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FranceBiologistDoctor

Madeleine Brès

Madeleine Alexandrine Brès, born on 26 November 1842 in Bouillarges, was a pioneering French female physician who made significant contributions to medicine and women’s rights. She is renowned as the first French woman to obtain a medical degree in 1875, marking a groundbreaking achievement in the field of healthcare. Brès dedicated her career to pediatric care, focusing particularly on the vital topic of breastfeeding.

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FranceBiologist

Nicole Marthe Le Douarin

Nicole Marthe Le Douarin, born in 1930 in Lorient, France, is a renowned developmental biologist known for her groundbreaking studies on chimeras. Her innovative techniques and discoveries have shed light on the development of complex systems in higher animals. Le Douarin’s passion for research and her determination to overcome challenges have made her a respected scientist in the field of developmental biology.

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FranceDoctorSurgeon

Peretta Peronne

Peretta Peronne was a female surgeon who operated in Paris in the early fifteenth century. She was prosecuted by the Parisian medical faculty in 1411, which reflects the changing mindset towards female medical practitioners at that time. Her case highlights the increasing professionalization and strict regulations within the medical field, leading to the disappearance of female surgeons from history.

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ColombiaFranceBiologist

Martha Rojas Urrego

Martha Rojas Urrego is a renowned biologist, ecologist, and humanitarian who has dedicated her life to advocating for gender equality and environmental conservation. Born in Colombia, she is also a French national, embodying a truly global perspective in her work.

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FranceDoctor

Cécile Vogt-Mugnier

Cécile Vogt-Mugnier was a French neurologist known for her groundbreaking work in neuroscience and neuroanatomy. Alongside her husband, she made significant contributions to our understanding of the brain. Despite facing numerous obstacles as a woman in a male-dominated field, Vogt-Mugnier’s determination and passion for science paved the way for future generations of female neuroscientists.

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FranceChemistPhysicist

Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot-Curie, born in 1897 in Paris, France, was a French chemist, physicist, and politician. Alongside her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of induced radioactivity, following in her parents’ footsteps of winning Nobel Prizes. She also played an influential role in French politics, becoming one of the first women in French history to hold a government position. Tragically, she passed away in 1956 due to acute leukemia, attributed in part to her exposure to polonium and X-rays during her scientific research.

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FranceArcherBiochemist

Emmanuelle Charpentier

Emmanuelle Marie Charpentier was born on December 11, 1968, in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France. She is a renowned French professor and researcher in microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Charpentier’s groundbreaking work in the field of genome editing has propelled her to the forefront of scientific research and earned her numerous accolades.

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FranceRussiaMathematician

Liouba Bortniker

Liouba Bortniker (1860 – after 1903) was a trailblazing mathematician from the Russian Empire who achieved significant milestones for women in academia. She was the first woman to earn an agrégation in mathematics, the inaugural winner of the Peccot–Vimont prize, and the first woman to publish in the Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Sciences. Her groundbreaking research in cyclides and her impact as an educator continue to inspire and pave the way for future generations of women mathematicians.

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FranceSwitzerlandUnited States

Louise Hay

Louise Schmir, born in Metz, France in 1935, was a brilliant mathematician known for her groundbreaking work in mathematical logic. Her family fled the Nazis and immigrated to the United States, where she pursued her education and achieved remarkable success. Despite facing personal challenges, Louise Hay made significant contributions to the field of mathematics and paved the way for future women mathematicians.

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FranceUnited KingdomMilitary

Violette Szabo

Violette Reine Elizabeth Szabo, GC, was a British-French SOE agent during WWII. Despite being captured and enduring unimaginable cruelty in Ravensbrück concentration camp, she remained resilient and refused to provide valuable information to her captors. Executed at the age of 23, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her bravery, becoming a symbol of resistance against oppression.

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FranceJewishMilitary

Denise Bloch

Denise Madeleine Bloch, a courageous agent of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), worked in WWII to fight against fascist forces in France. She faced persecution as a Jew, and after many challenges and sacrifices, she was eventually captured and executed by the Germans in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Denise’s unwavering dedication and bravery continue to inspire generations in the fight against fascism.

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FranceTennis

Amélie Mauresmo

Amélie Simone Mauresmo is a former French tennis player and tournament director. She achieved several career milestones, including winning two major singles titles, a silver medal in singles at the 2004 Olympics, and the singles title at the 2005 year-end championships. Mauresmo reached the top ranking in September 2004 and retired in December 2009. She was later inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015 and became the director of the French Open in 2021.

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FranceUnited KingdomActivist

Christine Loudes

Dr. Christine Marie-Helene Loudes (1972 – 2016), a human rights lawyer, dedicated her life to advocating for gender equality and women’s rights. She played a pivotal role in ending female genital mutilation (FGM) as the head of Amnesty International’s End FGM campaign. Through her tireless efforts, Dr. Loudes raised awareness, changed policies, and protected women’s rights. Her influential career and academic achievements continue to inspire others to fight for justice and human rights.

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FranceGermanySoccer

Dzsenifer Marozsán

Dzsenifer Marozsán, born on April 18, 1992, in Budapest, Hungary, is a professional footballer who currently plays as a midfielder for Olympique Lyonnais. She started her career in Germany and achieved numerous successes, including becoming the youngest player to debut in the German Bundesliga and the youngest goal scorer in Bundesliga history. Marozsán has also excelled on the international stage, helping Germany win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 and the Olympic gold medal in 2016. She is recognized as a prominent figure in women’s football with an impressive list of awards and titles.

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FranceSoccer

Wendie Renard

Wendie Thérèse Renard, a French professional footballer, is known for her exceptional career in women’s football. Renard, hailing from Martinique, overcame early challenges to become a key player in Olympique Lyonnais and the France national team. Her impressive achievements include numerous league titles and UEFA Women’s Champions League victories, making her a leading figure in the world of women’s football.

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FranceMartial Artist

Cecile Nowak

Cécile Nowak, born on April 22, 1967, in Valenciennes, is a prominent figure in the world of judo. She rose to fame as a French judoka in the -48 kg category, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. Nowak’s journey to success began at the Judo Club du Parc in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux under the tutelage of Pierre Beaury.

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FranceMartial Artist

Jocelyne Triadou

Jocelyne Triadou (born May 31, 1954) is a French judoka and a pioneering figure in women’s judo in France. She has achieved numerous accomplishments in her career, both as an athlete and as a leader in the sport. In 1974, she became the first-ever women’s judo champion in France, winning the national championship title. Triadou went on to win five European Championship titles and became the first French world champion at the World Women’s Championships in 1980. She has also made significant contributions to the development of judo in France, both as a coach and in leadership roles. Triadou’s dedication and passion for judo have earned her numerous accolades throughout her career, including achieving the rank of 8th Dan Judo in 2014. Her groundbreaking accomplishments have paved the way for future generations of female athletes in judo and other martial arts.

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FranceMartial Artist

Brigitte Deydier

Brigitte Deydier, born on November 12, 1958, in Meknes, Morocco, is a renowned French judoka who has left an indelible mark on the world of women’s judo.

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FranceGermanyIsrael

Julia Kempe

Julia Kempe is a renowned researcher in quantum computing, hailing from France, Germany, and Israel. She currently holds the esteemed positions of Director of the Center for Data Science at NYU and Professor at the Courant Institute. Kempe’s life and career have been marked by her invaluable contributions to the field of quantum computing, earning her recognition and praise.

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FranceMartial Artist

Gévrise Émane

Gévrise Émane, born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, is a French judoka who has made significant contributions to the sport. She is a three-time world champion and a five-time European champion. Despite facing challenges and setbacks throughout her career, Émane’s dedication and resilience have inspired many young judokas, particularly women, to pursue their dreams in the sport.

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FranceMartial Artist

Lucie Décosse

Lucie Décosse, the former French judoka, had an illustrious international career from 2000 to 2013. With her exceptional skills and determination, she became the French and world number 1 in both the -63kg and -70 kg categories. Over the years, Décosse won multiple world championships and Olympic titles, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

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FranceTogoAfrican American

Clarisse Agbegnenou

Clarisse Agbegnenou, a French judoka born in 1992 in Rennes, France, has made a name for herself in the world of judo. Known for her exceptional skills and determination, Agbegnenou has achieved great success throughout her career, winning numerous titles and medals. Her passion and talent for judo were evident at a young age, setting the foundation for her remarkable achievements.

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FranceMartial Artist

Séverine Vandenhende

Séverine Vandenhende, born in 1974 in Dechy, is a French judoka who won the gold medal in the -63 kg category at the 2000 Summer Olympics. She also became the world champion in 1997. After retiring from her competitive career, Vandenhende became a judo coach, sharing her expertise and inspiring the next generation of judokas.

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FranceMartial Artist

Catherine Fleury-Vachon

Catherine Fleury-Vachon, a trailblazing French judoka, was born on November 15, 1968, in Paris. Her early exposure to martial arts came through her father, who was a judoka and inspired her to pursue the sport. From a young age, Catherine displayed exceptional talent and determination, paving the way for her groundbreaking career in judo.

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FranceMartial Artist

Catherine Arnaud

Catherine Marie-Jeanne Arnaud, born in 1963 in Bordeaux, France, was a French judoka known for her remarkable success in the lightweight category. She won multiple French championship titles and made her mark at the international level by winning a bronze medal at the World Championships in 1984. Arnaud became a two-time world champion and four-time European champion, leaving an indelible mark on women’s judo and inspiring future generations of judokas.

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FranceMartial Artist

Romane Dicko

Romane Dicko, a French judoka born in 1999, has become a formidable presence in the world of judo. She has achieved numerous accolades throughout her career, showcasing her talent and determination on the international stage. From winning gold medals at European and World Championships to securing victories at the Summer Olympics, Dicko has cemented her legacy as one of the best in the sport. Her remarkable achievements have inspired many, especially young women, to pursue their dreams and push their boundaries.

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FranceMartial Artist

Nathalie Lupino

Nathalie Lupino, born on 13 June 1963 in Valenciennes, is a French judoka who has made a significant impact in the world of judo. Standing at 1.70m, Lupino primarily competed in the heavyweight class (at that time from 72 kilograms) or in the open class.

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FranceMartial Artist

Audrey Tcheuméo

Audrey Tcheuméo, born in Bondy, France, is a renowned judoka who has achieved notable success in the -78 kg category. With a bronze and silver medal at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics respectively, Tcheuméo has established herself as a talented and accomplished athlete.

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FranceMartial Artist

Madeleine Malonga

Madeleine Malonga, born in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, France, in 1993, is a French judoka who has made a significant impact in the world of judo. Her journey to success has been marked by dedication, hard work, and numerous accomplishments.

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FranceMartial Artist

Marie-Ève Gahié

Marie-Ève Gahié, born in Paris in 1996, is a French judoka who has made waves in the world of judo. With her exceptional skills and determination, she has achieved numerous accolades throughout her career, including being crowned a World Champion in 2019. Her influence extends beyond individual championships, as she has played a crucial role in the success of the French team in the mixed team competition. Gahié’s dedication and perseverance serve as an inspiration to aspiring judokas worldwide.

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FranceUnited StatesAfrican American

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre is an influential American political advisor and the first black person and openly LGBT individual to serve as the White House press secretary. Born in 1974 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, she has made history with her groundbreaking achievements. With her impressive career in politics and media, Karine Jean-Pierre has become a prominent figure in American society.

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FranceComputer Scientist

Brigitte Plateau

Brigitte Plateau, a French computer scientist, has made significant contributions to the field of computer science. With a passion for mathematics and problem-solving, she pursued her academic journey at the École Normale Supérieure at Fontenay-aux-Roses. Plateau’s expertise lies in the performance of computer systems, and she is recognized for her research on queueing models, distributed algorithms, and massively parallel computers. She has also been a vocal advocate for gender equality in academia.

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FranceJewishPolitician

Simone Veil

Simone Veil was a French magistrate, Holocaust survivor, and politician. She served as health minister in several governments and was the first woman to be elected President of the European Parliament. Veil is best known for advocating for women’s rights in France and successfully legalizing abortion in 1975. She dedicated much of her life to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and fighting against discrimination. Her legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for justice and equality continues to inspire.

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FranceFencer

Laura Flessel

Laura Flessel-Colovic, born in 1971 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, is a French fencer and politician. Known as “The Wasp” for her exceptional footwork and quick touch, Laura’s impressive career includes two Olympic gold medals, a silver medal, and two bronze medals in women’s épée. She has also won numerous world and European championship titles, making her the most decorated French fencer in history. In addition to her sporting achievements, Laura served as the Minister of Sports in France, advocating for athletes and shaping sports policies.

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FranceChemistEngineer

Marcelle Lafont

Marcelle Lafont, born into a successful bourgeois family, broke with tradition to become a chemist, chemical engineer, member of the French Resistance, and politician. She achieved remarkable success in various fields and demonstrated immense bravery during World War II, earning her the Resistance Medal. Her exceptional achievements and unwavering determination serve as an inspiration for all.

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FranceSwimmer

Laure Manadou

Laure Manaudou, born on October 9, 1986, in Villeurbanne, France, is a retired French Olympic, world, and European champion swimmer. She is widely recognized for her dominance in freestyle events, holding world records between 200 and 1500 meters. Manaudou’s remarkable achievements have not only solidified her place in swimming history but have also had a significant impact on women’s sports.

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FrancePolandPhysicist

Marie Curie

Marie Curie, a pioneering physicist and chemist, was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867. Despite facing discrimination as a woman and foreigner, she made groundbreaking discoveries in radioactivity and was the first person, and still the only woman, to win Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields. She died in 1934 at the age of 66, leaving behind a lasting legacy of scientific achievement and determination.

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FranceDiverSwimmer

Audrey Mestre

Audrey Mestre (1974-2002) was a French world record-setting freediver. Despite her untimely death during a tragic diving accident, Mestre’s remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to the sport continue to inspire future generations of divers.

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FranceBusinessJournalist

Kayane

Marie-Laure Norindr, better known as Kayane, was born on June 17, 1991, in Paris, France. She grew up in the suburb of Argenteuil and is of Laotian and Vietnamese descent. From a young age, Kayane developed a deep passion for video games and became particularly interested in fighting games such as Dead or Alive, Soulcalibur, and Street Fighter.

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FranceMartiniqueEngineer

Muriel Tramis

Muriel Tramis, born in 1958 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, is a French video game designer and computer engineer. She is widely recognized as the first Black woman video game designer and has made significant contributions to the industry. Tramis’s passion for creating stories and images with computers led her to a successful career in video game development.

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FranceComputer Scientist

Martine Kempf

Martine Kempf, a French computer scientist, invented the Katalavox in 1985, a computer-based voice activation system. Inspired by German teenagers born without arms, Kempf believed her invention could assist those with physical difficulties. Kempf’s father, who was paralyzed from the waist down, further motivated her to find innovative solutions for individuals with physical disabilities. Today, Kempf is the CEO of KEMPF Inc., specializing in adapting vehicles for drivers with disabilities and advancing surgical microscopes.

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FranceSenegalUnited States

Adji Bousso Dieng

Adji Bousso Dieng is a Senegalese Computer Scientist and Statistician who has made significant contributions in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Currently working as an Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist at Google Brain in Mountain View, California, Dieng’s research focuses on combining probabilistic graphical models and deep learning to extract meaningful structure from unlabelled data.

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FranceActivistPsychologist

Julie Dachez

Julie Dachez is a French social psychologist, lecturer, and autism rights activist. In 2016, she made history as the first openly autistic person to defend a thesis on autism in France. Dachez is dedicated to challenging societal perceptions of autism and advocating for the rights of autistic individuals. She has also published two books on autism and is actively involved in educating others and combating prejudice associated with autism.

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FranceBalletDancer

Mademoiselle Parisot

Mademoiselle Parisot (c.1775-after 1837) was a French opera singer and ballet dancer known for her provocative costumes and dances that caused an uproar in London. Her influence on the arts cannot be underestimated, as she pushed the boundaries of artistic expression in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Parisot’s legacy continues to inspire dancers and performers to this day.

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FranceActivistActor

Josephine Baker

Freda Josephine Baker, also known as Josephine Baker, was a renowned American-born French dancer, singer, and actress. Born in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri, she overcame adversity to become an influential advocate for civil rights. Her talent and activism continue to inspire generations, and she was posthumously inducted into the Panthéon in Paris in 2021, making her the first black woman to receive this prestigious honor in France.

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FranceBalletDancer

Violette Verdy

Violette Verdy, a renowned French ballerina, was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet from 1958 to 1977. Her exquisite technique and natural elegance brought choreographies by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins to life. Verdy’s impact on the world of ballet extended beyond her performing career, as she also dedicated herself to teaching and choreography. She left a lasting legacy in the art form, inspiring future generations of dancers and choreographers.

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FranceBalletDancer

Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo

Marie Anne de Cupis de Camargo, also known as La Camargo, was a French dancer who revolutionized ballet in the 18th century. Known for her exceptional technique and vibrant energy, she introduced innovations such as using slippers instead of heeled shoes and shortening the ballet skirt. Her influence extended beyond dance, making her a style icon among the nobility.

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FranceChoreographerDancer

Bintou Dembélé

Bintou Dembélé, a pioneering figure of Hip hop dance in France, was born on March 30, 1975, in the suburbs of Paris. Raised in a family that had migrated from Sub-Saharan Africa, Bintou developed a passion for dance at a young age. She gained inspiration from the show H.I.P. H.O.P. and went on to become a prominent dancer and choreographer, pushing boundaries with her unique artistic vision.

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FranceChoreographerDancer

Jeanne Chasles

Jeanne Chasles, a French dancer and choreographer, was a prominent figure in the world of dance during the Belle Époque period. Known for her talent and versatility, Chasles performed in various theaters and collaborated with renowned dancers. She also held important administrative positions, became a respected choreographer, and dedicated her life to preserving the history of dance. Her contributions were recognized with honors, and her legacy continues to inspire dancers and choreographers today.

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FranceBalletDancer

Yvette Chauviré

Yvette Chauviré was a French prima ballerina and actress, often described as France’s greatest ballerina. She had a long and illustrious career, making significant contributions to the world of ballet and leaving a lasting impact on the art form. Her dedication, talent, and artistic vision have left an indelible mark on the world of ballet, and her legacy as France’s greatest ballerina remains unparallelled.

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FranceActorDancer

Gaby Deslys

Gaby Deslys became a renowned French singer and actress during the early 20th century. With her immense talent and beauty, she garnered popularity worldwide, earning an astonishing $4,000 per week in the United States alone. Deslys captivated audiences with her performances on Broadway and even had a dance named after her. She tragically fell victim to the Spanish influenza pandemic in 1918, passing away at the age of 38. Despite controversy surrounding her origins, it was confirmed that she was indeed born in Marseille in 1881. Deslys’ legacy continues to inspire performers today.

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FranceDancer

Cléo de Mérode

Cléo de Mérode, born in 1875 in Paris, France, was a renowned dancer who quickly rose to fame for her talent, glamour, and beauty. She became one of the first celebrities to have her photographic image widely distributed worldwide, and her signature hairstyle, the chignon, became a sensation in Parisian society. Cléo’s impact on popular culture and her status as a trendsetter have solidified her place in history.

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FranceRussiaBasketball

Olga Soukharnova

Olga Leonidovna Sukharnova, born in 1955 in Perekhodinskoye, Krasnodar Kray, is a retired female basketball player who made a significant impact on the sport. Soukharnova’s career was marked by numerous achievements, challenges, and contributions to women’s basketball, establishing her as one of the most influential figures in the game. She won gold medals at the Summer Olympics in 1976 and 1980, and her success extended to championships in the USSR, France, and international tournaments. In 2000, Soukharnova was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, solidifying her legendary status.

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FranceUnited StatesRock Climber

Brooke Raboutou

Brooke Raboutou, a French-American professional rock climber, has made a significant impact on the world of climbing through her impressive achievements and dedication to the sport. Born on April 9, 2001, Raboutou quickly displayed a natural talent and passion for climbing at a young age, setting the stage for her remarkable career.

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FranceMountaineerRock Climber

Catherine Destivelle

Catherine Destivelle (born 24 July 1960) is a French rock climber and mountaineer who is considered one of the greatest and most important female climbers in the history of the sport. She came to prominence in the mid-1980s for sport climbing by winning the first major female climbing competitions and by being the first-ever female to redpoint a 7c+/8a sport climbing route with Fleur de Rocaille in 1985. In 1988, she achieved another significant milestone by becoming the first female to redpoint an 8a+ (5.13c) route with Choucas. In 1990, she retired from sport climbing to focus on alpine climbing and made history as the first-ever female alpine ascent of the Bonatti Pillar on the Petit Dru. She continued to break new ground in mountaineering, completing daring solo climbs and conquering challenging peaks in the Himalayas and Antarctica. Destivelle’s outstanding accomplishments have earned her numerous awards and recognition, including the Knight of the Legion of Honour and the Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award. Her story and achievements inspire climbers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.

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FranceEngineer

Martine Bertereau

Martine de Bertereau, a pioneering figure in mineralogy and mining engineering, was born around 1600 in Touraine, France. She and her husband, Jean de Chastelet, traveled extensively throughout Europe, gaining expertise and contributing to the restoration of the French mining industry. Martine’s groundbreaking contributions challenged gender roles and paved the way for women in these fields. Despite facing hardships and tragedy, she left a lasting impact through her professional accomplishments and writings, providing a unique glimpse into the world of mining and mineralogy in the seventeenth century.

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FranceMountaineer

Henriette d’Angeville

Henriette d’Angeville, born in 1794, fulfilled her dream of climbing Mont Blanc in 1838, becoming only the second woman to do so. She continued her passion for mountaineering, conquering twenty-one more peaks across the Alps in the next twenty-five years. Henriette’s legacy extends beyond her mountaineering achievements; her determination and pioneering spirit continue to inspire adventurers to this day.

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FranceFencer

Pascale Trinquet

Pascale Trinquet, born in 1958 in Marseille, France, is a renowned French fencer and an Olympic champion in foil competition. Known for her exceptional skills and determination, she left an indelible mark on the sport. She clinched a gold medal in the individual foil event at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and also secured another gold medal in the team foil event. Trinquet’s influence extended beyond sports, inspiring countless individuals, particularly young girls, to pursue their athletic passions without fear or hesitation. Today, she remains a revered figure in the world of fencing and a symbol of perseverance and achievement.

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FranceAviationBalloonist

Sophie Blanchard

Sophie Blanchard was the first woman to work as a professional balloonist. After her husband’s death, she made over 60 ascents, facing numerous challenges and entertaining esteemed figures throughout Europe. Tragically, she became the first woman to be killed in an aviation accident when her balloon caught fire and crashed. Her groundbreaking achievements and daring spirit continue to inspire others in the field of aviation.

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FranceAviationBalloonist

Marie Surcouf

Marie Surcouf (1863-1928) was a French balloonist and feminist who played a crucial role in advancing women’s participation in aviation during the early 20th century. She became one of the first women registered as an honorary member of the Aeronautique-Club de France and accomplished many significant feats, including becoming the first French woman to earn an aeronautical balloon pilot’s license and piloting a balloon flight with an all-woman crew. Marie Surcouf’s dedication to promoting women’s involvement in aeronautics has left a lasting legacy in the field.

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FranceBoxer

Myriam Lamare

Myriam Lamare, the renowned French female boxer, overcame financial constraints and limited resources to become an elite athlete in the French Federation of Savate. She became the first female world champion recognized by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and continued to achieve notable victories throughout her career, inspiring aspiring female athletes and breaking gender norms in the male-dominated sport of boxing.

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FranceSwimmer

Camille Muffat

Camille Muffat (1989-2015) was a French swimmer and three-time Olympic medalist. Known for her talent and determination, she made a significant impact in the swimming world. Muffat’s career was marked by remarkable achievements and a tragic end, leaving a lasting legacy in the annals of swimming history.

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FranceRunnerTennis

Françoise Dürr

Françoise Dürr, born in Algiers, French Algeria, was a notable French tennis player known for her unconventional playing style and unorthodox shots. She won a total of 50 singles titles and over 60 doubles titles throughout her career, making a significant impact in the world of tennis.

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FranceTennis

Simonne Mathieu

Simonne Mathieu’s impressive tennis career made her one of the all-time greats in the sport. With two major singles titles at the French Championships and a total of 11 Grand Slam doubles championships, her talent and determination were evident on the court. Additionally, she played a crucial role during World War II as the creator and leader of the Corps of French Volunteers in the Free French Forces, demonstrating her courage and commitment to her country. Mathieu’s legacy was further honored with her induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the naming of Court Simonne-Mathieu at Roland Garros in her honor.

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CanadaFranceUnited States

Mary Pierce

Mary Caroline Pierce, born in 1975 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was a highly acclaimed tennis professional with a diverse heritage. Her exceptional talent and determination led her to win four Grand Slam titles and reach six Grand Slam singles finals. Mary Pierce’s impressive career and personal challenges shaped her journey both on and off the court, solidifying her legacy as one of the sport’s greats.

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FranceSprinterTrack & Field

Marie-José Pérec

Marie-José Pérec, born on 9 May 1968, is a retired French track and field sprinter who made a significant impact on the world of athletics. Specializing in the 200 and 400 meters, Pérec is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Champion in her respective events.

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FranceSoccer

Amandine Henry

Amandine Chantal Henry, born on September 28, 1989, in Lille, France, is a renowned French professional footballer who has made a significant impact on women’s soccer both nationally and internationally. She currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Angel City FC in the American National Women’s Soccer League and represents the France national team. Henry’s remarkable skills and leadership qualities have left an indelible mark on women’s soccer and her impact on the sport’s history cannot be overstated.

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FranceSprinterTrack & Field

Assia El Hannouni

Assia El Hannouni, born in Dijon, France, in 1981, is a French track and field athlete who has achieved remarkable success in the Paralympic sports scene. Despite facing the challenges of a severe visual impairment, she has emerged as a Paralympic legend, shattering world records and capturing the hearts of sports enthusiasts worldwide. Beyond her athletic achievements, El Hannouni is also a dedicated student pursuing a degree in journalism, reflecting her commitment to making an impact on and off the track.

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FranceSkier

Marielle Goitschel

Marielle Goitschel, born in 1945 in Sainte-Maxime, Var, emerged as one of the most successful athletes of the 1960s, achieving numerous victories and becoming a trailblazer for women in alpine skiing. Her exceptional skills and determination propelled her to great heights, and she secured gold and silver medals at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Goitschel’s playful nature and undeniable talent endeared her to fans and solidified her place in the history of skiing. Her legacy continues to inspire generations of female athletes.

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EnglandFranceScotland

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) became Queen of Scotland at just six days old after the death of her father. She married Francis, the Dauphin of France and later returned to Scotland. Mary’s reign was marked by religious and political turmoil, and she faced opposition from influential figures like John Knox. After a tumultuous marriage, imprisonment, and involvement in plots, Mary was executed at Fotheringhay Castle, becoming a martyr for Catholic supporters.

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FranceActivistJewish

Aimée Lallement

Marie-Aimée Éléonore Lallement, born on August 16, 1898, in Givet, France, was a prominent figure in the fields of community activism, socialism, and feminism. Best known for her exceptional athletic achievements in the 110m sprint and javelin throw, Lallement also played a significant role as a Righteous Among the Nations during World War II. Her life was filled with remarkable accomplishments, enduring struggles, and a lifelong dedication to improving society and empowering women.

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FranceUnited KingdomMuslim

Noor Inayat Khan

Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, also known as Nora Inayat-Khan and Nora Baker, was a British resistance agent in France during WWII. She was the first female wireless operator sent from the UK to aid the French Resistance. Noor was captured and executed at Dachau concentration camp. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her gallantry and remains an inspiration for bravery and dedication.

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FranceMilitary

Jeannette Guyot

Jeannette Guyot was a courageous French Resistance operative during World War II. She undertook dangerous missions, saved numerous lives, and provided invaluable intelligence to the Allies. Her remarkable achievements earned her recognition from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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FranceMilitaryWarrior

Joanna of Flanders

Joanna of Flanders was a remarkable figure in medieval history, known for her role in the War of the Breton Succession and her unwavering defense of her husband and son’s rights to the Duchy of Brittany. Her fiery personality and military prowess made her an iconic figure of strength during a turbulent period in history. Joanna’s determination in the face of adversity serves as an inspiration to women throughout history.

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FranceLatviaRussia

Maria Skobtsova

Maria Skobtsova, also known as Mother Maria of Paris, was a Russian noblewoman, poet, nun, and member of the French Resistance during World War II. Her life was marked by spirituality, social activism, and a relentless pursuit of justice. Maria’s commitment to social justice led her to found a house of hospitality in Paris, which became a refuge for many during the challenging years leading up to World War II. She actively resisted the Nazi occupation, saving countless lives. Sadly, she was arrested and executed in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, but her life remains an example of love, compassion, and resistance against injustice.

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FranceArtist

Marie-Thérèse Auffray

Marie-Thérèse Auffray (1912-1990) was a French painter and fighter in the French Resistance during World War II. Known for her expressionist works, she remained independent of the art market. Auffray exhibited her paintings in various galleries and her works were rediscovered in the 2000s through retrospectives organized by the Association MTA. No official awards or recognitions have been recorded for her.

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FranceWriter

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir, born in 1908, was a prominent French existentialist philosopher and feminist activist. Her extensive writings on philosophy, politics, and social issues, along with her groundbreaking work “The Second Sex,” established her as a key figure in feminist philosophy. Beauvoir’s influence extended beyond her literary contributions, as she actively fought for women’s rights and challenged societal norms. Despite controversy surrounding her personal life, Beauvoir’s work continues to inspire women to challenge gender inequality and advocate for their rights.

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FranceMathematician

Sophie Germain

Marie-Sophie Germain was a notable French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who defied societal barriers to become a pioneer in mathematics. Despite facing opposition and lacking formal education, she taught herself mathematics using her father’s library and corresponded with renowned mathematicians under a pseudonym. Germain made significant contributions to elasticity theory and worked on Fermat’s Last Theorem. Her achievements were not fully recognized during her lifetime, but her legacy has inspired future generations of mathematicians, particularly women, to pursue their passions relentlessly.

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FranceMathematicianPhysicist

Émilie du Châtelet

Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet, was a French natural philosopher and mathematician. Known for her translation of Isaac Newton’s book and her contributions to physics, she challenged societal norms and advocated for the education and empowerment of women. Her work has had a lasting impact on the intellectual and scientific landscape.

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FranceAstronomer

Jeanne Dumée

Jeanne Dumée (1660-1706), a French astronomer and author, made significant contributions to astronomy and challenged prevailing scientific beliefs. She published a groundbreaking work, “Entretiens sur l’opinion de Copernic touchant la mobilité de la terre,” showcasing her deep understanding of the subject and advocating for gender equality in the scientific community. Dumée’s legacy as a pioneering female astronomer paved the way for future generations.

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FranceUnited StatesAstrophysicist

France A. Córdova

France Anne-Dominic Córdova is an American astrophysicist and administrator who has made significant contributions to the field of science.

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FranceMoroccoAstronomer

Merieme Chadid

Merieme Chadid is a renowned Moroccan-French astronomer, explorer, and astrophysicist. With a deep passion for the mysteries of the universe, Chadid has dedicated her life to unraveling its secrets and expanding human knowledge. Growing up in a modest family, her fascination with astronomy ignited at the age of 12 when her brother gifted her a book by Johannes Kepler. This serendipitous event sparked a lifelong curiosity that would shape her future. Chadid’s educational journey began at the University of Hassan II Casablanca and she has since made significant contributions to the field of astronomy.

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FranceAstronomerMathematician

Nicole-Reine Lepaute

Nicole-Reine Lepaute, a French astronomer and mathematician, made significant contributions to astronomy during the 18th century. Despite being mostly self-taught, she exhibited exceptional intelligence from a young age and developed a fascination with comets. Lepaute’s marriage to a clockmaker allowed her to delve deeper into her scientific pursuits, and her collaboration with Jérôme Lalande on a clockmaking book showcased her calculative abilities. Her expertise in celestial predictions and involvement in the scientific community paved the way for future generations of female astronomers.

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FranceActivistMuslim

Ndella Paye

Ndella Paye Diouf, a militant French Afro-feminist and Muslim theologian, fights against the requirement for young Muslim women to wear the hijab in French schools. Born in Senegal circa 1974, she moved to France at 19 to join her diplomat father. Ndella’s work focuses on promoting racial and gender equality and empowering her three daughters. Her unique perspectives on religion embrace Islam while advocating for the equality of men and women.

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FranceActivist

Hubertine Auclert

Hubertine Auclert was a prominent French feminist and suffragist who played a vital role in advocating for women’s rights and suffrage in France. Despite facing challenges and a Roman Catholic upbringing, she became actively involved in feminist work and played a significant role in shaping public opinion on women’s suffrage. Her activism and contributions helped advance the feminist movement in France.

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FranceJewishJournalist

Françoise Giroud

Françoise Giroud, born Lea France Gourdji on September 21, 1916, in Lausanne, Switzerland, was a remarkable French journalist, screenwriter, writer, and politician. She made significant contributions to the fields of journalism, literature, and culture, becoming a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. Giroud’s dedication to women’s rights and cultural preservation led to her appointment as the Secretary of State for Women’s Affairs and later as the Minister of Culture. She was a trailblazer who left an indelible mark on French society.

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FranceJewishJournalist

Louise Weiss

Louise Weiss was a French author, journalist, feminist, and European politician, born in Arras, France in 1893. She dedicated her life to promoting women’s rights, social justice, and peace. Weiss played an important role in French politics, founded a hospital during World War I, and joined the French Resistance during World War II. She was a renowned figure in European politics and made significant contributions to the European Parliament. Weiss’s legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire future generations.

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EnglandFranceActivist

Emma Watson

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is an English actress, model, and activist. Known for her roles in both blockbusters and independent films, as well as for her women’s rights work, she has become a prominent figure in the entertainment industry. Watson was born in Paris, France, to lawyer parents Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson. She has a younger brother named Alex. At the age of five, her parents divorced, and she moved to England with her mother and brother. Growing up, Watson developed a passion for acting and took part in various school plays. She attended the Dragon School, an esteemed preparatory school in Oxford, England. In her pursuit of acting, Watson enrolled in the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts, where she honed her skills and gained confidence in her craft. She showcased her talent early on when she auditioned for the role of Hermione Granger in the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling book series, Harry Potter. Watson’s audition was a success, and she secured the role that would become her breakthrough.

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FranceActivistEducator

Assa Traoré

Assa Traoré, a French-Malian activist and leader of the Truth and Justice for Adama Committee, has dedicated herself to seeking justice for her half-brother, Adama Traoré, who died in police custody. Through her relentless pursuit of truth and commitment to challenging systemic racism, Assa Traoré has become an influential and powerful voice in the fight against racial injustice, receiving international recognition and awards for her work.

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FranceUnited StatesBallet

Rosella Hightower

Rosella Hightower was an American ballerina and member of the Choctaw Nation who achieved fame in both the United States and Europe. With her dedication and talent, she became known as the “newest star on the ballet horizon,” leaving a lasting impact on the world of dance.

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FranceCyclist

Jeannie Longo

Jeannie Longo, born in 1958 in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, is a French racing cyclist who has left an indelible mark on the sport. With an impressive record of 25 French championships and 13 world championships, Longo’s career is a testament to her exceptional talent and dedication to cycling. Despite facing challenges and suspicions of doping throughout her career, her impact on the sport and enduring influence on future generations of cyclists cannot be denied.

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FranceCyclist

Félicia Ballanger

Félicia Ballanger, born on June 12, 1971, in La Roche-sur-Yon, Vendée, is a retired French racing cyclist who has left an indelible mark on the world of track cycling. With an impressive career spanning from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, Ballanger distinguished herself as one of the most accomplished and dominant cyclists of her time.

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FranceKayaking

Émilie Fer

Émilie Fer, born in 1983 in Saint-Maurice, is a French slalom kayaker who has achieved Olympic and world championship titles. Her remarkable career began in 1996 at the SPCOC La Colle-St Paul club in La Colle-sur-Loup. She became the first Frenchwoman to secure an Olympic gold medal in canoe-kayak slalom at the London 2012 Games. Her accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the sport and inspired future generations of athletes.

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AustraliaFranceCanoeing

Jessica Fox

Jessica Fox, born on June 11, 1994, in Marseille, France, is a French-born Australian Program and Policy Officer and world and Olympic champion slalom canoeist. She has achieved remarkable success in her career, including multiple Olympic medals and an impressive tally of 19 medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. With her resilience, determination, and unwavering pursuit of excellence, Fox has solidified her status as the greatest individual paddler in history.

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FranceJournalistMountaineer

Marie Marvingt

Marie Marvingt was a remarkable French athlete, mountaineer, aviator, and journalist who made significant contributions in various fields during her lifetime. Known for her relentless pursuit of excellence, Marvingt achieved great success and broke down barriers in multiple sports and professions.

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FranceBoxer

Anne Sophie Mathis

Anne Sophie Mathis, the French former professional boxer, had an illustrious career from 1995 to 2016, becoming one of the most influential figures in women’s boxing. Known for her remarkable punching power, Mathis held world titles in multiple weight divisions and achieved a significant victory over Holly Holm. Despite setbacks, Mathis’s resilience and dedication continue to inspire generations of female athletes.

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FranceAviationPilot

Suzanne Jannin

Suzanne Henriette Jannin, a remarkable French woman, was an accomplished dentist, resistance fighter, and air force pilot. Her courageous actions during the German occupation of France earned her recognition and respect. Jannin’s dedication to serving her country and breaking gender barriers made her a true heroine in the history of women’s accomplishments.

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FranceAstronautDoctor

Claudie Haigneré

Claudie Haigneré, renowned French doctor, politician, and former astronaut, made significant contributions to space exploration throughout her career. She became the first French woman in space in 1996 and later commanded a Soyuz capsule during reentry in 1999, becoming the first woman qualified to do so. Haigneré’s achievements as an astronaut, combined with her work in politics and science, have left an indelible mark on society.

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FranceUnited StatesActivist

Sara Yorke Stevenson

Sara Yorke Stevenson was an American archaeologist, suffragist, and women’s rights activist. She played a vital role in the establishment of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and was the first curator of the Egyptian Collection. Stevenson’s remarkable contributions to the field of archaeology, as well as her activism for women’s rights, continue to inspire and empower women today.

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FranceArchaeologistWriter

Christiane Desroches Noblecourt

Christiane Desroches Noblecourt was a prominent figure in the field of Egyptology. She became captivated by the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, which led to her joining the Egyptian Antiquities department at the Louvre. She became the first woman to lead archaeological excavations, played a vital role in saving the treasures of the Louvre during World War II, and advocated for the preservation of ancient Nubian temples. Her contributions and dedication to the field continue to inspire future generations.

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FranceArchaeologistJournalist

Jeanne Leuba

Jeanne Leuba was a French journalist, writer, and poet known for her extensive experience in Indochina and Cambodia. Her works shed light on the cultures, histories, and arts of these regions. Despite facing numerous challenges, Leuba made significant contributions to the fields of journalism, literature, and archaeology, establishing herself as an influential figure in women’s history.

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FranceActivist

Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges, a French playwright and political activist, is best known for her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, advocating for women’s rights and abolitionism. Despite her tragic end, she played a significant role in advocating for equality and justice during the French Revolution.

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FranceActivist

Marie-Thérèse Lucidor Corbin

Marie-Thérèse Lucidor Corbin was an 18th-century French Creole activist who made significant contributions to the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. Born in Paris, France in 1749, she was the daughter of a former slave and a white Frenchwoman. Despite facing hardships and poverty, Marie-Thérèse fought for justice and freedom. She was involved in protests and even claimed to have been instructed by government officials to find thieves. Her activism eventually led to the abolition of slavery and she left a lasting impact on society.

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FranceSwimmer

Christine “Kiki” Caron

Christine “Kiki” Caron, born in 1948, made a significant impact on the world of swimming as a French former backstroke swimmer. She achieved both national and international success, winning gold in the 100m backstroke at the 1966 European Aquatics Championships and a silver medal in the 100m backstroke at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Caron’s legacy as a trailblazer in women’s swimming continues to inspire future generations of female athletes.

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FranceLong JumperSprinter

Marie-Amélie Le Fur

Marie-Amélie Le Fur, a French Paralympic athlete born in 1988, overcame a life-altering amputation of her left leg to become a renowned T44 sprinter and F44 long jumper. Her indomitable spirit and exceptional talent led her to win numerous medals at the Paralympic Games, setting world records along the way. Le Fur’s inspiring journey serves as a testament to the power of determination and resilience.

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FranceNurse

Andrée Borrel

Andrée Raymonde Borrel, also known as Denise, was a French resistance fighter and agent for Britain’s clandestine Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II. Her courageous work as a courier for the Prosper network played a vital role in supporting the resistance movement and combating the Nazi occupation. Tragically, she was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually executed in 1944.

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FranceMartial Artist

Martine Rottier

Martine Rottier, a prominent figure in the world of judo, was born on February 18, 1957, in France. Her journey in the sport began at a young age, and her passion for judo grew over the years, ultimately leading her to become one of the most successful martial artists of her time.

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FranceSpy

Yolande Beekman

Yolande Elsa Maria Beekman, born in 1911 in Paris, was a remarkable British spy in World War II. With her unwavering dedication and impressive skills, she made significant contributions to the war effort as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE). However, her brave efforts came to an abrupt end when she was arrested by the Gestapo and ultimately executed in the Dachau concentration camp.

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FranceBusiness

Christine Goitschel

Christine Béranger-Goitschel, born on June 9, 1944, in Sainte-Maxime, Var, was a French alpine skier known for her impressive career and achievements. Alongside her sister Marielle, she dominated the alpine skiing scene by winning first and second place in both slalom and giant slalom events at the 1964 Olympic Games. Christine’s legacy extends beyond her personal success, as she inspired future generations of female athletes and contributed to the advancement of women’s skiing.

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FranceSkier

Carole Montillet

Carole Montillet-Carles, born in April 7, 1973, in Grenoble, France, is a highly accomplished alpine skier and rally-raid driver. She holds the distinction of being the first French skier to win an Olympic medal since Marielle Goitschel in 2002. Montillet’s notable achievements include winning the 2005 Super-G World Cup and earning eight World Cup victories in total, four in downhill and four in Super-G.

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FranceSnowboarder

Karine Ruby

Karine Ruby, a French snowboarder, made history by winning the gold medal in the giant slalom event at the 1998 Winter Olympics. She became the first woman to achieve this feat, solidifying her place in snowboarding history. Ruby’s remarkable achievements and dedication to the sport continue to inspire athletes worldwide.

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FranceSnowboarder

Isabelle Blanc

Isabelle Blanc, born in Nîmes, France on July 25, 1975, is a renowned French snowboarder. She had an impressive career in snowboarding, winning multiple championships and becoming the first-ever junior world champion in snowboarding in 1994. Blanc’s exceptional achievements showcased her skill, determination, and unwavering focus, making her a dominant force in women’s snowboarding. She also diversified her expertise after retiring from professional snowboarding, delving into new media, politics, and becoming an independent ski and snowboard instructor.

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FranceSoccer

Delphine Cascarino

Delphine Cascarino is a French professional footballer who has gained recognition for her exceptional skills as an Attacker (Winger) for Lyon and the France national team. She has achieved great success, winning three UEFA Women’s Champions League titles and three Division 1 titles. Despite a knee injury in 2017 and an ACL injury in 2023, Cascarino continues to be a valuable asset to both her club and national team. Her multicultural background further enhances her perspective as a player, making her an influential figure in women’s football.

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FranceSoccer

Eugénie Le Sommer

Eugénie Anne Claudine Le Sommer, born on 18 May 1989 in France, is a highly accomplished professional footballer known for her exceptional skills as a forward. Le Sommer is one of the most decorated players in modern women’s club football, holding multiple records for her incredible goal-scoring abilities. Her success extends from her achievements in both club and international competitions.

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FranceDiverDiving

Simone Melchior-Cousteau

Simone Cousteau (née Melchior; 19 January 1919 – 1 December 1990) was a French explorer and a pioneering figure in the world of underwater exploration. She was the first woman scuba diver and aquanaut, and she played a vital role as the wife and business partner of renowned undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Simone’s contributions to their work were instrumental, despite her absence from the limelight in the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau series. She acted as a mother, healer, nurse, and psychiatrist to the all-male crew for an incredible span of 40 years, earning her the affectionate nickname “La Bergère,” the Shepherdess. Simone was not merely a supportive partner, but a driving force behind the success of their endeavors.

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FranceJournalist

Ghislaine Dupont

Ghislaine Dupont, a French journalist, dedicated her career to investigative journalism, specializing in African issues. Her work covered a wide range of topics and conflicts, and she was known for her in-depth reporting on the continent’s challenges. Tragically, she was abducted and killed in Mali in 2013, highlighting the dangers faced by reporters in conflict zones. Dupont’s legacy lives on through scholarships and awards in her name.

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FrancePirate

Anne Dieu-le-Veut

Anne Dieu-le-Veut, a French pirate who lived from 1661 to 1710, was one of the few known female buccaneers. Her early life is shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that she was deported to French Tortuga as a criminal. After marrying buccaneer Pierre Lelong, who tragically died in a fight, she went on to marry Laurens de Graaf, a famous buccaneer. Anne’s life is an intriguing look into the world of 17th-century piracy.

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AlgeriaFranceBallet

Mariquita

Mariquita, also known as Madame Mariquita, was an Algerian-born dancer who became a successful choreographer and ballet mistress in Paris from the 1870s to 1920. She modernized French ballet, creating nearly 300 ballets in her career. Although not well-documented, her contemporaries considered her one of the best choreographers of her time.

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FrancePirate

Jeanne de Clisson

Jeanne de Clisson (1300–1359), also known as Jeanne de Belleville and the Lioness of Brittany, was a French/Breton former noblewoman who became a privateer to avenge her husband after he was executed for treason by the French king. She crossed the English Channel targeting French ships and often slaughtering their crew. It was her practice to leave at least one sailor alive to carry her message of vengeance to the King of France.

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