30 Amazing Women You Never Heard Of

In four short weeks, I can’t begin to honor all the women who should be honored during Women’s History Month. But I’m fascinated to learn about women who’ve dared to be different or make a difference. Here are 30 amazing women you never heard of–at least not in school:


Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị 

1 – 43

Vietnam

Chose 36 women to be generals and successfully drove the Chinese out in 40 A.D. Trắc became queen, abolishing tribute taxes and attempted to revert back to a simpler government.


Hypatia of Alexandria

355 – 415

EGYPT

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

An unwed Pagan woman who taught astronomy and mathematics from her home and was a philosopher of the Neoplatonic school.


Fatima Al-Fihri

800 – 880

Kairouan, Abbasid Caliphate (Moracco)

Founded the world’s oldest continually operating, degree-granting university, the University of Al Qarawiyyin.


Tomoe Gozen

1157-1247

Japan

A legendary 12th century samurai warrior noted for being a skilled archer, often referred to as a “warrior worth a thousand.”


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 

1651–1695

Mexico

Credited as the first published feminist of the New World.


Sybil Ludington 

1761 – 1839

U.S.A.

Riding twice the distance, perhaps she should have been remembered in poem and song instead of Paul Revere.


Edmonia Lewis 

1844 – 1907

U.S.A.

African-American / Chippewa sculptor, who specialized in portrait busts of abolitionists and patrons.


Ada Lovelace 

1815 – 1852

Great Britain

Daughter of the poet Lord Byron who grew up to be the world’s first computer programmer.


Mary Edwards Walker 

1832 – 1919

U.S.A.

First female physician in the U.S. Army and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.


Yaa Asantewaa 

1840-1921

Ashanti Empire (now part of Ghana)

Warrior queen who also happened to be a 60 year old grandmother when she began fighting British Colonialism.


Cathay Williams

1844-1868

U.S.A.

Image of Cathay Williams, female buffalo soldier, one of 30 amazing women you never heard of
Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

First documented African-American woman to enlist and serve in the U.S. Army (disguised as a man).


Kate Sheppard 

1848-1934

New Zealand

A women’s rights activist in New Zealand who eventually led New Zealand to be the first country that gave women the right to vote.


Susanna Salter

1860-1961

U.S.A.

Elected first female U.S. Mayor (Yay, Kansas!)


Edith Cowan

1861-1932

Australia

The first woman elected to an Australian Parliament.


Ida B. Wells 

1862 – 1931 ‌

U.S.A.

The first African-American journalist.


Harriet Chalmers Adams 

1875 – 1937

U.S.A.

An American writer, explorer, and photographer.


Constance Kopp 

1877 – 1931 

U.S.A.

America’s first woman sheriff.


Huda Sha’arawi

1879-1947

Egypt

Founded Egypt’s first female-run philanthropic society, which offered services for impoverished women and children. Her most impactful event was in Cairo when she removed her veil in public.


Eliza Zamfirescu 

1887-1973

Romania

Recognized as the world’s first female engineer.


Bessie Coleman 

1892 – 1926

U.S.A.

The first black woman to earn her pilot’s license,


Katharine Blodgett

1898-1979   

U.S.A.

Invented non-glare glass as the first female engineer at General Electric’s research laboratory.


Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin 

1900 – 1979

U.S.A.

The first astronomer to discover that stars are made primarily of hydrogen and helium.


Virginia Hall 

1906-1982

U.S.A.

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Called “The Limping Lady” due to her wooden leg she worked behind German lines for more than 30 years and was considered the “most dangerous of all allied spies” by the Germans.


Dorothy Vaughan 

1910 – 2008

U.S.A.

NASA’s first black manager. 


Daisy Bates

1914-1999

U.S.A.

Helped the Little Rock Nine—the nine black students she recruited to enroll at Central High School—enter their new school safely, despite being blocked by the Arkansas National Guard. 


Lyudmila Pavlichenko

1916-1974

Russia

Nicknamed “Lady Death,” she is the most successful female sniper in human history with 309 confirmed kills in WWII. 


Rose Marie McCoy 

1922 – 2015

U.S.A.

Wrote and/or collaborated on more than 850 songs for stars such as Big Maybelle, James Brown, Ruth Brown, Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Bette Midler, Elvis Presley, and Ike and Tina Turner.


Alice Coachman

1922-2014

U.S.A.

At the 1948 London Olympics, won the high jump for the United States, becoming the first black woman to win an Olympic Gold medal. 


Stephanie Kwolek 

1923-2014

U.S.A.

Chemist who invented Kevlar, the material used in most bulletproof vests and body armor.


Women have been accomplishing firsts since time began and are often overlooked by history. Fortunately, the internet makes a lot of these women’s history more available to all of us. I hope you enjoyed this list of 30 amazing women you’ve never heard of. Or had you heard of one or two?

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