10 Women in History You Need to Know About

It is important for girls who are looking to make an impact on the world to have successful women to look up to. It is also important for girls to know about the women who paved the way in industry, athletics, academics and politics for future generations. Here are some extremely cool women you should probably know about.

1. Billy Jean King


Billy Jean King is the tennis player who won the “Battle of The Sexes”. Faced with plenty of sexist and condescending smack talk from her opponent, she somehow managed to let these comments fuel her game rather than making her crumble in front of the many spectators. Beating a male former Wimbledon champion in a sport set the tone for female athletes for years to come. It proved that a woman could win against a man in a competitive sport, and that women deserved a place alongside male athletes.  

2. Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott is the author of many novels, including the famous Little Women. This novel became extremely popular with young girls especially. The character Jo March is confident and outspoken and not your typical female protagonist. Aside from giving girls female role models through her literature, Louisa May Alcott was actually also the first woman registered to vote in her town, Concord, Massachusetts.

3. Sally Ride

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She not only studied physics at Stanford, but was also chosen to be a NASA astronaut. Sally continued her work by inspiring students, especially girls, to pursue math and science.

4. Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama. She received this award due to her major role in the success of the Apollo 11 mission, which landed humans on the moon for the first time. She led a team of MIT software engineers to innovate the computer and software world.

5. Princess Diana

Princess Diana supported many philanthropic causes, but especially supported those with HIV/AIDS. She worked toward ending the stigma against certain illnesses while raising awareness of the facts. Her son Harry now continues her work in her honor, working to destigmatize HIV/AIDS and mental illness.

6. Florence Nightingale

During the Crimean War, death tolls were high for British soldiers, especially those in the unsanitary hospitals. The Secretary of War called on Nightingale for help, and she came to the aid of fallen soldiers. She improved the sanitation and living conditions for the soldiers in the hospital so much that the death toll dropped by two thirds.

7. All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players

The first professional baseball league for girls in America was developed during World War II when the men were at war and the sport of baseball was somewhat dying as a result. Women stepped up and tried out for this first professional league. Over time, they drew a great deal of attention and crowds back to the sport, and gave America a pastime during the war. These women are known to be courageous and incredible athletes who and you have probably heard their story before if you have ever seen the movie A League of Their Own.

8. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and has actually won the Nobel Prize in both physics and chemistry. So for all the STEM majors out there, Marie Curie is definitely a woman we need to know about.

9. Khutulun

Khutulun was Genghis Khan’s great grand-daughter. She was an incredibly skilled warrior, and was sought after for military knowledge above her many brothers. She was especially known for wrestling, and when pressed to marry she declared that she would only marry a man who could beat her at wrestling. She literally made each man give her 100 horses if he lost. I cannot say this next detail better or more bluntly than Rejected Princesses, “She ended up with 10,000 horses and no husband”. Shout out to this chick for knowing how to get out of marriage.

10. Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer is the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. She reran the Boston Marathon this year, wearing the same bib she wore when she first ran. Her running was met with opposition by many, including a race official. She finished the race, and went on to advocate for women deserving a place in competitive sports and long distance races.

Notice anything these women have in common? All the women detailed above had a lot of courage to pave a path that women had not followed before. Anytime a girl has to do something for the first time, she is typically met with opposition and has to maintain the confidence that she does deserve to be in the field or sport she is in. The key here is to stay confident and remind yourself that even if you fail temporarily, you can succeed in whatever you do regardless of your gender. When your confidence starts to suffer, it helps to look up successful and impactful women in history. It is empowering to remember women who have achieved their goals and made everyone stop and stare after them.  

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