Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She was a social worker who ran a pioneering
residence for 25 women which was visited by 2,000 people a week.
2. Marie Curie (1867-1934):
Marie Curie was a scientist who discovered polonium
and radium and founded the concept of radiology to treat cancer patients. In
1903, she was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize.
3. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966):
As a nurse on New York City's impoverished Lower East
Side, Margaret Sanger spent much of her time treating women who were injured
during botched illegal abortions. As a result of this, she became convinced
that contraceptive control was women’s primary avenue to freedom and out of
poverty. Though she was born when contraception was illegal, by the time of her
death, at 81, Sanger had founded the American Birth Control League — later
known as Planned Parenthood — and masterminded the research and funding for the
first FDA-approved oral contraceptive, Enovid.
4. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941):
Virginia Woolf was a novelist and critic who
highlighted the oppressed position of women in the early 20th century. Her
innovative work inspired generations of writers. She suffered from extreme
depression, which ultimately led to her suicide in 1941.
5. Coco Chanel (1883-1971):
Coco Chanel revolutionized women's fashion in the
early 20th century by introducing a looser, more comfortable silhouette that
freed women from the corsets and frills that then dominated the apparel
6. Mother Teresa (1910-1997):
Born Agnes Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in the Ottoman
Empire, Mother Teresa made her way to Kolkata, India in 1929. She eventually
built up a network of 4,000 nuns worldwide running orphanages and AIDS
hospices. She opposed birth control and abortion, but she won the Nobel Peace
Prize and will probably become a Catholic saint.
7. Rosa Parks (1913-2005):
On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up
her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her arrest set in
motion the Montgomery bus boycott and kicked off America’s civil rights
8. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984):
Daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime
Minister after British rule, Indira Gandhi was elected India’s Prime Minister
in 1966. Her controversial time in charge saw recession, famine, the detonation
of the nation's first atomic bomb, a corruption scandal and a civil war in
neighboring Pakistan that, under her guidance, led to the creation of a new
state, Bangladesh, before she was assassinated in 1984.
9. Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013):
Known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Margaret Thatcher was
one of Britain’s longest-serving Prime Ministers, from 1979 to 1990. Her time
in charge saw privatisation of state-owned industries, huge tax cuts and high
10. Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-present):
Sandra Day O’Connor was America’s first female
Supreme Court judge, appointed by US President Ronald Reagan in 1981. She was
often the court’s crucial swing vote.