). Bold Boudica led an uprising against the oppressive Roman occupation in her Iceni tribe homeland.
9. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910). Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate medical school and the first female doctor in the U.S.!
8. Amelia Earhart (1897-c.1937). This fearless lady was a women’s rights activist who is most notably known for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
7. Trung Sisters (c.12-AD 43). For more than two years, these Vietnamese sisters fought back Chinese invaders by organizing an army of willful women.
6. Tin Hinan (c.4th or 5th century). Viewed as a matriarch and heroine, Tin Hinan was the first leader to unify the Taureg, a Berber people. She also founded their kingdom in the mountains of what is now Algeria.
5. Olympes de Gouges (1748-1793). From writing abolitionist plays to scripting the famous Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, Olympes de Gouges was a fierce feminist and fair-minded maiden.
4. Tomoe Gozen (c.1157–c.1247). With her skilled swordsmanship, awesome archery abilities, and excellent equestrianism, Tomoe was one of history’s few female samurais.
3. Mary Kingsley (1862-1900). Ms. Kingsley did it all — she traveled solo in Africa, was the first European to climb the 13,760-foot Mount Cameroon, canoed up the Ogowe River and collected new species of fish, spoke up for indigenous people’s rights, and was the first woman to address the Liverpool and Manchester chambers of commerce. Phew! Try accomplishing all that!
2. Harriet Tubman (c.1820-1913). No stranger to U.S. history books, Harriet was conductor on the Underground Railroad, led a raid for the Union Army, was a spy for the Union Army, fought for women’s rights, and more!
1. Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906). Our list wouldn’t be complete without Ms. Anthony — thanks to her, we can vote.
Which women do you admire?