National heroine of France, a peasant girl who, believing that she was acting under divine guidance, led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years’ War. Captured a year afterward, she was burned by the English and their French collaborators as a heretic.
French fashion designer who ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes—such as petticoats and corsets—that were prevalent in 19th-century dress. Among her innovations were the Chanel suit, costume jewelry, and the “little black dress”. Faithful to her maxim that “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury,” Chanel’s designs revolutionized the fashion industry.
A Roman Catholic Religious Sister and missionary, founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to the poor, particularly to the destitute of India. She was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1979 Nobel Prize for Peace. In late 2003, she was beatified, the third step toward possible sainthood, giving her the title "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta". A second miracle credited to her intercession is required before she can be recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church.
American mathematician and rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who was a pioneer in developing computer technology. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer).
German-born empress of Russia, she was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia (1762–96), who led her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe, carrying on the work begun by Peter the Great. Her reign was called Russia's golden age. With her ministers she reorganized the administration and law of the Russian Empire and extended Russian territory.
German feminist, Socialist, and Communist leader. Zetkin was very interested in women's politics, including the fight for equal opportunities and women's suffrage. She developed the social-democratic women's movement in Germany; from 1891 to 1917 she edited the women's newspaper Die Gleichheit (Equality). She started up the first "International Women's Day" on 8 March 1910.
Polish-born French physicist, who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She is twice a winner of the Nobel Prize. With Henri Becquerel and her husband, Pierre Curie, she was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she is the only person to win the award in two different fields.
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1837–1901) and empress of India (1876–1901). Her reign of 63 years and seven months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.
British Conservative Party politician and prime minister (1979–90), Europe’s first woman prime minister. The only British prime minister in the 20th century to win three consecutive terms and, at the time of her resignation, Britain’s longest continuously serving prime minister since 1827. She accelerated the evolution of the British economy from statism to liberalism and became, by personality as much as achievement, the most renowned British political leader since Winston Churchill.
American aviator, one of the world’s most celebrated, who was the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean. She wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Russian mathematician and writer who made a valuable contribution to the theory of partial differential equations. She was the first woman in modern Europe to gain a doctorate in mathematics, the first to join the editorial board of a scientific journal, and the first to be appointed professor of mathematics. Kovalevskaya also gained a reputation as a writer, an advocate of women’s rights, and a champion of radical political causes. She composed novels, plays, and essays.