Culture & Identity

United StatesAfrican AmericanGymnast

Simone Biles

Simone Biles Owens is renowned as the greatest gymnast of all time, redefining the sport with her extraordinary achievements and groundbreaking skills. Adopted by her grandparents, she began her training at a young age and quickly made her mark on the international stage. Biles’ triumph not only highlights her remarkable talent, but also her unwavering commitment to prioritize mental health and well-being. Her influence extends beyond gymnastics, inspiring women and girls worldwide to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

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United StatesBlindDeaf

Laura Bridgman

Laura Dewey Lynn Bridgman (1829-1889) was the first deaf-blind American child to receive a significant education in the English language. Educated at the Perkins Institution for the Blind, under the guidance of Samuel Gridley Howe, Bridgman learned to read and communicate using Braille and the manual alphabet. Although she gained celebrity status after being visited by Charles Dickens, she spent much of her life in relative obscurity, passing her time sewing and reading books in Braille at the Perkins Institute. Her groundbreaking achievements paved the way for advancements in deaf-blind education.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGovernment

Millie Bailey

Millie Bailey, born Vivian Mildred Corbett on February 3, 1918, in Washington, D.C., was an outstanding figure in American history… She will forever be remembered as a trailblazer, a champion for equality, and an inspiration to generations to come.

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JapanUnited StatesActivist

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was a civil rights activist known for her tireless advocacy and commitment to social justice. Influenced by her family’s experience in an American internment camp, her association with figures like Malcolm X, and her beliefs, Kochiyama fought for the rights of marginalized communities. Her lifelong dedication to social justice continues to inspire activists worldwide.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDancer

Raven Wilkinson

Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to break the color barrier in classical ballet, paved the way for future generations of dancers. Despite facing discrimination and limited opportunities, Wilkinson’s unwavering determination and talent propelled her through the ranks of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her legacy continues to inspire countless individuals, reminding us that talent knows no boundaries.

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IndiaActivistActor

Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam, a transgender rights activist, artist, actress, writer, inspirational speaker, and entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, has faced numerous challenges and struggles in her life. However, her resilience and determination have made her a powerful advocate for transgender rights in India. Through her activism, artistic contributions, and entrepreneurial ventures, Kalki has paved the way for greater acceptance and inclusion of transgender individuals in society.

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United StatesActivistDoctor

Susan La Flesche Picotte

Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915) was a Native American medical doctor and reformer who became the first Indigenous woman to earn a medical degree. She dedicated her life to improving public health and advocating for the rights of Native Americans. Picotte established the first hospital on the Omaha Reservation and played a pivotal role in advancing the rights and well-being of Native American communities.

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SudanAfrican AmericanArtist

Shanakdakhete

Shanakdakhete, the renowned queen of the Kingdom of Kush, was a trailblazer and the earliest known ruling African queen of ancient Nubia. She ruled the Meroë Empire with absolute power and accomplished this without a king by her side, breaking the male-dominated governance of the time. Besides her political achievements, Shanakdakhete played a significant role in the Meroitic religion and her name is immortalized in history through inscriptions in Egyptian Meroitic hieroglyphs. She left a lasting legacy as one of the most remarkable queens of ancient Nubia, challenging traditional gender roles and paving the way for future generations of women in positions of authority.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Mahala Ashley Dickerson

Mahala Ashley Dickerson was a trailblazing American lawyer and civil rights advocate who played a significant role in breaking racial and gender barriers in the legal profession. Despite facing discrimination and prejudice, she became the first African American female attorney admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1948. Dickerson’s resilience and determination paved the way for future generations of women attorneys and made her an inspiration in the fight for social justice.

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United StatesChemistLGBTQIA

Carolyn Bertozzi

Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi, born in 1966 in Boston, Massachusetts, is an American chemist and Nobel laureate. Her groundbreaking work bridges the fields of chemistry and biology, particularly in bioorthogonal chemistry. Throughout her career, Bertozzi has made significant contributions to the understanding of glycans and their role in diseases like cancer and viral infections. She has also been a prominent advocate for diversity and inclusivity in academia and science. In 2022, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.

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United StatesBoxerLGBTQIA

Gina Guidi

Gina “Boom Boom” Guidi, born on May 19, 1962, in California, is a professional female boxer hailing from San Francisco. Throughout her career, she has showcased her strength, determination, and unwavering commitment to the sport, earning her the reputation as a true champion inside and outside the ring. Guidi’s impact on the world of boxing and her contributions to society extend far beyond her accolades, making her an influential figure in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Donna P. Davis

Donna P. Davis, the first African-American woman to serve as a medical doctor in the United States Navy, broke barriers and paved the way for future generations. She pursued her passion for medicine from a young age and excelled academically, earning multiple accolades. After achieving her doctorate in medicine, she joined the Navy and provided medical care to service members. Davis continues to practice medicine and inspire others with her trailblazing achievements.

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GermanyJudgeLGBTQIA

Susanne Baer

Susanne Baer, a German legal scholar and judge, has made significant contributions to public law and gender studies. With a strong passion for constitutional law and anti-discrimination, she has played an instrumental role in shaping German law and advancing women’s rights. Baer’s dedication to gender equality and her commitment to upholding constitutional values have had a profound impact on society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Claudia L. Thomas

Claudia L. Thomas, the first African-American female orthopedic surgeon in the United States, was born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Inspired by her childhood pediatrician, Claudia pursued a career in medicine and overcame discrimination and hardships to achieve groundbreaking success. She has also been an advocate for increasing minority representation in medical school and combatting racial bias in healthcare.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Nicole M. Joseph

Nicole M. Joseph is an American mathematician and scholar of mathematics education. Her research focuses on the experiences of African-American girls and women in mathematics, the effects of white supremacist reactions to their work in mathematics, and the intersectional nature of educational inequity. She has authored and edited several books and was awarded the Louise Hay Award for her contributions to mathematics education.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks, born Loretta Pleasant in 1920, had a profound impact on medical research. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Lacks is best known as the unwitting donor of the HeLa cell line, which revolutionized science and medicine. Her enduring legacy serves as a testament to the important role that individuals, like Lacks, can play in shaping the future of medicine.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Betty Osceola

Betty Osceola is a Native American Everglades educator and conservationist. She has dedicated her life to preserving the unique ecosystem of the Everglades, using her Native American heritage and passion for the environment as motivation. Through her involvement in prayer walks and activism, she has raised awareness about environmental issues and become an influential figure in protecting the environment and Indigenous communities.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason, an African-American nurse and real estate entrepreneur, overcame the challenges of slavery to become a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Her expertise in medicine, child care, and livestock care made her a valuable asset to her owners. After gaining her freedom, Biddy’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to invest in real estate, becoming a successful landowner. She used her resources to help those in need, leaving behind a legacy of strength and compassion.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGeographer

Dawn Wright

Dawn Jeannine Wright is an American geographer and oceanographer who made significant contributions to the field of ocean and coastal science. She is widely regarded as a leading authority in the application of geographic information system (GIS) technology to the study of the oceans. Throughout her career, Wright achieved numerous milestones and garnered recognition for her groundbreaking work and dedication to education.

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United StatesActorAsian American

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling, born Vera Mindy Chokalingam on June 24, 1979, is an American actress, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. She has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry and has received numerous accolades for her work. Kaling’s impact and influence extend beyond her impressive resume, as she has become an inspiration and role model for many.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Oleta Crain

Oleta Lawanda Crain, an African-American military officer and federal civil servant, fought for black women’s rights and desegregation. Serving in the United States Air Force for 20 years, she was one of the three African Americans out of 300 women nationwide who entered officer training in the U.S. military in 1943. After retiring from the military, Crain became a regional administrator of the Women’s Bureau in Denver, Colorado, advocating for employment rights and career opportunities for women. She received numerous awards for her outstanding contributions.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Jenny Slew

Jenny Slew (1719 – after 1765) is known for being one of the first black Americans to successfully sue for her freedom through a trial by jury. Her life was marked by perseverance and a determination to assert her rights, making her a trailblazer in the fight against slavery and an important figure in women’s history.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Lenora Spencer (born May 25, 1970) is an American actress and producer. She is widely recognized for her incredible talent and has received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career. As the first black actress to receive two consecutive Oscar nominations, Spencer has made a significant impact on the film industry and has been a trailblazer for diversity and equality.

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United StatesIndigenousMilitary

Buffalo Calf Road Woman

Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a remarkable Northern Cheyenne woman, displayed immense courage and loyalty during the Battle of the Rosebud and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Her heroic acts, including saving her wounded brother and striking the blow that knocked Lieutenant Colonel Custer off his horse, inspired the Cheyenne warriors. Her legacy as a symbol of strength and resilience continues to inspire generations of Cheyenne women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman overcame barriers as an African-American and Native American aviator, becoming the first of both to hold a pilot license. Her groundbreaking achievements opened doors for women and people of color in aviation. Tragically, her life was cut short in a plane crash at the age of 34, leaving behind an enduring legacy of courage and inspiration.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Mary Emilie Holmes

Mary Emilie Holmes was a pioneering American geologist and educator who made significant contributions to the fields of geology and women’s education. She became the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America and played a crucial role in establishing an educational institution for young black women that later became Mary Holmes College. Her dedication to women’s education and groundbreaking achievements in geology left a lasting impact on society.

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UgandaActivistLGBTQIA

Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro

Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro is a Ugandan transgender woman and human rights activist. Growing up in Bakuli, Uganda, Cleopatra faced numerous challenges as she navigated her transition. She pursued higher education at Makerere University and now holds the position of Director of Programmes for UHAI EASHRI, an organization dedicated to supporting the sexual health and rights of marginalized communities. Cleopatra’s tireless efforts in advocating for equality and social justice make her an inspiring figure in women’s history.

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United StatesActivistJewish

Debra Kolodny

Debra Kolodny is a prominent figure in the fields of bisexual rights activism and congregational rabbinic ministry. Throughout their life, Kolodny has played a crucial role in advocating for the rights and acceptance of bisexual individuals within religious communities. Their relentless dedication to social justice and their pioneering work have made a lasting impact on both the LGBTQ+ community and religious organizations.

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United StatesActivistJewish

Madeline Davis

Madeline Davis, an American LGBT activist and historian, dedicated her life to advocating for gay rights and preserving the history of the lesbian community in Buffalo, New York. From co-founding the first gay rights organization in Western New York to becoming the first openly lesbian delegate at a major party national convention, Davis made significant contributions to LGBTQ+ rights. Her groundbreaking book, “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community,” remains an important work in LGBTQ+ history.

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United StatesAsian AmericanBaseball

Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy was a remarkable trailblazer and the first female gunnery officer in the United States Navy. Born in 1915 in Los Angeles, California, she made lasting contributions to the military, defying societal expectations and breaking through barriers to serve her country with courage and distinction. Her legacy as a pioneer in the Navy and her advocacy for women’s rights continue to inspire generations of women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston

Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston (1919-1998) was a trailblazing black female American lawyer and judge who overcame numerous obstacles to make significant contributions to the legal profession. Her determination and commitment to justice defined her remarkable career, which served as a powerful symbol of progress for black women in the legal field.

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Great BritainAfrican AmericanSprinter

Anita Neil

Doris “Anita” Neil OLY (born 5 April 1950) is a retired British international sprinter. In 1968, she became the first black British woman Olympian. Eventually, the lack of a coach, insufficient training facilities, and the need to support her family financially forced Neil into early retirement at just 23 years old.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Aprille Ericsson-Jackson

Aprille J. Ericsson-Jackson is an American aerospace engineer, known for being the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Her groundbreaking achievements and dedication to promoting STEM education make her an inspiring figure in women’s history.

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United StatesLGBTQIATrack & Field

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Marie Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, was born on October 28, 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York. Her parents, Esther Ruth (née McGuire) and William Hugh Jenner, raised her alongside her younger brother, Burt. Jenner’s father, originally from New Brunswick, Canada, worked as an arborist. With a diverse ancestry including English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, and Welsh roots, Jenner grew up in a loving and supportive household.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanScholar

Lois Rice

Lois Ann Dickson Fitt Rice was an accomplished American corporate executive, scholar, and education policy expert. She fought for greater access to higher education for all students. Rice’s groundbreaking work as a lobbyist for the creation of the Pell Grant program earned her the title of the “mother of the Pell Grant.” Moreover, she was one of the first African-American women to serve on the boards of major US corporations, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations.

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ArgentinaActivistLGBTQIA

Claudia Pía Baudracco

Claudia Pía Baudracco (1970-2012) was an Argentine activist who fought for the rights of women, sexual minorities, and LGBT people. Despite facing discrimination and mistreatment, she co-founded the Association of Cross-dressers of Argentina and played a significant role in campaigning for the repeal of laws criminalizing trans identities. Baudracco also advocated for the approval of the Gender Identity Law in Argentina, granting transgender individuals the right to choose their name and access healthcare. Sadly, she passed away before benefitting from the healthcare provisions she fought for.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Ionia Rollin Whipper

Ionia Rollin Whipper, an American obstetrician and public health outreach worker, dedicated her life to improving the health and well-being of marginalized communities, especially African-American women and their children. Overcoming significant barriers as one of the few African-American women physicians of her generation, she made lasting impacts on society and paved the way for future generations of African-American women in medicine.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Gayle King

Gayle King (born December 28, 1954) is an American television personality, author, and broadcast journalist for CBS News. She is best known for co-hosting its flagship morning program, CBS Mornings, and before that its predecessor CBS This Morning. In addition, she serves as an editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine. King has made a significant impact on the media landscape and has been recognized as one of the most influential personalities in recent years.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPhysicist

Carolyn Parker

Carolyn Beatrice Parker, a pioneering physicist, made significant contributions to nuclear research. She came from a family that valued education and scientific pursuits, with several of her siblings earning degrees in natural science or mathematics. Parker’s outstanding academic achievements marked the beginning of a remarkable career in scientific research. Despite her untimely passing at the age of 48, Parker’s contributions and trailblazing achievements continue to inspire generations of scientists.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer, a prominent civil rights activist, dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. Despite facing poverty and discrimination, she persevered and became actively involved in voter registration drives and community organizing efforts. Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and played a vital role in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. Her legacy as an advocate for justice and empowerment continues to inspire future generations.

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NorwayDeafDisabled

Trude Raad

Trude Raad, born on April 27, 1990, is a deaf Norwegian track and field athlete who has left an indelible mark on the sport. Known for her exceptional skills in the discus throw and hammer throw events, Trude has consistently represented Norway at various international competitions throughout her career.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Gloria Blackwell

Gloria Blackwell, also known as Gloria Rackley, was an African-American civil rights activist and educator. She played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement in Orangeburg during the 1960s, challenging racial segregation and inspiring others to fight for equality. Despite facing personal loss and adversity, she continued to pursue education and empowerment. Blackwell’s activism brought her both praise and criticism, but she remained resilient and determined, leaving a lasting impact on American history.

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SpainHurdlerIntersex

Maria José Martínez-Patiño

Maria José Martínez-Patiño is a former Spanish hurdler who made headlines when she was dismissed from the Spanish Olympic team in 1986 due to failing a gender test. Despite this setback, she successfully fought for her right to compete and participated in the 1992 Olympics. Martínez-Patiño has since become an advocate for intersex athletes’ rights and privacy, contributing to the ongoing debate on sex testing in sports.

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ChinaActorChoreographer

Jin Xing

Jin Xing, born in 1967 in Shenyang, China, is a remarkable Chinese ballerina, modern dancer, choreographer, actress, and the founder and artistic director of the contemporary dance company Shanghai. She is widely celebrated as a transgender celebrity whose contributions to the world of dance and her advocacy for gender equality have made her an influential figure in society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Pamela McGee

Pamela Denise McGee, a pioneer in women’s basketball, is known for her lasting impact on the sport. From her high school achievements to her successful college career at USC and her gold medal win in the Olympics, McGee’s dedication, talent, and perseverance have solidified her place in history. Her impressive basketball career has earned her a spot in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Florrie R. Burke

Florrie Burke, a renowned human rights advocate, has dedicated her life to combating human trafficking. Her sustained dedication and unparalleled leadership in this field led to her receiving the inaugural Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in 2013. With her expertise in victim-centered approaches and collaborative efforts between criminal justice and victim care providers, Florrie Burke has made significant contributions to the fight against modern slavery. Her impact extends beyond the United States, as she has conducted training and consultations internationally and contributed to global efforts at the UNODC in Vienna.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSprinter

Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph, an American sprinter, overcame childhood polio to become an Olympic champion and an international sports icon. Her determination and willpower propelled her to win three gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics, making her the first American woman to achieve this feat. Rudolph’s remarkable achievements inspired future generations of athletes, breaking down racial and gender barriers along the way. She passed away in 1994, leaving behind a lasting legacy in civil rights and women’s rights.

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United StatesDisabledSkier

Candace Cable

Candace Cable, born in 1954, is a remarkable athlete and inspiration to millions. Her achievements as a Paralympian and pioneer in disability sports have solidified her place in history. Cable’s impact on society, particularly in promoting inclusivity, cannot be understated.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Annie Easley

Annie Jean Easley, an American computer scientist and rocket scientist, overcame barriers and discrimination to become one of the first African-Americans to work at NASA. Her groundbreaking work in aerospace technology and her advocacy for inclusivity continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Andrea Hayes-Jordan

Andrea A. Hayes-Jordan Dixon is an American surgeon known for her groundbreaking work in pediatric surgery. She has saved countless lives by performing high-risk procedures and developing innovative treatments for pediatric cancer. Despite facing numerous challenges in her career, Hayes-Jordan has become a trailblazer and role model in the field, inspiring future generations of surgeons and challenging societal norms.

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United StatesGovernmentJewish

Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin, born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, is an American politician and lawyer who made history as the first openly LGBT woman elected to the United States Senate. Throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate for progressive policies, including Medicare for All, LGBTQ+ rights, and gun control. Baldwin’s dedication and perseverance have made a lasting impact on American society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Julia Pearl Hughes

Julia Pearl Hughes (March 19, 1873 – September 14, 1950), also known as Julia P. H. Coleman or Julia Coleman-Robinson, was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, social activist, and business executive. She was a trailblazer in various fields and made significant contributions to her community and society as a whole… Julia Pearl Hughes was born in Melville Township, Alamance County, North Carolina on March 19, 1873… leaving a lasting impact on women’s history.

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BrazilAfrican AmericanBasketball

Hortencia Marcari

Hortência Marcari, known as “The Queen,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest female basketball players in Brazilian history. Her remarkable skills and talent have earned her a place in prestigious halls of fame and she has left an indelible mark on the sport.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Eliza Ann Gardner

Eliza Ann Gardner was a prominent African-American abolitionist, women’s rights leader, and religious figure. Born in New York City and raised in Boston’s African-American community, she was surrounded by activism and the fight against slavery. Despite societal constraints, Gardner excelled academically and became a respected figure in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. She founded the Zion Missionary Society and played a key role in advocating for women’s rights within the church. Gardner’s unwavering commitment to equality and justice made her a pivotal figure in the fight for social change.

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United StatesBusinessDisabled

Sarah Doherty

Sarah Doherty (1959-2023) was an amputee mountaineer, ski racer, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. Despite losing her right leg at the age of 13, Sarah became a trailblazer and icon in the world of adaptive sports. Her accomplishments included becoming an accomplished skier, summiting mountains like Mount Rainier and Mount McKinley, and founding SideStix Ventures Inc., a company focused on creating innovative crutch designs. Sarah’s resilience and determination continue to inspire individuals with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a prominent American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and writer. Raised by her aunt and uncle, she received a strong education and developed a passion for literature. As one of the first African-American women to be published in the U.S., Harper used her writing and powerful oratory skills to advocate for the rights of African Americans and women. Her impact extended beyond her words, as she founded and supported progressive organizations, leaving an indelible mark on the fight for equality and justice.

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BangladeshBlindDisabled

Rumana Monzur

Rumana Monzur, a Bangladeshi woman, became a symbol of resilience after being brutally attacked and blinded by her husband for wanting to pursue higher education. Despite her traumatic experience, Rumana continued her studies and achieved a law degree. She now advocates for women’s rights, using her story to inspire others and raise awareness about domestic violence and gender inequality.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree around 1797, was an influential American abolitionist and activist for African-American civil rights, women’s rights, and alcohol temperance. She faced the hardships of slavery but managed to escape to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826. Truth’s life was full of remarkable achievements and courageous acts, making her an iconic figure in history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Louise Stokes Hunter

Ella Louise Stokes Hunter, a renowned American mathematics educator, dedicated her life to teaching and mentoring students. With a passion for mathematics and education, she became the first African-American woman to earn a degree from Harvard University. Her groundbreaking achievements and unwavering commitment to the field of education continue to inspire and shape the field of mathematics education today.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSinger

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald, known as the “First Lady of Song,” the “Queen of Jazz,” and “Lady Ella,” stands as one of the most accomplished and influential jazz singers in history. Born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, Fitzgerald’s remarkable talent and enduring legacy have forever etched their mark on the world of music.

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United StatesAsian AmericanSinger

Norah Jones

Norah Jones, the American singer, songwriter, and pianist, has left an indelible mark on the music industry. With her unique blend of jazz, country, blues, folk, and pop, she has captivated audiences around the world. Jones’s remarkable vocal abilities and heartfelt lyrics have earned her numerous accolades, including nine Grammy Awards. Her music serves as a testament to the power of artistic expression and its ability to transcend boundaries.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMountaineer

Rosemary Saal

Rosemary Saal is an American mountaineer who has made significant contributions to the field of outdoor exploration. She shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future climbers of color by becoming a member of the first all African American climbing team to summit Denali in 2013 and part of the first all-Black U.S. expedition team to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2022. Saal’s resilience, strength, and determination have made her a trailblazer in the world of mountaineering while advocating for diversity and inclusion in the outdoor community.

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IcelandGovernmentLGBTQIA

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, born on October 4, 1942, in Reykjavík, Iceland, is a prominent Icelandic politician who served as the prime minister of Iceland from 2009 to 2013. She made significant contributions to social affairs and gender equality throughout her three-decade-long political career. As Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly LGBT head of government, Jóhanna shattered barriers and became an inspiration for many.

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United StatesLGBTQIATransgender

Amy Schneider

Amy Schneider (born May 29, 1979) is an American writer and game show contestant. She rose to fame after winning 40 consecutive games on the quiz show Jeopardy! from November 2021 to January 2022, holding the second-longest win streak in the program’s history. With her impressive performance, she became the most successful woman and the most successful transgender contestant ever to compete on the show.

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AustraliaActivistIndigenous

Jessie Street

Jessie Mary Grey, Lady Street, was an Australian diplomat and suffragette who dedicated over 50 years of her life to fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. She played a crucial role in advocating for gender equality at the United Nations, ensuring the inclusion of gender as a non-discrimination clause in the United Nations Charter. Her unwavering commitment to social justice and her lasting impact on gender equality continue to inspire women around the world.

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AustraliaBalletDancer

Ella Havelka

Ella Havelka, born in 1989, is an Australian ballet dancer and the first Indigenous person to join The Australian Ballet. She overcame setbacks and discrimination to become a member of the prestigious company, making history and promoting diversity and representation in the arts. Havelka’s journey as a ballet dancer and her groundbreaking achievements have inspired aspiring dancers, Indigenous communities, and women everywhere.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Minnie M. Kenny

Minnie M. Kenny (1929–August 17, 2005) was a cryptanalyst, educator, and equal opportunity activist who made significant contributions at the National Security Agency (NSA). Throughout her career, she demonstrated exceptional expertise in cryptanalysis, language, and traffic analysis, earning her prestigious awards and recognition. Kenny played a crucial role in transforming the field of cryptography and promoting diversity within the intelligence community.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, born Rebecca Davis, overcame racial and gender barriers to become the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree in the United States. She published her seminal work, “A Book of Medical Discourses,” and dedicated her career to providing medical care to marginalized communities. Her pioneering achievements paved the way for future generations of African-American women in medicine.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Alma Levant Hayden

Alma Levant Hayden, an American chemist, was a pioneering figure in the field of science. Making significant contributions to spectroscopy, she became one of the first African-American women to hold a scientist position at a science agency in Washington, D.C. Her research on Krebiozen further contributed to increased drug safety regulations. Her achievements continue to inspire future generations in the field of chemistry.

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United StatesAsian AmericanBroadcaster

Connie Chung

Constance Yu-Hwa Chung, an American journalist born in 1946, has had an impressive career in broadcast news. From conducting famous interviews with influential figures to sharing her own experiences of sexual harassment, Chung’s impact on the industry has been significant. Her dedication to reporting the truth and ability to connect with her audience make her an influential figure in American media.

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SpainDisabledGovernment

Ángela Bachiller

Ángela Covadonga Bachiller, Spain’s first city councillor with Down syndrome, has overcome obstacles to become a prominent figure in her community. Bachiller’s determination, along with the support of her family, has laid the foundation for her success. She has made significant contributions as an administrative assistant and as a city councillor, becoming a symbol of empowerment for individuals with disabilities. Bachiller’s journey serves as an inspiration and a reminder of the importance of inclusion and equal opportunities for all.

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United StatesActivistAsian American

Mari Matsuda

Mari J. Matsuda is an American lawyer, activist, and law professor known for her influential work in critical race theory. Born in 1956, she has made significant contributions to the field of law and has been a strong advocate for social justice and civil rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Bridgette Gordon

Bridgette C. Gordon was a talented American professional basketball player who made a significant impact on the sport. She played for the University of Tennessee and helped the team win two national championships. Gordon also represented the United States in international competitions, including the Olympics, where she won a gold medal. Her contributions to women’s basketball earned her a well-deserved spot in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Merryl Tengesdal

Merryl Tengesdal, the first and only Black woman to fly the United States Air Force’s U-2 spy plane, has made significant contributions to the field of aviation. Her achievements are even more remarkable considering the limited representation of women and minorities in the U-2 program. Tengesdal’s determination and resilience serve as an inspiration to aspiring aviators, especially women and minorities.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Waunetta McClellan Dominic

Waunetta McClellan Dominic was a Native American rights activist known for her advocacy for the United States government to fulfill its treaty obligations to Native Americans. She co-founded the Northern Michigan Ottawa Association and played a key role in winning a claim against the government for compensation under 19th-century treaties. Dominic was also a strong supporter of Native American fishing rights. Her dedication and influence were widely recognized, and she was awarded the “Michiganian of the Year” by The Detroit News in 1979 and posthumously inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Kathryn Peddrew

Kathryn Peddrew was an African-American mathematician, engineer, and scientist who made significant contributions to aerospace technology and medical science. She played a crucial role in the NACA and NASA, working as a “human computer” and aerospace technologist. Her groundbreaking research at the National Institutes of Health on cancer and tuberculosis treatments helped save lives. Despite facing racial and gender barriers, Peddrew’s perseverance paved the way for future generations of minority scientists. She received numerous awards and recognition for her work throughout her career.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King, born in 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama, was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader. She played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement and continued her advocacy for equality even after her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. Her tireless dedication to the cause earned her the title “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.”

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Donna Auguste

Donna Auguste (born 1958) is an African-American businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was the co-founder and CEO of Freshwater Software from 1996 to 2000. She sold Freshwater Software for $147 million and was recognized as one of the “25 Women Who Are Making It Big in Small Business” by Fortune Magazine. She also won the 2001 Golden Torch Award for Outstanding Woman in Technology.

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TaiwanUnited StatesAsian American

Fang-Yi Sheu

Fang-Yi Sheu (born 1971) is a Taiwanese-American dancer and choreographer. She has made significant contributions to the world of dance, both as a performer and as a creator.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Alice Ball

Alice Augusta Ball was an American chemist who developed the “Ball Method,” the most effective treatment for leprosy at that time. Despite her remarkable achievements, her contributions to science were not recognized until many years after her untimely death at the age of 24. Her groundbreaking research and the “Ball Method” gained widespread recognition in the 1970s, establishing her as a true icon in the history of scientific breakthroughs and women’s empowerment.

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MexicoRefugee

Marisol Valles García

Marisol Valles García, born in 1989 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, gained international attention as the former police chief of Práxedis G. Guerrero. Facing extreme violence and danger from drug cartels, Valles García was the only person to apply for the job. Her bravery and determination to make a positive contribution to society have made her a symbol of courage and resilience.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji Penda Henson, born on September 11, 1970, in Southeast Washington, D.C., is an American actress who has made a significant impact on Hollywood. She grew up in a working-class family with her mother Bernice, who worked as a corporate manager, and her father Boris, a janitor and metal fabricator.

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SerbiaGovernmentLGBTQIA

Ana Brnabić

Ana Brnabić, the first female and openly gay Prime Minister of Serbia, has made significant contributions to politics and LGBTQ+ rights. Her accomplishments include initiating crucial reforms in the Serbian government and being ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine. Brnabić’s attendance at the Belgrade Pride march and her commitment to inclusivity and equality have made her a symbol of progress in Serbia.

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PhilippinesUnited StatesAsian American

Victoria “Vicki” Manalo Draves

Victoria Manalo Draves, a Filipino American competitive diver, made history at the 1948 Summer Olympics by becoming the first woman to win gold medals in both platform and springboard diving. Despite facing racial discrimination and financial challenges, she overcame obstacles with determination and hard work. Her achievements paved the way for future generations of female divers, inspiring others to break down societal barriers.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, born in 1811, was a renowned American author and abolitionist. She received a remarkable education for women of her time and became a prominent figure in the fight against slavery and for women’s rights. Her influential novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” shed light on the brutal conditions experienced by enslaved African-Americans, sparking a national conversation on the issue. Stowe’s writings and activism continue to inspire and educate people about the injustices of the past.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th-century entrepreneur, real estate magnate, and abolitionist. She amassed a fortune, making her one of the most successful African-American women of her time. Pleasant provided support to African Americans before and during the Civil War and expanded her involvement in the Underground Railroad during the California Gold Rush. Her commitment to women’s rights earned her the title “The Mother of Human Rights in California.” Despite facing challenges as a black woman in power, Pleasant successfully integrated into wealthy society and made a significant impact on civil rights.

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AustraliaDisabledSprinter

Madison de Rozario

Madison de Rozario, OAM, is an Australian Paralympic athlete and wheelchair racer with an impressive track record of success. Overcoming the challenges of transverse myelitis, she has become a dominant force in wheelchair racing, earning numerous medals at the Paralympic Games and World Para Athletics Championships. De Rozario’s remarkable achievements and dedication have made her a role model for individuals with disabilities worldwide.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLGBTQIA

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde, born Audrey Geraldine Lorde on February 18, 1934, was a prolific American writer, poet, and civil rights activist. She was an influential figure in the feminist and civil rights movements of the 20th century, dedicating her life and creative talent to confronting social injustices. Lorde described herself as a “black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, mother, warrior, poet,” and her work profoundly explored and addressed issues of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronaut

Jessica Watkins

Jessica Andrea Watkins, the accomplished American astronaut, geologist, and aquanaut, has left an indelible mark on the world of space exploration. Born on May 14, 1988, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to Michael and Carolyn Watkins, Jessica’s upbringing was marked by curiosity, ambition, and a drive for excellence.

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United StatesAsian AmericanSkateboarder

Judi Oyama

Judi Oyama is a professional skateboarder and a pioneer in the sport. Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Oyama developed a passion for skateboarding at a young age. At just 13 years old, she started skating in her driveway on a homemade board built by her brother in woodshop. Little did she know that this would be the beginning of an extraordinary career.

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AustraliaActivistDisabled

Libby Kosmala

Elizabeth Kosmala is an Australian shooter with paraplegia who has left an indelible mark on the world of para shooting. Despite facing early challenges, she has earned thirteen medals, with an outstanding nine of them being gold. Kosmala’s strength, determination, and impact on society make her an inspiration to people worldwide.

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United StatesActivistDoctor

Rebecca Allison

Rebecca Anne “Becky” Allison, an American cardiologist and transgender activist, had a lasting impact on society through her contributions to the medical field and advocacy efforts for the LGBTQ+ community. Her work as a physician, including her role as Chief of Cardiology at CIGNA, and her creation of drbecky.com provided valuable healthcare resources for transgender individuals. She also played significant roles in LGBTQ+ organizations, championing equality and inclusivity in the medical system.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Irene Moorman Blackstone

Irene Moorman Blackstone (January 1872 – after 1944) was an African-American businesswoman and club member who became active in the fight for women’s suffrage. Along with Alva Belmont, she initiated the interracial cooperation of women in the drive for enfranchisement. When the 19th Amendment passed, she turned her activism toward the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and other programs which worked to uplift the black community and prevent the exclusion of and discrimination against blacks in attaining socio-economic and political equality.

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PhilippinesUnited StatesAsian American

Cristeta Comerford

Cristeta Pasia Comerford, born on October 27, 1962, is a Filipino-American chef who has made history as the White House executive chef since 2005. Hailing from Sampaloc, Manila, in the Philippines, she is the first woman and the first person of Asian origin to hold this prestigious position.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Madonna Thunder Hawk

Madonna Thunder Hawk, born Madonna Gilbert, is a Native American civil rights activist who has made significant contributions to the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She is also renowned as a co-founder of the American Indian organization Women of All Red Nations and serves as an organizer and tribal liaison for the Lakota People’s Law Project.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Gail Harris

Gail Harris (born June 23, 1949) is a former United States Navy officer, and was the highest-ranking female African American in the U.S. Navy upon her retirement in December 2001. She served as the first female intelligence officer in a Navy aviation squadron in 1973. In 1979, Captain Harris became the first female and African American instructor at the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado. In 1989, she became the first female and African American to lead the Intelligence Department for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron in Rota, Spain, the largest Navy aviation squadron.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Alexa Canady

Dr. Alexa Canady, born in 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, was the first black woman to become a neurosurgeon. Despite facing prejudice, she rose above it and achieved groundbreaking milestones throughout her career. She dedicated herself to pediatric neurosurgery, becoming the Chief of Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan. Her exceptional contributions and accomplishments were recognized through various awards and honors, making her an inspiration to aspiring medical professionals.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Charlotta Bass

Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass, born in 1874 in Sumter, South Carolina, was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. She played a crucial role in advocating for civil rights and addressing social injustices faced by African Americans. Bass’s impact extended beyond her role as a newspaper publisher, as she inspired others to stand up for their rights and became the first African-American woman nominated for Vice President of the United States in 1952.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Anna Williams

Anna “Ann” Williams, an enslaved woman born in 1791 in Bladensburg, Maryland, successfully sued for freedom for herself and her children. Her daring escape from the F Street Tavern and subsequent legal battle highlighted the atrocities of the slave trade, raising awareness and prompting a Congressional inquiry in 1816. Williams’ victory in court brought attention to the cruelty of slavery and the fight for freedom.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart was an influential American teacher, journalist, abolitionist, and lecturer who made significant contributions to the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements. As the first African American woman to publicly address mixed audiences and advocate for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, she paved the way for future activists. Her powerful oratory skills and writings inspired generations and played a vital role in advancing these causes.

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CanadaActivistIndigenous

Mary Two-Axe Earley

Mary Two-Axe Earley, a Mohawk and Oneida women’s rights activist from Kahnawake, Quebec, fought against gender discrimination in the Indian Act. She co-founded the Quebec Native Women’s Association, confronted eviction attempts, and led the push for the passage of Bill C-31, which dismantled gender discrimination. Her tireless efforts brought transformative change to First Nations women in Canada.

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TaiwanUnited StatesArchaeologist

Agnes Hsu-Tang

Agnes Hsin Mei Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist and art historian, was born in Taiwan and later became an American citizen. She has made significant contributions to the field of cultural heritage protection and rescue, advocating for the preservation of precious artifacts and historical sites.

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United StatesActivistAsian American

Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour, born in 1980, is an American political activist who has made significant contributions to the advancement of civil rights and social justice. As co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, the 2017 Day Without a Woman, and the 2019 Women’s March, she has played a pivotal role in mobilizing women across the country to stand up for their rights. She has also served as the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, where she worked tirelessly to empower and uplift marginalized communities.

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United StatesActivistBroadcaster

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings, an American YouTube personality, TV personality, and LGBT rights activist, gained national attention at a young age for her open and articulate perspective on being transgender. Supported by her family, Jazz has used various platforms to advocate for transgender rights and raise awareness about gender identity issues. Through her show “I Am Jazz” and her engaging YouTube videos, she has become an inspiration for others on their own journeys of self-discovery and acceptance.

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PeruIndigenousMilitary

Tomasa Tito Condemayta

Tomasa Tito Condemayta Hurtado de Mendoza was a powerful leader and military figure in the indigenous uprising against Spanish colonial rule in 18th century Peru. As cacica of her people, she led her own women’s battalion, mobilizing indigenous women in the fight. Her bravery and contributions to the rebellion make her a notable figure in Peru’s history.

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South KoreaActorLGBTQIA

Harisu

Lee Kyung-eun, known as Harisu, is a South Korean pop singer, model, and actress. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in the 1990s and became the second transgender entertainer in South Korea. Despite societal expectations, Harisu remained steadfast in her desire to live as a woman, becoming a trailblazer in transgender rights and recognition in the country. Her successful career in music and acting has opened doors and inspired others.

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Puerto RicoJudgeLawyer

Nitza Quiñones Alejandro

Nitza Ileana Quiñones Alejandro, born in January 1951 in Puerto Rico, became the first Hispanic woman to be appointed as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Her nomination faced controversy, but she persevered and went on to serve for 22 years. In 2012, she made history as the first lesbian Latina to be appointed as a federal judge by President Barack Obama. Her trailblazing efforts have paved the way for diversity and inclusivity within the judiciary.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913, became a leading figure in the American civil rights movement. Her act of refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. Parks’ bravery and determination inspired others to join the fight for equality, and she was awarded prestigious honors for her unwavering commitment to civil rights. She passed away in 2005, leaving behind a powerful legacy.

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Great BritainActivistLGBTQIA

Hannah Graf

Hannah Graf is a former officer of the British Army, transgender rights activist, and a prominent figure in women’s history. Born as Captain Hannah Graf MBE (née Winterbourne), she made history as the highest-ranking transgender officer in the British Army, commanding a company of a hundred soldiers. Her journey of self-discovery and unwavering dedication to transgender rights has left an indelible mark on society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Dorothy Vaughan

Dorothy Jean Johnson Vaughan, born in 1910 in Kansas City, Missouri, was an accomplished mathematician and a trailblazer in the field of women’s history. She was the first African-American woman to receive a promotion and supervise a group of staff at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and later NASA. Vaughan’s story gained wider recognition when she was featured in the book and movie “Hidden Figures,” highlighting her significant role in the space race. In recognition of her remarkable achievements, she was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

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GermanyBlindDisabled

Martina Monika Willing

Martina Monika Willing is a celebrated Paralympic athlete from Germany known for her exceptional talent and resilience. Born on October 3, 1959, she has overcome tremendous obstacles as she competes in field events despite being both blind and paraplegic. Her inspiring journey has made her a true icon in the world of adaptive sports.

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United StatesActivistAsian American

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is an American politician and activist. Born on October 13, 1989, she has made significant contributions to American society since taking office as the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th congressional district in 2019. As a member of the Democratic Party, Ocasio-Cortez’s impact on politics and her dedication to public service have made her a prominent figure in modern American history.

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JapanSingaporeArtist

Emiko Iwasaki

Emiko Iwasaki, a Japanese video game artist, made significant contributions to the industry and left a lasting impact. She gained recognition for her work with Arc System Works’s Guilty Gear series and became one of the few women in the Japanese game industry to hold the position of general director. Iwasaki’s involvement in developing Battle Fantasia, which pioneered the use of 2.5D techniques, was also noteworthy. She has been a vocal advocate for gender equality in gaming and has empowered young girls to pursue STEM fields.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Ida Stephens Owens

Ida Stephens Owens, a trailblazing American scientist, overcame adversity to become one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Duke University. Her groundbreaking research on drug-detoxifying enzymes at the National Institutes of Health has left an indelible mark on the field of biomedical research. Owens’ unwavering commitment and contributions continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesActivistArtist

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, also known as Kumu Hina, is a Native Hawaiian māhū, a traditional third gender person who occupies “a place in the middle” between male and female, as well as a modern transgender woman. She is renowned for her work as a kumu hula, filmmaker, artist, activist, and community leader in the field of Kanaka Maoli language and cultural preservation. Kumu Hina teaches Kanaka Maoli philosophy and traditions that promote cross-cultural alliances throughout the Pacific Islands. Her contributions to society have solidified her status as a powerful performer, cultural icon, and advocate for indigenous rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Lilia Ann Abron

Lilia Ann Abron is a trailblazing entrepreneur and chemical engineer who became the first African American woman to earn a PhD in chemical engineering. Born in 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee, Abron overcame racial segregation and pursued her passion for engineering. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to the field of environmental engineering and founded PEER Consultants, P.C. With her groundbreaking achievements, Abron has become an inspiration to future generations of engineers and women in STEM.

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CubaUnited StatesActivist

Ada Bello

Ada C. Bello (1933-2023) was a Cuban-American LGBT rights activist and medical laboratory researcher. She played a crucial role in advancing LGBTQ+ rights in Philadelphia and was dedicated to fighting for equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community throughout her life. Bello’s activism began in the late 1960s when she co-founded the Philadelphia Chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, and she later became an instrumental member of the Homophile Action League. Her advocacy work and determination have left an indelible mark on Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community and the broader fight for equality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDiver

Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Hadiyah-Nicole Green is an American medical physicist known for her groundbreaking research using laser-activated nanoparticles as a potential cancer treatment. She has not only excelled in her field but has also become a strong advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and increasing diversity in STEM fields. Green’s dedication to her work and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others make her a true trailblazer in women’s history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Olivia Hooker

Olivia Juliette Hooker, born in 1915 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, overcame adversity from a young age, surviving the Tulsa race massacre in 1921. She became the first African-American woman to join the U.S. Coast Guard and made significant contributions to the field of psychology. Her resilience and trailblazing achievements continue to inspire others.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

DeLisha Milton-Jones

DeLisha Lachell Milton-Jones, born in Riceboro, Georgia, on September 11, 1974, became a basketball superstar known for her versatility and leadership. She achieved success both in college and the WNBA, earning multiple accolades, including Olympic gold medals and WNBA championships. Now retired from playing, Milton-Jones is sharing her wealth of experience as the head coach of Old Dominion, inspiring the next generation of players with her determination and commitment to the sport.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen, also known as Mother Allen, was an American abolitionist and missionary for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Born into slavery, she found freedom in Philadelphia and married Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church. Sarah played a crucial role in establishing the church and supporting its growth. She also actively participated in the Underground Railroad, providing shelter and assistance to runaway slaves. Sarah’s dedication to the AME Church and the fight against slavery left behind a legacy of resilience, faith, and activism.

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South AfricaActivistIntersex

Sally Gross

Sally Gross (born Selwyn Gross; 22 August 1953 – 14 February 2014) was an anti-apartheid and intersex activist who founded Intersex South Africa. She played a crucial role in supporting intersex activists and securing the first mention of intersex in national law in South Africa. Despite facing challenges with her own gender classification, Gross advocated for intersex rights and left a lasting impact on the understanding and acceptance of gender diversity.

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South KoreaUnited StatesAsian American

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim, the American snowboarder, has become a trailblazer in her sport. Starting her snowboarding journey at a young age, she quickly rose to prominence, winning her first Olympic gold medal at just 17 years old. With her remarkable skills and fearless approach, Kim has inspired many and shattered stereotypes, making her a true role model for aspiring athletes worldwide.

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ChinaUnited StatesActivist

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, born in 1896 in Guangzhou, China, was a pioneering Chinese-American women’s rights activist and minister. Raised in New York City, Lee became the first Chinese woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in economics from Columbia University. She made her mark as a prominent figure in the suffrage movement and later dedicated her life to advocating for Chinese immigrants and women in her role as a minister. Lee’s dedication and resilience continue to inspire generations fighting for equality and justice.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Marcella Ng

Marcella Ann Ng, born in 1956, was the first African American woman pilot in the United States Armed Forces. Her achievements have paved the way for future generations of women in aviation. Raised in Centralia, Missouri, Marcella discovered her passion for aviation during her time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enlisted in the United States Army in 1978 and went on to become the first black woman to earn her pilot’s wings in 1979. Throughout her impressive 22-year military career, Marcella’s leadership and expertise were invaluable. She continues to inspire and empower others with her story.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mother Wright

Mary Ann Wright, also known as Mother Wright, was a humanitarian activist who dedicated almost three decades of her life to feeding the residents of the East Bay. Born into poverty and raised by her father after losing her mother at a young age, she overcame many challenges as a single mother. A transformative moment in 1980 led her to establish the Mother Mary Ann Wright Foundation, providing meals, food, clothing, and toys to those in need. Her legacy as a trailblazer in the fight against hunger and poverty lives on.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Joan Murray

Joan Murray (1937-2021) was a trailblazing African-American woman who shattered barriers in journalism. As the first African-American woman to report the news on a major network show, Murray’s determination and resilience paved the way for women of color in broadcast journalism. Her groundbreaking achievements, including being the first African-American newswoman at WCBS and participating in the All Woman Transcontinental Air Race, will forever inspire and empower future generations.

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CanadaAfrican AmericanBusiness

Rose Fortune

Rose Fortune, born to runaway slaves during the American Revolutionary War, defied the odds and left an enduring legacy. Settling in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, at a young age, she became a central figure in her community. Rose’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to start a luggage transportation business, which eventually expanded to horse-drawn carriages. Not only was she a shrewd businesswoman, but Rose also became the first female police officer in North America, symbolizing strength and courage in her town. Her story continues to inspire future generations, highlighting resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

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KenyaActivistLGBTQIA

Audrey Mbugua

Audrey Mbugua, born in 1984, is a transgender activist who has made significant contributions in the fight for transgender rights. Her tireless efforts and landmark legal victories have paved the way for greater recognition and acceptance of transgender individuals in Kenya and beyond.

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United StatesDisabledSkier

Gretchen Fraser

Gretchen Kunigk Fraser, born on February 11, 1919, in Tacoma, Washington, was a pioneering American alpine ski racer who became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing. Her notable accomplishments on the slopes, as well as her contributions to the world of skiing and her work with disabled athletes, have left a lasting impact on the sport.

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United StatesActivistArtist

Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, artist, and writer, has dedicated her life to advocating for marginalized communities and creating social change. Raised in Los Angeles, she experienced firsthand the systemic inequalities that plague marginalized communities, which ignited her passion for fighting against social injustice. With her unwavering dedication to justice and powerful advocacy, Cullors has inspired countless individuals to take action and work towards a more equitable society.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Christine Darden

Christine Darden, an American mathematician and aeronautical engineer, dedicated her career to researching supersonic flight and sonic booms. Her groundbreaking accomplishments at NASA shattered barriers and inspired future generations of women and minorities in the field of engineering and mathematics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Duchess Quamino

Duchess Quamino, also known as the “Pastry Queen of Rhode Island,” was a formerly enslaved woman who defied the odds to become an influential figure in her community. Born around 1739 in Senegal or Ghana, Duchess rose above her circumstances and became a renowned independent caterer. Her culinary talents and entrepreneurial spirit made her a beloved and respected figure in colonial Rhode Island, inspiring future generations with her resilience and achievements.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Christia Adair

Christia V. Daniels Adair was an African-American suffragist and civil rights worker who played a significant role in advocating for women’s suffrage and fighting against racial discrimination in early 20th century Texas. Her dedication to both causes made her a prominent figure in Texas history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Nancy Gooch

Nancy Gooch was an early African-American settler in California and one of the state’s most successful 19th-century black female landowners. She overcame the adversity of slavery and worked tirelessly to bring her son to California while accumulating land and wealth. Her story is a testament to the strength and determination of African-American women during a time of social change.

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United KingdomAviationLGBTQIA

Roberta Cowell

Roberta Elizabeth Marshall Cowell (1918-2011) was a British racing driver and Second World War fighter pilot. She was the first known British trans woman to undergo gender-affirming surgery in 1948. Cowell’s pioneering spirit and determination to live an authentic life have significantly contributed to the history of transgender individuals in the United Kingdom. Her courage continues to inspire and pave the way for future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWrestler

Ethel Johnson

Ethel Blanche Hairston, better known as Ethel Johnson, was a trailblazing figure in professional wrestling. She became the first African-American women’s champion and paved the way for others in the sport. Through her talent and determination, Ethel challenged societal norms and left a lasting legacy in the wrestling industry. She passed away in 2018 at the age of 83, but her impact continues to resonate.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPoet

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley Peters, an American author, was the first African-American author to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa and sold into enslavement at a young age, she was encouraged to pursue her talent for poetry by the Wheatley family of Boston. Her work gained fame in both England and the American colonies, with prominent figures like George Washington praising her poetry. Despite facing personal challenges, Wheatley’s legacy as a pioneering African-American author continues to inspire and pave the way for future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ella Baker

Ella Josephine Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist who played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Known for her dedication to grassroots organizing and empowering the oppressed, Baker worked alongside prominent civil rights leaders, challenging the notion of charismatic leadership and advocating for radical democracy. Her influence on the movement was significant, and she is considered one of the most important American leaders of the twentieth century.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes is a renowned American stand-up comedian, actress, and writer. With her sharp wit and comedic talent, she gained recognition for her work on The Chris Rock Show. Sykes has made notable contributions to television and film with her exceptional acting skills, earning nominations for prestigious awards. As an African-American woman in comedy, she has broken barriers and inspired others, making her an influential figure in society.

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United StatesActivistJewish

Edith Windsor

Edith “Edie” Windsor, an American LGBT rights activist and technology manager at IBM, played a pivotal role in the advancement of same-sex marriage rights. Her landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, led to the declaration of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Edie’s determination and courage made her a symbol of hope for many LGBTQ+ individuals.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Mary White Ovington

Mary White Ovington, born in Brooklyn in 1865, was a suffragist, journalist, and one of the co-founders of the NAACP. As a passionate advocate for civil rights, Ovington dedicated her life to fighting for equality, particularly in education and employment for African-Americans. Her involvement in the civil rights movement and her contributions to the suffrage cause made her a notable figure in the early 20th century.

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AustraliaActivistIndigenous

Sister Eileen Heath

Sister Eileen Heath was an Anglican Deaconess dedicated to improving the welfare of Aboriginal children and families in Australia. Through her work, she raised awareness about the poor living conditions and mistreatment of indigenous people, particularly children, and fought tirelessly for their rights and well-being. Her dedication and activism left a lasting impact on society’s view and treatment of marginalized groups.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Elayne Arrington

Elayne Arrington, an American mathematician and engineer, overcame numerous obstacles throughout her career to become a trailblazer for women, particularly African American women, in the fields of mathematics and engineering. Her exceptional aptitude in mathematics led her to become the second-highest scorer on the SAT in her class, despite facing discrimination in her academic journey. Despite these challenges, Arrington’s determination to succeed propelled her to become the first African American woman to graduate from the School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Her accomplishments have shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future generations of women and minorities in STEM fields.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is an American attorney and author who served as the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Obama has been a powerful advocate for women, youth, education, and societal issues throughout her life. Her upbringing on the South Side of Chicago played a significant role in shaping her perspective and passion for social justice.

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CanadaChinaActivist

Denise Ho

Denise Ho Wan-see, born in Hong Kong in 1977, is a Canadian Cantopop singer and actress known for her pro-democracy and human rights activism. She made history in 2012 by publicly coming out as a lesbian, breaking barriers in the Asian entertainment industry. Despite facing backlash and being blacklisted by the Chinese government, Ho remained steadfast in her commitment to fighting for democratic rights and using her platform to advocate for equality. Her resilience and determination have made her an inspiration to many.

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PolandActivistLawyer

Marta Lempart

Marta Mirosława Lempart, born in 1979 in Lwówek Śląski, Poland, is an influential women’s rights activist and the founder of the All-Poland Women’s Strike. She has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s reproductive rights in Poland and has championed other marginalized groups, including the LGBT community and people with disabilities. Lempart’s activism has brought her both admiration and personal hardships, including multiple arrests and death threats.

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United StatesActorFilmmaker

Jodie Foster

Alicia Christian “Jodie” Foster, born on November 19, 1962, in Los Angeles, is an American actress and filmmaker. She has had an illustrious career and is the recipient of numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Foster, a truly versatile artist, has also been recognized for her work as a producer and director, receiving a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and other prestigious honors.

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IranActivistLGBTQIA

Shadi Amin

Shadi Amin is an Iranian writer and activist known for her advocacy for women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Born in 1964, Amin became politically active at a young age, opposing the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 when she was only 14 years old. Her activism led to her being forced to leave Iran in the early 1980s.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Lusia Harris Stewart

Lusia Mae Harris (1955-2022) was an American professional basketball player who played a pivotal role in advancing women’s basketball. From her humble beginnings in Minter City, Mississippi, Harris’s talent and determination propelled her to achieve tremendous success in college and on the international stage. Her exceptional skills and impact on the sport solidify her place in basketball history.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Debra White Plume

Debra White Plume, a prominent Lakota political activist and water protector, dedicated her life to preserving the traditional Oglala Lakota way of life. She founded Owe Aku, an advocacy group focused on cultural preservation and Lakota treaty rights. White Plume’s passion for environmental justice led her to protest against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline projects. She believed that water was the domain of women and saw it as their privilege and obligation to protect it. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2020 after battling cancer, but her legacy lives on inspiring future activists.

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CanadaActivistJewish

Barbara Findlay

Barbara Findlay is a Canadian lawyer and passionate advocate for LGBT rights. Her career, dedicated to fighting for equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ community, has had a profound impact on society, making her a prominent figure in women’s history.

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New ZealandDancerIndigenous

Amanaki Prescott-Faletau

Amanaki Lelei Prescott-Faletau, a multi-talented artist of Tongan descent, has left a significant mark on the world of performing arts. From her early experiences in church events to competing in national and international dance competitions, Amanaki has showcased her exceptional talent and passion for performing. With a deep connection to her cultural roots and her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, she continues to inspire and uplift others within the industry. Her journey as an artist and trailblazer is truly remarkable.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBaseball

Mamie Johnson

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was an American professional baseball player who made history as one of the first female pitchers in the Negro leagues. Despite facing racial barriers, Mamie’s talent and determination led her to a successful career with the Indianapolis Clowns. She became a legend in the sport and was honored with induction into the Women in Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

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SingaporeBlindDeaf

Theresa Poh Lin Chan

Theresa Poh Lin Chan, born in Singapore in 1943, overcame deafblindness to become an inspiration for many. After excelling academically at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, she returned to Singapore to teach at the Singapore School for the Blind. Chan’s remarkable life story continues to inspire generations, showcasing the power of determination and the triumph of the human spirit.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWater Polo

Ashleigh Johnson

Ashleigh Elizabeth Johnson, one of the best water polo goalkeepers in the world, has achieved numerous accomplishments and groundbreaking achievements. Raised in a water polo-loving family, Johnson’s interest in becoming a goalie was sparked by her sister. She excelled at Ransom Everglades School and went on to play water polo at Princeton University. Her breakthrough on the international stage came in 2015 when she helped secure a gold medal for the United States at the World Aquatics Championships. In 2016, Johnson became the first African-American woman to earn a spot on the US Olympic water polo team and played a vital role in securing a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. She continues to make strides in her career and has become an inspiration to young women and aspiring water polo players.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Marian Croak

Marian Rogers Croak is a Vice President of Engineering at Google, renowned for her significant contributions to the field of telecommunications. Born on May 14, 1955, in New York City, Croak’s early fascination with science and technology was nurtured by her father, who built her a home chemistry set.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Debra Austin

Debra Austin, born in 1955, made history as the first African-American female principal dancer of a major American ballet company. Talent recognized at a young age, she caught the attention of George Balanchine and joined the New York City Ballet. Her international career included roles as a soloist with the Zurich Ballet and as a principal dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet, breaking down racial barriers in the arts. After retiring from performing, Austin transitioned into teaching, nurturing the next generation of dancers.

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United StatesAsian AmericanAviation

Maggie Gee

Maggie Gee, a pioneering American aviator, served in World War II as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Born in Berkeley, California, Gee’s diverse cultural background shaped her perspective. She trained rigorously to become a WASP pilot, playing a crucial role in training male pilots and ferrying military aircraft. Beyond her military service, Gee was an active member of the Democratic Party, advocating for women’s rights and Asian American representation. Her invaluable service and dedication were recognized through numerous awards and honors, leaving a lasting impact on society.

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AustraliaFilmmakerIndigenous

Essie Coffey

Essie Coffey OAM, a proud Muruwari woman, dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and welfare of Aboriginal people in Australia. From co-founding the Western Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Museum in Brewarrina to her notable documentary films, Coffey left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire future generations. Her tireless efforts earned her the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1985, recognizing her significant contributions to the Aboriginal community.

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Great BritainBoxerLGBTQIA

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams, born in Leeds on October 26, 1982, overcame humble beginnings to become a groundbreaking boxer. She made history as the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and went on to defend her title at Rio 2016, solidifying her status as a trailblazer in women’s boxing. Adams’s achievements on the Olympic stage have inspired countless female athletes and elevated the status of women’s boxing.

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TaiwanUnited StatesAsian American

PeiJu Chien-Pott

PeiJu Chien-Pott, a Taiwanese-American dance artist, has become one of the greatest modern dancers of her generation. Through her exceptional talent and dedication, she has made a significant impact in the world of dance. As a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company, Chien-Pott has interpreted iconic roles in Graham’s repertoire, captivating audiences with her dramatic prowess and physical versatility. Her contributions to the art form have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Bessie Award. Chien-Pott’s passion for dance extends beyond performing, as she also takes on the roles of choreographer, director, educator, and founder of PJ Performing Arts in Taiwan. Through her work, she continues to inspire and mentor the next generation of dancers.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Pauli Murray

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (1910-1985) was an American civil rights activist, legal scholar, and Episcopal priest. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she overcame significant challenges to become a leading voice for justice and equality. Murray’s groundbreaking work on civil rights and gender equality left a lasting impact on American society.

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JapanBiotechnologistBlind

Chieko Asakawa

Chieko Asakawa (born 1958) is a blind Japanese computer scientist, renowned for her groundbreaking work in accessibility at IBM Research – Tokyo. Her contributions to the field of technology have significantly improved the lives of individuals with visual impairments, making her a pioneering figure in the realm of accessibility.

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United StatesIndigenousJudge

Diane Humetewa

Diane Joyce Humetewa, born on December 5, 1964, is a highly accomplished and trailblazing figure in the legal field. She has made significant contributions as a judge and attorney, breaking barriers and making history along the way. With a distinguished career that spans diverse roles and responsibilities, Humetewa has become a prominent advocate for justice and equality, particularly as a Native American woman.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Ruth A. Lucas

Colonel Ruth Alice Lucas, the first African American woman promoted to the rank of colonel in the Air Force, overcame racial prejudice and made lasting contributions in the military and education. She dedicated herself to improving education within the military, creating special literacy programs and motivating servicemen to continue their education. Her legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for African American women continues to inspire future generations.

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ArgentinaActivistLGBTQIA

Diana Sacayán

Diana Sacayán was an influential Argentinian LGBT activist who fought passionately for the rights of transgender individuals in Argentina. Through her work with the Anti-Discrimination Movement of Liberation (MAL), she advocated for non-discriminatory healthcare policies and raised awareness about transgender rights. Her efforts played a significant role in the recognition of self-perceived gender identities by the State and the enactment of the National Gender Identity Law. Diana’s life was tragically cut short, but her legacy continues to inspire the ongoing fight for transgender rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Sarah Loguen Fraser

Sarah Marinda Loguen Fraser, a trailblazing African-American physician and pediatrician, overcame numerous obstacles to make significant contributions to the field of medicine in the late 19th century. Born on January 29, 1850, in Syracuse, New York, Fraser’s determination to help others led her to become the first African-American woman to earn an M.D. from Syracuse University School of Medicine. Her legacy as a pioneer in medicine continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Marjorie Lee Browne

Marjorie Lee Browne (1914-1979), a pioneering African-American mathematician and educator, overcame numerous challenges to become one of the first African-American women to earn a PhD in mathematics. Her groundbreaking research and dedication to mathematics education paved the way for future generations of minority mathematicians. Although her life was tragically cut short, Browne’s legacy as a champion for diversity in STEM fields continues to inspire and empower others.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Dorothy Gaters

Dorothy Gaters, the legendary high school basketball coach from Chicago, is renowned for her incredible coaching career spanning over 45 years at Marshall High School. Her record-breaking 1,153 wins, 10 girls state championships, and 24 state trophies solidify her as the winningest coach in Illinois history. Gaters’ impact reaches far beyond the court, as she has become an inspiration and trailblazer, breaking barriers for female coaches and athletes alike. Her unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements have left an indelible mark on the basketball landscape.

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IndiaActivistEngineer

Grace Banu

Grace Banu is an Indian software engineer and transgender activist who has made significant contributions to both the LGBTQ+ community and the fight against caste discrimination. Born and raised in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, Banu belongs to the Dalit community, a historically marginalized group in India. From an early age, Banu faced discrimination and untouchability due to both her caste and gender identity.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ethelene Crockett

Ethelene Jones Crockett (1914–1978) was a pioneering African-American physician and activist from Detroit. Overcoming discrimination and barriers, she became Michigan’s first African-American woman to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Crockett dedicated her life to providing healthcare and support to her community, while also advocating for public daycare centers, family planning, and the liberalization of Michigan’s abortion laws. Her contributions to medicine and activism continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mamie Till

Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley, born in Webb, Mississippi in 1921, became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement after her son, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Determined to seek justice and shed light on racial violence, Mamie’s activism left an indelible mark on American history, inspiring others and advocating for equality.

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IsraelActivistJewish

Michal Rozin

Michal Rozin is an Israeli politician and advocate for women’s rights. Known for her dedication to gender equality, she fought for the rights of marginalized groups and chaired the Committee on Foreign Workers. Rozin also championed gender equality in multiple leadership positions and made significant contributions to LGBTQ+ rights. Her impactful career has left a lasting impression on Israeli politics and society.

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United StatesActorLGBTQIA

Miley Cyrus

Miley Ray Cyrus, born Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992, is a versatile American singer, songwriter, and actress known for her continual reinvention in sound and style. With the ability to seamlessly transition between genres, she has earned the nickname “Pop Chameleon.” Cyrus has left an indelible mark on 2000s pop culture and stands as a rare example of a child star who successfully transitioned into adulthood.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Nia Imara

Nia Imara, an American astrophysicist, artist, and activist, has made significant contributions to astrophysics and astronomy. Her journey began in the San Francisco Bay Area, where her passion for science and the universe flourished. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Kenyon College and went on to become the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. Imara’s groundbreaking research has advanced our understanding of stellar nurseries and she continues to inspire through her activism and mentorship.

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United StatesJudgeLawyer

Victoria Kolakowski

Victoria Kolakowski (born August 29, 1961) is an American lawyer who broke through barriers and made history as the first openly transgender person to serve as a trial court judge of general jurisdiction in the United States and the first to serve as any type of judge in California. Her groundbreaking achievements have not only shattered glass ceilings but have also paved the way for inclusivity and equality within the justice system.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Mary Glasspool

Mary Douglas Glasspool, born in 1954 in Staten Island, New York, became the first avowed lesbian to be consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Communion. Her dedication to her faith and her role as an openly lesbian bishop have had a profound impact on both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, making her a pioneer for inclusivity and acceptance within the church.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanComputer Scientist

Evelyn Boyd Granville

Evelyn Boyd Granville overcame challenges to become the second African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from an American university. She made significant contributions to mathematics and computer science, inspiring future generations of women in STEM fields.

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United StatesAsian AmericanJudge

Pamela K. Chen

Pamela Ki Mai Chen, born on March 30, 1961, in Chicago, United States, is a highly esteemed United States district judge known for her dedication to ensuring justice and upholding civil rights. Chen’s remarkable career includes working at prestigious law firms, the United States Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney’s office. She was appointed as a United States district judge for the Eastern District of New York, making history as the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian-American person to serve on the federal bench. Chen’s appointment exemplifies the importance of diversity and representation in the justice system.

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IrelandActivistAfrican American

Kathleen Simon, Viscountess Simon

Kathleen Rochard Simon, Viscountess Simon, DBE, was an Anglo-Irish anti-slavery activist who dedicated her life to ending slavery and racial discrimination. From her early experiences in Tennessee to her involvement in the abolitionist movement in London, Kathleen fought tirelessly for justice and equality. Her legacy lives on as an inspiration to activists working towards a more inclusive society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Ora Washington

Ora Belle Washington was an American athlete from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who excelled in both tennis and basketball. She was a trailblazer in both sports, earning the nicknames “Queen Ora” and the “Queen of Two Courts” from black newspapers. Her remarkable talent and achievements in sports resulted in her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Ora Washington defied racial and gender barriers, leaving a lasting impact on the history of athletics.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Eliza Suggs

Eliza Suggs, an African American author and activist, lived a life marked by resilience and determination. Overcoming the challenges of osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, she defied expectations and became an advocate for social reform. Although her life was tragically shortened, her impact on society continues to inspire and empower future generations of African American women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSprinter

Tidye Pickett

Tidye Pickett (1914-1986) was the first African-American woman to compete in the Olympic Games. Despite facing racial discrimination and setbacks, she continued to pursue her running career and made history as a trailblazing athlete. After retiring from athletics, Pickett dedicated her life to education and became a schoolteacher, leaving a lasting impact on the community. Her inspiring journey serves as a symbol of perseverance and determination in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, an American diplomat and political scientist, grew up during a time of racial segregation in the South but overcame challenges to excel academically. She held high-profile positions in the United States government, including serving as Secretary of State. Rice’s groundbreaking achievements have made a significant impact on women’s history.

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United StatesActivistComputer Scientist

Lynn Conway

Lynn Ann Conway, an American computer scientist and transgender activist, made significant contributions to the field of computer science. She overcame personal challenges and revolutionized the computer industry through her innovative work in microchip design and instruction handling. Her journey as a transgender woman has inspired future generations and promoted diversity and inclusion in technology.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Carlotta Berry

Carlotta Berry is an American academic in the field of engineering who has made significant contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. As a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, she has dedicated her career to empowering underrepresented populations and encouraging greater participation in the engineering profession.

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MexicoUnited StatesActor

Sara Ramirez

Sara Elena Ramírez, a Mexican-American actor and singer, rose to fame with their Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway musical “Spamalot.” Ramirez’s portrayal of Dr. Callie Torres on the television series “Grey’s Anatomy” made a significant impact on US television history, as one of the longest-running LGBT characters. Ramirez’s candidness about their own identity as bisexual and non-binary marked a turning point in visibility and representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

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IndiaActivistLGBTQIA

Akkai Padmashali

Akkai Padmashali, an Indian transgender activist, has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of transgender individuals. She overcame countless obstacles and fought for social inclusion while educating the public about transgender rights. Her activism garnered recognition, with honors such as the Rajyotsava Prashasti and an honorary doctorate, and she made history as the first transgender person to register her marriage in Karnataka. Her impact extends globally, with invitations to the White House and a Town Hall event during former US President Barack Obama’s visit to India.

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United KingdomBalletDancer

Sophie Rebecca

Sophie Rebecca, born in either 1980 or 1981, is an English ballet dancer who has made significant contributions to the world of dance as the first openly transgender person to train on the Royal Academy of Dance’s courses for female dancers. Her pioneering journey within the ballet world has not only challenged traditional norms but has also paved the way for greater inclusivity and acceptance.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Diana Wilson is an American engineer and NASA astronaut. She has made significant contributions to space exploration, having flown on three Space Shuttle missions. Wilson’s achievements have not only broken gender barriers but have also inspired a new generation of women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She is the second African American woman to venture into space, following in the footsteps of Mae Jemison.

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EcuadorActivistIndigenous

Dolores Cacuango

Dolores Cacuango, better known as Mamá Doloreyuk, was a pioneering figure in the fight for indigenous and farmers’ rights in Ecuador. Growing up in a low-income family, she witnessed the disparities between the wealthy landlords and the impoverished peons. Despite never learning to read or write, Dolores became a vocal advocate, mobilizing her community and founding the Indigenous Federation of Ecuador. Her commitment to social justice and feminism makes her an inspiration in women’s history.

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PolandBlindDisabled

Róża Czacka

Countess Róża Maria Czacka, also known as Elżbieta, was a Polish religious sister who made significant contributions to the education and empowerment of the blind. She adapted Polish phonetics into the Braille alphabet, which became mandated in all schools for the blind in 1934. Her work led to the establishment of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross, and her efforts continue to inspire and impact the lives of the visually impaired.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAnthropologist

Caroline Bond Day

Caroline Stewart Bond Day was an American physical anthropologist, author, and educator. She was one of the first African-Americans to receive a degree in anthropology. Day’s research challenged scientific racism and advocated for social equality for African-Americans. Her work on documenting and understanding mixed-race families helped to challenge racial preconceptions and discrimination. Despite being controversial, her research marks an important step in the recognition of African-American women in physical anthropology.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Janet Collins

Janet Collins was a pioneering African American ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Despite facing racial barriers, she studied with renowned ballet teachers and became one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. She collaborated with Katherine Dunham and gained recognition for her talent. Collins became the first black ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera and later dedicated herself to teaching. Her legacy as a pioneer of black ballet dancing continues to inspire dancers worldwide.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDiver

Shirley Marshall-Lee

Shirley Marshall-Lee became the first black female diver in 1965. She obtained her basic diving certification that year, making her the first certified Black female diver and the first female member of the Underwater Adventure Seekers. Over her career, she explored exotic underwater locations and logged over 1000 dives. In 2009, Marshall-Lee was inducted into the National Association of Black Scuba Divers Hall of Fame for her contributions to the diving community.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Kitty Foster

Catherine “Kitty” Foster (c. 1790–1863) was a freed African American woman who defied societal expectations and became a landowner at a time of immense discrimination. She owned property near the University of Virginia from 1833 until her death in 1863, leaving a lasting legacy. Foster’s story of resilience and determination challenges the prevailing narrative of her time and highlights the impact of individuals like her on women’s history and the struggle for equality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Myra Adele Logan

Myra Adele Logan (1908-1977) was an extraordinary pioneer in the medical field, breaking barriers as the first African American female physician. She performed the first successful open-heart surgery by an African American woman and made significant contributions to children’s heart surgery and the development of antibiotic Aureomycin. Despite the challenges of the pre-Civil Rights era, Logan’s legacy continues to inspire and she actively fought for equality and justice through her involvement in various organizations.

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GermanyActivistDisabled

Nujeen Mustafa

Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish Syrian refugee with cerebral palsy, captured the world’s attention when she traveled 3,500 miles by wheelchair to escape the Syrian Civil War and resettle in Germany. Despite facing numerous physical and financial challenges, Mustafa has become an internationally recognized advocate for refugees and disabled individuals, using her own experiences to raise awareness and inspire change. She has received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism from Human Rights Watch for her remarkable achievements.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Heather Purser

Heather Purser, a member of the Suquamish tribe in Seattle, Washington, has been a trailblazer in the fight for marriage equality within her tribe. Despite facing challenges as a lesbian in a society that often discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community, Purser never gave up on her mission. Her efforts led to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage within the Suquamish tribe, and her activism has had a lasting impact on Native American tribes across the country. Heather Purser’s dedication to equality and social justice makes her an inspiration for future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sarah Louisa Forten Purvis

Sarah Louisa Forten Purvis (1814–1884) was an American poet and abolitionist who co-founded The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and contributed to The Liberator. Her poetry, including “An Appeal to Woman” and “The Grave of the Slave”, focused on slavery and womanhood. She married Joseph Purvis, had eight children, and played a significant role in the abolitionist and feminist movements.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sandra Lawson

Sandra Lawson, the first openly gay, female, and black rabbi in the world, has broken barriers and made significant contributions to the Jewish community and society as a whole. Throughout her life, Lawson’s passion for diversity and social justice has driven her to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and racial equality. Her unique intersectional identity and unwavering commitment to inclusivity have inspired and challenged traditional notions of what a rabbi can be.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew, an American abolitionist, played a pivotal role in the American Civil War. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she built and operated an extensive spy ring for the Union Army. Van Lew’s resourcefulness and determination aided in gathering crucial information about Confederate troop movements. Her dedication to freedom and justice established her as an influential figure in history.

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PakistanActivistArcher

Aisha Mughal

Aisha Mughal, a renowned Pakistani transgender rights expert and researcher, has emerged as a prominent figure in the fight for transgender rights in her country. Born and raised in Pakistan, Mughal has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and well-being of transgender individuals.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Eleanor Jones

Eleanor Green Dawley Jones (1929-2021) was an American mathematician and a prominent figure in the field of mathematics. She was one of the first African-American women to achieve a Ph.D. in mathematics, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. Jones dedicated her life to promoting education, advocating for civil rights, and inspiring others to pursue careers in science and mathematics.

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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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United StatesBasketballDisabled

Ann Cody

Ann Cody, born on May 14, 1963, is a notable figure in the field of Paralympic sports and international disability rights. Throughout her life, she has made significant contributions as an athlete, advocate, and government official, leaving a lasting impact on society. Cody’s journey has been marked by determination, achievements, and a relentless pursuit of equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

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United KingdomActivistEngineer

Clara Barker

Clara Michelle Barker, a British engineer and material scientist, has become an influential role model for the LGBT+ community. Her outstanding work has earned her recognition and numerous awards. Clara’s dedication and expertise in the field of material science are showcased in her completed thesis on thin film coating at Manchester Metropolitan University. As a transgender woman, she is passionately involved in advocating for LGBT+ diversity and women in STEM, working to create a supportive and inclusive environment in places like the University of Oxford. Clara’s commitment to fostering diversity and visibility in STEM has earned her well-deserved recognition, including the Points of Light award from the UK Prime Minister’s Office in 2017 and the Individual Champion/Role Model award from the University of Oxford in 2018. Her inspiring journey and impactful contributions establish her as a prominent figure and influential role model.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWrestler

Marva Scott

Marva Scott, one of America’s first black female wrestlers, broke barriers and confronted prejudice head-on during the racially segregated era of the 1950s to the late 1970s. Alongside her sisters, Babs Wingo and Ethel Johnson, Marva used her platform to inspire young women of color and advocate for equal rights. Her legacy as a courageous and talented wrestler continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Trudy Haynes

Trudy Haynes, the first African American woman to hold various television reporting positions, broke barriers and shattered stereotypes in the field of broadcast journalism. Despite facing challenges and discrimination, Haynes demonstrated resilience and achieved remarkable success throughout her career. Her groundbreaking work opened doors for countless individuals of color in the media industry.

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MalaysiaActivistLGBTQIA

Nisha Ayub

Nisha Ayub is a Malaysian transgender rights activist who has dedicated her life to advancing transgender rights in her country and beyond. Despite facing discrimination and legal challenges, Ayub has been a tireless advocate for the rights and well-being of transgender individuals in Malaysia. Her activism has earned her international recognition and she continues to inspire others to fight for justice and equality.

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CanadaUnited StatesActor

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh is a Canadian and American actress known for her roles in television series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Arliss, and Killing Eve. She has received numerous awards for her performances, including two Golden Globe Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards. Oh has also made history as the first woman of Asian descent to host the Golden Globe Awards and be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her talent, perseverance, and boundary-breaking achievements have made her a trailblazer in women’s history.

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UgandaBlindDisabled

Florence Ndagire

Florence Ndagire is a female Ugandan lawyer who has made significant contributions to the field of human rights. She currently works as a legal researcher and human rights lawyer at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Ndagire is not only a trailblazer in her profession, but she is also a source of inspiration for many as she serves as the chairperson of the UN Women Regional Group for Eastern and Southern Africa.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLGBTQIA

Monica Roberts

Monica Katrice Roberts, a pioneering African-American transgender rights advocate, dedicated her life to fighting for equality and justice. Through her writing and activism, she shed light on the experiences of Black trans individuals, challenged societal norms, and raised awareness of the violence and discrimination faced by transgender people. With her powerful voice and unwavering dedication, Roberts has made an indelible mark on women’s history and continues to inspire future generations of activists.

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United StatesActivistDeaf

Claudia L. Gordon

Claudia L. Gordon is a trailblazer and advocate for the rights of deaf individuals in the United States. Born in St. Mary, Jamaica in March 1972, Gordon’s life took a significant turn when she suddenly lost her sense of hearing at the age of eight. This life-altering event thrust her into a world of challenges and discrimination, but also ignited a fierce determination to overcome barriers and fight for equality.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Phyllis Ann Wallace

Phyllis Ann Wallace (1921–1993) was a distinguished African American economist and activist, known for her groundbreaking work in combating workplace discrimination and promoting economic equality. She became the first woman to receive a doctorate of economics at Yale University and played a crucial role in shaping the anti-discrimination provisions of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Wallace’s dedication to economic issues and her unwavering commitment to equal opportunity make her a significant figure in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronaut

Yvonne Cagle

Yvonne Darlene Cagle (born April 24, 1959) is an American physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and NASA Astronaut. Cagle joined NASA as an astronaut in 1996. She is one of six African American female astronauts.

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United StatesActorComedian

Rosie O’Donnell

Roseann O’Donnell, born on March 21, 1962, is an American comedian, television producer, actress, author, and television personality. She achieved her breakthrough on the television show Star Search in 1984 and gained national fame with her own syndicated daytime talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Known for her philanthropic efforts and passionate discussions on The View, O’Donnell has been a polarizing figure in the media. She continues to be active in the entertainment industry and is an advocate for lesbian rights and gay adoption.

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VenezuelaActivistLGBTQIA

Tamara Adrián

Tamara Adrián, a Venezuelan politician and influential LGBT activist, made history as the first transgender person to hold public office in Venezuela and only the second transgender member of a national legislature in the Western Hemisphere. Despite facing challenges due to Venezuelan laws that did not allow transgender individuals to legally change their names, Tamara persevered, fighting for transgender rights and promoting equality and access to human rights. Her unwavering dedication continues to inspire others to challenge societal norms and strive for equality.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Elle Hearns

Elle Hearns (born 1986/1987) is an American transgender rights activist who has made significant contributions to the fight for social justice and equality. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network and served as a strategic partner and organizing coordinator. Additionally, she founded The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, where she currently serves as the executive director.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Dylan Mulvaney

Dylan Mulvaney (born December 29, 1996) is an American actress, comedian, and TikTok personality. Mulvaney gained widespread recognition for sharing her gender transition journey through daily videos on TikTok starting in early 2022. Her impactful storytelling and authenticity have touched millions of viewers, making her an influential figure in transgender representation.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Harriet Forten Purvis

Harriet Forten Purvis, an African-American abolitionist and suffragist, was a key figure in the fight for racial equality and women’s rights. She co-founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, hosted anti-slavery events at her home, and helped run an Underground Railroad station. After the Civil War, Harriet continued her activism by advocating against segregation and fighting for the voting rights of Black Americans. Her dedication and contributions have left a lasting impact on the history of social justice.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe is an American professional soccer player who has become a symbol of excellence and activism in women’s soccer. With numerous accolades and accomplishments on and off the field, she has solidified her place in women’s sports history and continues to inspire individuals worldwide. Recently, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her outstanding achievements and commitment to equality and human rights.

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ItalyActivistLGBTQIA

Imma Battaglia

Immacolata “Imma” Battaglia, born on March 28, 1960, in Portici, province of Naples, is an influential figure in Italian politics and a dedicated LGBT activist. Her impact on society, especially in the areas of gay rights and advocacy, has left a lasting mark in the fight for equality.

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United StatesActivistActor

Geraldine Lawhorn

Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn, a prominent figure in the American deafblind community, was a multi-talented performer, pianist, actress, and instructor. She made history as the first deafblind African American to earn a college degree in the United States. Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, she dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and inclusivity of individuals with disabilities, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Geraldine’s accomplishments continue to inspire and empower deafblind individuals worldwide.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Caroline Still Anderson

Caroline Still Anderson was a pioneering physician, educator, and activist. She was one of the first Black women to become a physician in the United States and dedicated her medical practice to serving the African-American community in Philadelphia. Despite facing discrimination and challenges, Anderson’s accomplishments and dedication continue to serve as an inspiration for women, particularly women of color, in the pursuit of their dreams and careers.

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United StatesActivistActor

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox, born in 1972, is an American actress and LGBT advocate. She made history as the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her role in Orange Is the New Black. Her impactful portrayal, advocacy work, and resilience continue to inspire and empower the transgender community. Cox’s contributions to women’s history and the LGBTQ+ community cannot be overstated.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDisabled

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry, an African-American slave, toll collector, and centenarian, was known as “one of Black America’s early oral historians.” Despite being enslaved, Alice was respected for her sharp memory and her ability to vividly recall people, places, and events. Her recollections provided valuable insights into the development of Philadelphia. Throughout her long life, Alice had notable interactions with prominent figures and became an esteemed local historian, earning the nickname “Alice of Dunk’s Ferry”.

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New ZealandArcherDisabled

Eve Rimmer

Eva Marion “Eve” Rimmer, born in 1937 in Whanganui, New Zealand, became one of New Zealand’s greatest paraplegic athletes. Despite facing a life-altering accident at the age of fifteen, Eve’s indomitable spirit led her to become a world-renowned athlete. With an impressive collection of medals and accolades, Eve’s inspiring story continues to empower individuals with disabilities and serves as a reminder of the power of determination. She will be forever remembered as a pioneer in women’s sports, leaving behind an enduring legacy.

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United StatesAsian AmericanBallet

Georgina Pazcoguin

Georgina Pazcoguin is an American ballerina who has made a significant impact in the dance world. Born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she possesses a unique background as a biracial individual with an Italian mother and a father who immigrated from the Philippines after completing medical school. Growing up in a family of six siblings, Pazcoguin began her ballet training at the Allegheny Ballet Academy at the age of four. Additionally, she studied African, tap, and jazz dance, showcasing her versatility even from an early age.

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United KingdomAviationPilot

Maya Ghazal

Maya Ghazal, a UK-based Syrian refugee, has overcome numerous challenges and made history as the first female Syrian refugee to become a pilot. In addition to her accomplishments in aviation, Ghazal serves as a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador, advocating for the rights and well-being of refugees worldwide. Her journey from war-torn Syria to becoming a symbol of hope showcases the power of determination and resilience.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant, an American electrical engineer, founded Black Girls Code, an organization focused on providing technology and computer programming education to African-American girls. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement, Bryant’s passion for technology led her to establish a nonprofit that aims to address the underrepresentation of African-American women in the tech industry. Her efforts have been recognized, and she was listed as one of the “25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology” by Business Insider.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPhysicist

Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson, a prominent figure in theoretical particle physics, made history as the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from MIT in any field. Her groundbreaking achievements, commitment to education, and milestone presidency have shaped the landscape of both physics and academia, inspiring generations of aspiring physicists, particularly women and minorities.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Cori Bush

Cori Anika Bush, a nurse, pastor, and Black Lives Matter activist, was born on July 21, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri. She has made a significant impact on her community and the nation as a whole, serving as a U.S. representative for Missouri’s 1st congressional district. Bush’s journey towards political leadership began with her early education and was influenced by her politically active family. She has become a powerful force for change and representation, advocating for social justice and equality.

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United StatesActorComedian

Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon Berthold, known as Kate McKinnon, was an American actress, comedian, impressionist, writer, and singer. With her remarkable character work and celebrity impressions, McKinnon rose to prominence as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL). She also gained recognition for her role on The Big Gay Sketch Show. McKinnon’s comedic genius and versatile talents have made a lasting impact on the entertainment industry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sarah E. Goode

Sarah Elisabeth Goode was an American entrepreneur and inventor who received a United States patent in 1885 for her cabinet bed. Her invention revolutionized small apartment living, providing comfort and convenience for individuals with limited space. Goode’s determination and innovative spirit have left a lasting impact on women’s history.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Raye Montague

Raye Jean Montague was an American naval engineer who made groundbreaking contributions to ship design and became the first female program manager of ships in the United States Navy. Her innovative approach and dedication to her work left a lasting impact on the naval engineering field.

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United KingdomJournalistLGBTQIA

Jane Hill

Jane Amanda Hill, born in 1969 in Eastbourne, Sussex, is an English newsreader and one of the main presenters for BBC News. With her extensive experience and versatility as a newsreader, Hill has become a prominent figure in the field of journalism, known for her dedication to delivering accurate and credible news to the public.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Glennon Doyle

Glennon Doyle is a renowned American author, activist, and speaker who has left an indelible mark on society with her powerful writings. With a honest and open approach, she has become a prominent voice in the feminist movement, advocating for self-acceptance and empowerment. Her memoirs have resonated deeply with readers, especially women, as she fearlessly delves into topics like addiction, mental health, and faith. Doyle’s bravery and authenticity have made her a beacon of inspiration for many.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sheyann Webb

Sheyann Webb-Christburg, born in 1956 in Selma, Alabama, is a civil rights activist known as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Smallest Freedom Fighter” and co-author of Selma, Lord, Selma. She participated in the first attempt at the Selma to Montgomery march, known as Bloody Sunday, at the age of eight. Her bravery and commitment to the cause continue to inspire future generations of women.

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GuadeloupeActivistAfrican American

La Mulâtresse Solitude

La Mulâtresse Solitude (circa 1772 – 1802) was a historical figure and a heroine in the fight against slavery on French Guadeloupe. She has become a legend and a symbol of women’s resistance in the struggle against slavery in the history of the island.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Bettye Washington Greene

Bettye Washington Greene was an American industrial research chemist who made significant contributions to the field of latex and polymers. Born and raised in a segregated community, she shattered barriers and became the first African American female Ph.D. chemist to work at the Dow Chemical Company. Throughout her career, she published important papers and filed for multiple patents, revolutionizing the field of latex technology. Her legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire future generations of African American women in science.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGovernment

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins is the first Black openly transgender woman elected to public office in the United States. Serving on the Minneapolis City Council since 2018 and as council president since 2022, she is a prominent figure in local governance. Jenkins has had an eventful journey from her childhood in a low-income community to becoming a trailblazing political figure and advocate for transgender rights. Her accomplishments have made a lasting impact on society, particularly for Black transgender women.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, an American activist and whistleblower, made a courageous decision in 2010 to leak classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. Her actions sparked important conversations about government transparency and accountability, and she has also played a significant role in raising awareness about gender identity as a trans woman. Manning’s impact on society and her dedication to revealing the truth have made her a significant figure in women’s history.

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HondurasActivistIndigenous

Berta Cáceres

Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores was a Honduran (Lenca) environmental activist and indigenous leader. She co-founded COPINH and successfully campaigned against the Agua Zarca Dam. Despite facing constant threats, Berta’s dedication and sacrifice made her a central figure in women’s history, reminding us of the importance of defending indigenous rights and protecting the environment.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Margaretta Forten

Margaretta Forten (1806-1875) was a prominent African-American suffragist and abolitionist. She co-founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, fought for women’s rights, and played a vital role in the women’s suffrage movement. Margaretta dedicated her life to education, believing it was crucial for empowering individuals and fostering social change. Her legacy as a champion for equality and justice lives on, and she is buried in Philadelphia.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Vicky Bullett

Victoria Andrea Bullett, born on October 4, 1967, is an American former professional basketball player and current women’s basketball head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Throughout her career, she played for the Charlotte Sting and Washington Mystics in the WNBA, as well as for various European and South American professional teams, the U.S. Olympic team, and the University of Maryland Terrapins. With her versatility on the court, Bullett played at different positions including center, small forward, and power forward. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, solidifying her status as one of the most influential figures in the sport.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Rebecca Cole

Rebecca J. Cole was an American physician and social reformer who became the second African-American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Despite facing racial and gender-based barriers, Cole made significant contributions in the field of medicine and advocacy for women’s rights. She paved the way for future African American women in medicine and fought for healthcare access for underprivileged communities.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sally Seymour

Sally Seymour was an African American pastry chef and restaurateur who defied societal expectations to become a successful entrepreneur and renowned pastry chef. Her culinary brilliance and dedication earned her widespread popularity and acclaim in Charleston, where she established her own bakery and trained several pupils. Her legacy lives on through her daughter, who expanded the business, and her influence can still be seen in the culinary traditions of the region.

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United StatesAmerican FootballCoach

Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers (born August 7, 1986) is an American football coach in the National Football League (NFL). She made history as the first openly gay and first female coach in Super Bowl history. Sowers began her football career playing in the Women’s Football Alliance before joining the NFL in 2016. She currently works in the athletic department of Ottawa University.

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South AfricaIntersexLGBTQIA

Caster Semenya

Mokgadi Caster Semenya OIB is a South African middle-distance runner who has achieved great success in women’s athletics, winning two Olympic gold medals and three World Championships in the 800 meters event. Despite facing challenges and scrutiny, Semenya has become a symbol of resilience and courage, sparking conversations about inclusivity and the rights of athletes. Her impact on women’s athletics and society is significant.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Lee Thornton

Lee Thornton (1941-2013) was a trailblazing American journalist and professor who broke racial barriers in the field. She worked for prestigious news organizations such as CBS, CNN, and NPR, and was the first African American woman to cover the White House. Thornton’s impact extended beyond her reporting, as she also made significant contributions to academia, teaching journalism at Howard University and the University of Maryland. Her dedication, excellence, and commitment to truth have left an enduring legacy in the world of journalism.

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United StatesAsian AmericanMartial Artist

Diana Lee Inosanto

Diana Lee Inosanto, an American actress, director, stuntwoman, and martial artist, comes from a martial arts family. Her father, Dan Inosanto, was a renowned martial artist and student of Bruce Lee. Inosanto has made significant contributions to the martial arts, film and television, and literary worlds, solidifying her place as a respected figure in these industries. Her skills and dedication have earned her recognition, including being named Woman of the Year by Black Belt Magazine in 2009.

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United StatesEducatorIndigenous

Joyce Dugan

Joyce Dugan (born c.1952, Cherokee) is an American educator, school administrator, and politician. She served as the 24th Principal Chief of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from 1995 to 1999, making her the first woman to be elected to this position. As of 2022, she remains the only woman to have held this office.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott was an American Quaker, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and social reformer. She dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and equality of marginalized groups, including women and African Americans. Her passion for women’s rights was ignited when she was excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London in 1840. Mott played a significant role in the establishment of educational institutions that benefitted women and remained a central figure in various reform movements until her death in 1880. Her tireless efforts and unwavering dedication continue to inspire generations of activists and advocates for social justice.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sheila White

Sheila White, an African-American anti-sex trafficking activist, was born in 1988 in The Bronx, New York City. Her life story is one of resilience, overcoming immense challenges, and dedicating herself to raising awareness about the issue of human trafficking.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Marie Maynard Daly

Marie Maynard Daly was an American biochemist who made significant contributions to the field of chemistry and medicine. She was the first African-American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her groundbreaking research on protein synthesis, hypertension, and muscle cells’ uptake of creatine deepened our understanding of biochemistry and paved the way for medical advancements. Daly’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity also played a vital role in inspiring underrepresented individuals to pursue careers in science.

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GermanyUnited StatesActivist

Wilhelmine Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett

Wilhelmine Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett was a Native Hawaiian suffragist who played a pivotal role in the fight for women’s voting rights in Hawaii. With her background in politics and support from her husband, Dowsett organized the National Women’s Equal Suffrage Association of Hawaii and continued to advocate for women’s rights even after the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment. Her dedication and leadership had a lasting impact on Hawaiian society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Bet or Mum Bet, was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. Her courageous fight for freedom and the subsequent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court marked a significant milestone in the struggle for emancipation and the abolition of slavery in the United States.

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New ZealandLawyerRefugee

Golriz Ghahraman

Golriz Ghahraman MP is an Iranian-born New Zealand politician, member of Parliament, and author. She became the first refugee elected to New Zealand’s Parliament and has been a prominent advocate for human rights, social justice, and environmental issues. Ghahraman has used her platform to raise awareness about the struggles faced by refugees and advocate for fair and compassionate refugee policies.

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United StatesAsian AmericanJournalist

Michiko Kakutani

Michiko Kakutani, born in 1955 in New Haven, Connecticut, is an influential American writer and retired literary critic. Her insightful reviews and analytical abilities during her time as a book reviewer for The New York Times earned her widespread praise and established her as a major voice in the literary world. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1998 for her outstanding contributions to literary criticism.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall, the first African American child to attend an all-white school in Louisiana, was born on September 8, 1954. Facing intense opposition and hostility, Ruby’s remarkable story of resilience and bravery in the face of adversity has become a symbol of strength and determination in the fight for equal rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Willa Brown

Willa Beatrice Brown, an influential American aviator, teacher, and civil rights activist, shattered racial and gender barriers in the field of aviation. She became the first African American woman in the United States to earn an aircraft mechanic’s license in 1935, and later achieved her private and commercial pilot’s licenses. Besides her groundbreaking achievements, Brown also co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics, trained Tuskegee Airmen, and advocated for political and social change throughout her life.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Vivienne Malone-Mayes

Vivienne Lucille Malone-Mayes, an accomplished American mathematician and professor, overcame significant obstacles to make groundbreaking contributions to the field of mathematics. Despite facing racial segregation and discrimination, she became the fifth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in the United States. Her determination and resilience continue to inspire future generations in the pursuit of education and knowledge.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell

Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and the first female African-American fighter pilot in Air Force history. Her determination and passion for aviation propelled her forward, despite the challenges she faced. Kimbrell’s impressive career has made her a trailblazer and role model for women in the military, leaving a lasting impact on the field.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Teresa Weatherspoon

Teresa Weatherspoon is an American professional basketball coach and former player who had a successful career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is known for her energetic play and leadership skills, and is considered one of the top players in WNBA history. Weatherspoon’s impact extends beyond her playing career, as she has also made a name for herself as a talented coach.

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AustriaUnited StatesDisabled

Sofie Herzog

Sofie Herzog, also known as Dalia, Delia, or Deligath, was a trailblazing Texas physician and the first woman to work as the head surgeon in the American rail industry. Born in Vienna, Austria, Sofie came from a family of doctors and made significant contributions to medicine in Texas, including developing her unique method to remove bullets from gunshot wounds. Her dedication and groundbreaking techniques have left an indelible mark on Texas history.

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CanadaGovernmentLGBTQIA

Kathleen Wynne

Kathleen O’Day Wynne, born in 1953, made history as the first female premier of Ontario and the first openly gay premier in Canada. Throughout her political career, she broke barriers and advocated for a more inclusive and progressive Ontario. Wynne championed policies such as free prescription drug coverage for children and free post-secondary tuition for lower-income families. Despite facing controversies and challenges, her legacy as a trailblazing leader continues to inspire others.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Pearl Mankiller was a trailblazing Native American activist, social worker, and community developer. Born in 1945 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, she dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of her people and improving the lives of Native Americans. As the first woman elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, she made transformative changes, building health clinics, establishing education programs, and promoting self-governance. Her legacy continues to inspire others to advocate for marginalized communities.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Aurelia Browder

Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman was an African-American civil rights activist born on January 29, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama. Throughout her life, Browder played a crucial role in the fight for racial equality, leaving an indelible mark on history.

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JapanUnited StatesAfrican American

Sophia Danenberg

Sophia Danenberg, the first African American and first black woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, is a trailblazer in the world of mountaineering. Her remarkable achievement not only established her as a pioneering figure in the mountaineering community but also inspired countless individuals to break barriers and pursue their dreams.

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ChinaActivistIntersex

Small Luk

Small Luk, the first intersex person to openly acknowledge her biological sex characteristics in Hong Kong, has made significant contributions towards advocating for the rights of intersex individuals. Born with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, Luk underwent a series of surgeries in her childhood to construct a urethra. However, the surgeries proved unsuccessful, leading to immense physical and emotional pain for Luk, causing her to attempt suicide several times. Luk’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance has played a vital role in raising awareness about intersex conditions and promoting the rights of intersex people.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Gwen Carr

Gwen Carr (born 1949) is an American activist, public speaker, and author. She is known for her tireless advocacy in the fight against police brutality and for justice in the United States. Carr’s life changed forever on July 17, 2014, when her son, Eric Garner, was killed by a New York Police Department officer during an arrest.

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MexicoActivistIndigenous

Comandanta Ramona

Comandanta Ramona (1959 – January 6, 2006) was an officer of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a revolutionary indigenous autonomist organization based in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. She led the Zapatista Army into San Cristóbal de las Casas in 1994, and was the first Zapatista to appear publicly in Mexico City. Ramona was born in 1959 in a Tzotzil Maya community in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Growing up in a marginalized community, she experienced poverty and struggled to make a living. Ramona used to sell handmade goods to support herself before she joined the EZLN.

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Costa RicaJamaicaUnited States

Hughenna L. Gauntlett

Hughenna Louise Gauntlett, a pioneering American physician, faced various challenges throughout her career, including racial and gender discrimination. Despite these obstacles, Gauntlett became the first Black woman to be certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1968. She left behind a significant legacy in the medical field, inspiring future generations of medical professionals, especially women and individuals from underrepresented communities.

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CanadaUnited StatesActivist

Mary Ann Shadd

Mary Ann Camberton Shadd Cary was a trailblazer in promoting racial equality and women’s rights. As the first black woman publisher in North America and the second black woman to attend law school in the US, she dedicated her life to education, abolition, and civil rights. Her activism and accomplishments continue to inspire and shape history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Zipporah Potter Atkins

Zipporah Potter Atkins, a free African American woman, defied societal norms by owning land in colonial Boston. Her purchase of a home in 1670 made her the first African American to own land in the city. Despite facing limited rights and opportunities, Zipporah persevered and even learned to read, leaving her mark on history as a trailblazer for African American empowerment and women’s rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Alethia Tanner

Alethia Tanner, also known as Alethia “Lethe” Browning Tanner, was a prominent educator and leader in the African American community in Washington, D.C. during the early 19th century. She played a significant role in the establishment of The Bell School, the first school for free black children in the city. Tanner’s dedication to education and freeing enslaved individuals made her a respected figure in her community.

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Great BritainCyclistDisabled

Karen Darke

Karen Darke, MBE, FRSGS, is a remarkable British Paralympic cyclist, paratriathlete, adventurer, and author. Born on June 25, 1971, in Halifax, Yorkshire, she has defied all odds and become an inspiration to many.

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IsraelActivistJewish

Dana Olmert

Dana Olmert is an Israeli left-wing activist, literary theorist, and editor. She is widely recognized for her contributions to literature and her work in advocating for social justice issues. Born in Jerusalem, Olmert’s academic achievements are noteworthy. She obtained a PhD in literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in “The Growth of Hebrew Poetry by Women During the Twenties: Psychoanalytical and Feminist Perspectives.” Her dedication to social justice is evident through her involvement with the organization Machsom Watch, and her courage and unwavering commitment to equal rights have made her a role model for young LGBTQ+ individuals.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Teresa Edwards

Teresa Edwards, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and former American women’s basketball player, is widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century. She had an outstanding basketball career, representing the United States in five Olympic Games and earning four gold medals. Edwards’s impact on women’s basketball, both domestically and internationally, continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanComputer Scientist

Latanya Sweeney

Latanya Arvette Sweeney is a groundbreaking American computer scientist known for her research in data privacy. She is currently a professor at Harvard University and the founder of the Public Interest Tech Lab. Sweeney’s most notable achievement is the development of k-anonymity, which sparked a national conversation on data privacy. She has also had a significant impact on public policy and is committed to mentoring underrepresented groups in computer science. Sweeney has received numerous awards for her contributions to the field and continues to inspire others in technology and advocacy.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronomer

Moogega Cooper

Moogega Cooper (born 1985) is an American astronomer, physicist, and engineer. She is best known for her work in planetary protection and her involvement in the Mars 2020 Mission and the InSight Mission. Dr. Cooper also takes part in programs and speaking engagements to encourage young women and others from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in science and technology.

Died:

Awards:
– NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal (2018)

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a trans woman author, activist, and community organizer, has played a significant role in activism and community organizing for transgender rights. She has made substantial contributions to oral history collections and published her memoir, Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary. Her resilience, courage, and commitment to justice have solidified her place as a pioneering figure in the transgender rights movement and women’s history.

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United StatesActorComedian

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen Lee DeGeneres, known mononymously as Ellen, is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She gained popularity for her sharp wit and humorous observations in the early 1980s and went on to become one of the most beloved comedians in America. DeGeneres made history by coming out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show and her sitcom, Ellen, contributing to greater visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. She then launched The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which became a cultural phenomenon. DeGeneres is also known for her philanthropy and advocacy work.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Georgia Ann Robinson

Georgia Ann Robinson, the first African American woman appointed as a police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), broke down racial barriers and improved the lives of women in Los Angeles. She became a symbol of hope and progress for African American club women advocating for black women in law enforcement. Robinson’s dedication, capabilities, and groundbreaking achievements paved the way for greater diversity within the LAPD and inspired future generations of African American women in law enforcement.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanData Scientist

Valerie Thomas

Valerie L. Thomas is an American data scientist and inventor, known for her groundbreaking work in image processing and the invention of the illusion transmitter. She excelled in mathematics and science, graduating with a degree in physics with highest honors. Thomas played a crucial role in developing computer data systems for satellite operations and oversaw the creation of the Landsat program. She invented the illusion transmitter, which has become an indispensable tool for NASA and has found applications in various fields. Thomas’s achievements and pioneering spirit continue to inspire future generations.

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WalesBroadcasterDisabled

Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson, born in 1969, is a Welsh life peeress, television presenter, and former wheelchair racer. With an illustrious career in Paralympic athletics, Grey-Thompson earned an astonishing 16 Paralympic medals and set an impressive 30 world records. Beyond the track, she broke barriers as a television presenter and dedicated herself to empowering disabled individuals and supporting charitable causes. Her impact and influence have made her an iconic figure in women’s history and a true legend of Paralympic sport.

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United StatesEsportsLGBTQIA

Remilia

Maria Creveling, known as Remilia, was a pioneer in the esports community as the first woman and transgender person to compete in the NA LCS. Her mastery of the champion Thresh earned her the nickname “Thresh Queen.” Despite significant challenges and online harassment, Remilia’s impact on the industry paved the way for greater inclusivity and acceptance.

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New ZealandActivistIndigenous

Eva Rickard

Eva Rickard was a prominent activist for Māori land rights and women’s rights within Māoridom. Known for her tireless advocacy for the return of ancestral lands, she gained public attention through her protests and civil disobedience, leading to the return of the land and the empowerment of Māori communities. She also challenged traditional Māori protocol by calling for Māori women to have a voice in official gatherings, inspiring generations of Māori women to demand recognition and rights. Her impact on indigenous rights and gender equality in New Zealand is significant.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson, a pioneering American mathematician and aerospace engineer, made significant contributions to aeronautics at NACA and NASA. Overcoming racial and gender barriers, she became NASA’s first black female engineer. Jackson’s expertise advanced aerospace technology, and her advocacy for diversity and equal opportunities left an indelible impact. Her inspiring story was featured in the book “Hidden Figures” and honored with the renaming of NASA headquarters to the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstrophysicist

Jedidah Isler

Jedidah C. Isler is the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale University. Her research focuses on the study of blazars and the jet streams they emit. Isler is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM fields and has made significant contributions to advancing representation in scientific research and education. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor of Astrophysics at Dartmouth College and was appointed as a member of Joe Biden’s presidential transition Agency Review Team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 2020.

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United StatesBlindDisabled

Rachael Scdoris

Rachael Scdoris, a trailblazer in the world of sled dog racing, has defied all odds despite being born with a visual disorder. She became the first legally blind person and the youngest musher to complete the 500-mile International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race and went on to conquer the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Her remarkable achievements have inspired athletes worldwide.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Euphemia Haynes

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in mathematics, dedicated her life to education and advocacy. Her groundbreaking journey led her to earn a PhD from the Catholic University of America in 1943. She made significant contributions to the educational system in Washington, D.C., and her advocacy work played a pivotal role in ending the track system that disadvantaged African-American students. Euphemia’s enduring legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire generations.

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United StatesActivistIndigenous

Phyllis Young

Phyllis Young is an American Indian rights activist, known for her leadership in the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle. She co-founded Women of All Red Nations to address the challenges faced by Indigenous women. Young played a pivotal role in initiating global dialogues on Native American issues, including coordinating the first United Nations conference on Indians in the Americas in 1977. She was involved in the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and continues to advocate for Indigenous communities. Young’s legacy as a dedicated activist has left an indelible mark on women’s history.

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United StatesBusinessLGBTQIA

Mary Cheney

Mary Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and has had a significant impact in politics and business. She served as a key campaign aide for her father, held a position at AOL, and was a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Her personal life also generated attention when she announced her pregnancy and gave birth to her first child.

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United StatesActivistBusiness

Mary Birdsall

Mary B. Thistlethwaite Birdsall, an American suffragette and journalist, dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights. From her early career as the woman’s editor at the Indiana Farmer newspaper to her ownership of The Lily, a newspaper for women, Birdsall played a crucial role in advancing the suffrage movement. Her contributions and leadership within the Indiana Woman’s Suffrage Association were instrumental in the fight for equality. Mary Birdsall’s legacy continues to inspire generations of activists.

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AfghanistanDisabled

Amina Azimi

Amina Azimi, born in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is an advocate for disabled women’s rights in her country. Her life has been shaped by the ongoing Afghan Civil War, which resulted in a tragic loss for her at a young age. At the tender age of 11, Azimi lost her right leg when a rocket propelled grenade struck her home. This devastating event placed her in the large group of disabled Afghans, in a country where disability rates are amongst the highest in the world.

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BahrainDisabledShot Putter

Fatema Nedham

Fatema Nedham is a Paralympic athlete from Bahrain. She made history by becoming the first female Paralympic athlete from Bahrain to win a medal at the Summer Paralympics. She secured the gold medal in the women’s shot put F53 event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a powerful throw of 4.76 meters. Nedham’s determination and outstanding athleticism have made her an inspiration to aspiring Paralympic athletes and individuals with disabilities worldwide. She has proven that with hard work and perseverance, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is an American ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theatre and the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s history. Raised in Los Angeles, Copeland’s love for dance blossomed at age 13. Despite facing challenges and a custody battle, Copeland’s determination and talent propelled her career forward. She has become a beacon of inspiration, a best-selling author, and an influential figure in the ballet world.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Lisa Leslie

Lisa Leslie’s exceptional skill and perseverance in basketball left an indelible mark on the sport and blazed a trail for women. Raised by a single mother who started her truck driving business, Leslie’s success began in middle school when she joined the school team. She continued to excel in high school and college, becoming a dominant player in the newly formed WNBA. Leslie’s impact extended beyond the court, as she became a generational talent, a trailblazer, and an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment.

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New ZealandActivistIndigenous

Heni Materoa Sunderland

Heni Materoa Sunderland, also known as Nanny Heni, was a Māori kaumātua (community leader) in New Zealand who dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights. She grew up in difficult circumstances but was fortunate to be raised by her grandparents, who instilled in her a strong sense of cultural identity. Sunderland’s determination and courage set an example for future generations and challenged traditional gender roles within her community. She was recognized for her exemplary community service and was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate for her impact and recognition as a leader and champion for the rights of her community.

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CanadaEsportsLGBTQIA

Scarlett

Sasha Hostyn, also known as Scarlett, is a Canadian professional video game player. In 2012, she gained recognition by defeating highly ranked professionals in a StarCraft II tournament. Hostyn’s talent and determination led her to become the first woman to win a major StarCraft II tournament, solidifying her place in gaming history. She is an inspiration and role model for aspiring gamers, particularly women, breaking barriers and leaving a lasting impact on the gaming community.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile, an American singer-songwriter and activist, has made a name for herself in the music industry with her emotionally charged lyrics and powerful vocals. From her early days in Ravensdale, Washington, to her rise to fame with hits like “The Story,” Carlile’s music resonates with audiences worldwide. In addition to her musical talents, Carlile is also a dedicated activist, using her platform to advocate for social justice and LGBTQ+ rights. With nine Grammy Awards and numerous nominations under her belt, Carlile has secured her place as an influential artist in the industry.

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Trinidad and TobagoUnited StatesAfrican American

Pearl Primus

Pearl Eileen Primus (November 29, 1919 – October 29, 1994) was an American dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist. Primus played a pivotal role in the presentation of African dance to American audiences, promoting it as a valuable art form worthy of study and performance. Her work was a response to prevailing myths of savagery and the limited understanding of African culture prevalent at the time. Primus sought to enlighten the Western world about African dance, showcasing its significance and the dignified expression it represented.

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United KingdomActivistBusiness

Jayne Ozanne

Jayne Margaret Ozanne, a British evangelical Anglican, has made significant contributions to LGBTQI rights and advocacy. She has been involved in various organizations and initiatives, and her story exemplifies the power of faith, activism, and personal integrity in effecting positive change in society.

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United StatesActivistJudge

Phyllis Frye

Phyllis Randolph Frye, born circa 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, is a transgender woman who has made significant strides in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Frye’s journey towards becoming the first openly transgender judge appointed in the world has been marked with obstacles and challenges, which she faced with resilience and unwavering determination.

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Great BritainEconomistGovernment

Maureen Colquhoun

Maureen Colquhoun, Britain’s first openly lesbian Member of Parliament, broke barriers and paved the way for LGBTQ+ representation in British politics. Her activism for gender equality and social justice continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the significance of diverse representation and the ongoing fight for equal rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Kimberly Anyadike

In 2009, at the age of 15, Kimberly Anyadike became the youngest African American woman to complete a transcontinental flight across the United States. With a single-engine Cessna 172, she flew from Los Angeles, California to Newport News, Virginia in 13 days. Anyadike’s bravery, determination, and passion for aviation inspire aspiring aviators and honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. In 2015, she received the Young Aviator’s Award from the Tuskegee Airmen for her groundbreaking achievement.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Henrietta Duterte

Henrietta Duterte (1817 – December 23, 1903) was an African-American funeral home owner, philanthropist, and abolitionist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the first American woman to own a mortuary, and her business operated as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Known for her fashionable attire, Duterte played a significant role in aiding runaway slaves, using her funeral parlor as a safe haven. She was also a devoted philanthropist, making generous contributions to various organizations in her community.

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AustriaDisabledReligious Leader

Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria

Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, despite facing physical disabilities, demonstrated remarkable intelligence and played significant roles in state events throughout her life. As the abbess of the Theresian Institution of Noble Ladies in Prague and later in Klagenfurt, she dedicated herself to education and the well-being of the noble ladies under her care. Her perseverance, resilience, and contributions to science and art make her an inspiring figure in women’s history.

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United StatesActivistGovernment

Roberta Achtenberg

Roberta Achtenberg (born July 20, 1950) is an American attorney and civil rights advocate who has made significant contributions to the field of civil rights in the United States. She is widely recognized for her work as a commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights and as the first openly lesbian or gay public official in the country to have her appointment to a federal position confirmed by the United States Senate.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall, an American schoolteacher and activist, dedicated her life to advancing education and equality for black girls in the early 19th century. Despite facing racism and opposition, Crandall stood firm in her belief in equal educational opportunities for all. Her pioneering efforts and unwavering determination left a lasting impact on women’s history and the fight against racial inequality.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Alice Stebbins Wells

Alice Stebbins Wells, a trailblazing figure in American law enforcement, became one of the first American-born female police officers in 1910. Her determination to pursue a career in police work was fueled by her study at the Hartford Theological Seminary, which revealed the need for women officers. Despite facing challenges, Wells paved the way for other women to join the force and established the International Policewomen’s Association. Her legacy continues to inspire future generations of women in law enforcement.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Flossie Bailey

Katherine “Flossie” Bailey (1895 – February 6, 1952) was a civil rights and anti-lynching activist from Indiana. She established a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Marion, Indiana, in 1918 and became especially active fighting for justice and equality following the double lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in 1930. As president of the Indiana NAACP, Bailey was pivotal in lobbying for passage of a statewide anti-lynching law in Indiana in 1931 and advocated for a similar bill at the national level. She was also a recipient of the national NAACP’s Madam C. J. Walker Medal.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBobsledder

Vonetta Flowers

Vonetta Flowers, born in 1973 in Birmingham, Alabama, made history in the 2002 Winter Olympics as the first African American and the first Black athlete from any country to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics. After a successful athletic career in track and field, she transitioned to bobsledding and made her mark in the sport by winning gold in the two-woman event at the 2002 Games. Flowers’ achievements and contributions to bobsledding cemented her status as a trailblazer.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ayọ Tometi

Ayọ Tometi, an American human rights activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, has dedicated her life to advocating for racial justice and immigrant rights. Raised by Nigerian immigrants in Phoenix, Arizona, Tometi’s experiences and her parents’ struggles shaped her commitment to social justice. She has been a powerful voice in the fight against police violence and systemic racism, and her work extends to global human rights advocacy. Tometi’s impact on women’s history is profound, inspiring countless individuals to work towards a more just and inclusive world.

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MexicoIndigenousRunner

María Lorena Ramírez

María Lorena Ramírez Hernández, an indigenous long-distance runner from the Rarámuri ethnic group in Chihuahua, Mexico, rose to international fame after winning the Cerro Rojo UltraTrail in 2017 barefoot and wearing traditional Rarámuri attire. Her incredible achievements and unwavering dedication have inspired Rarámuri children and earned her recognition as a symbol of strength and resilience.

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IndonesiaActivistDisabled

Opu Daeng Risaju

Opu Daeng Risaju, a fearless Indonesian independence activist, dedicated her life to fighting against Dutch colonization. She faced imprisonment, forced labor, and torture but remained undeterred in her pursuit of freedom. In 2006, she was posthumously honored as a National Hero of Indonesia, a testament to her strength and determination.

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IndiaActivistLGBTQIA

Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli

Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli is an Indian transgender activist, RTI activist, singer, and motivational speaker. Born and raised in Hyderabad, Vyjayanti had a challenging childhood marked by school abuse, conversion therapy, bullying, and assault. Despite facing these hardships, she emerged as a strong advocate for the rights and dignity of transgender individuals.

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AustraliaActivistIndigenous

Pearl Gibbs

Pearl Mary (Gambanyi) Gibbs was an Indigenous Australian activist who played a pivotal role in the Aboriginal movement during the early 20th century. Born on July 18, 1901, in La Perouse, Sydney, Gibbs emerged as the most prominent female activist within the Aboriginal community.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Mary Deconge

Mary Lovenia DeConge-Watson, born in 1933 in Wickliff, Louisiana, is an American mathematician and former nun. She is known for being the 15th African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. in mathematics. DeConge-Watson’s journey towards becoming a mathematician and her contributions to the field are both inspiring and significant.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Willie Hobbs Moore

Willie Hobbs Moore (1934-1994) was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in physics. Her groundbreaking achievements in science and engineering, along with her dedication to mentorship and promoting diversity, have left a lasting impact on society.

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BotswanaActivistArtist

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile (born January 1988), also known as Kat Kai Kol-Kes, is a performance artist, musician, writer, and LGBT activist from Botswana. She is known for being the first public figure from the country to openly identify as a transgender person. Kolanyane-Kesupile has made significant contributions to the arts, activism, and the LGBTQ+ community in Botswana and beyond.

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United StatesActorComedian

Lily Tomlin

Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin is an iconic American actress, comedian, writer, singer, and producer. Born on September 1, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, she began her career in stand-up comedy and sketch comedy before transitioning to become a prominent actress on both stage and screen. Over the course of her career spanning more than fifty years, Tomlin has garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, solidifying her place in entertainment history.

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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Lisa Ben

Edythe D. Eyde, better known as Lisa Ben, was a pioneer in the LGBT movement. She created the first known lesbian publication in North America, Vice Versa, and used her music to entertain and unite the lesbian community during a time when their voices were often silenced. Her contributions continue to inspire and remind us of the importance of representation and community.

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ColombiaActivistLawyer

Angélica Lozano Correa

Angélica Lozano Correa, the first openly bisexual legislator in Colombia, is a lawyer, politician, and LGBTQ+ rights activist. Her dedication to human rights began while studying law, where she volunteered to protect the rights of indigenous communities. Throughout her political career, Lozano has fought for marginalized communities and advocated for inclusive policies. Her election to the Chamber of Representatives in 2014 broke barriers and paved the way for LGBTQ+ representation in the country’s political landscape. Lozano’s unwavering commitment to equality and justice extends beyond Colombia’s borders.

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Great BritainUnited StatesAfrican American

Natalia Tanner

Natalia Tanner (1922-2018) was a pioneering American physician who fought against health inequality. As the first female African-American fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she paved the way for women and people of color in medicine. Her dedication to her patients and tireless advocacy for equal access to healthcare made a lasting impact on the medical profession.

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PhilippinesLGBTQIAPolitician

Geraldine Roman

Geraldine Roman, the first transgender person elected to the Congress of the Philippines, has made a lasting impact on the country through her resilient and determined journey. Facing challenges and teasing in her youth, Roman’s father instilled in her the importance of confidence. She pursued her education and obtained two master’s degrees in Spain before returning to the Philippines, where she embarked on a political career. As a congresswoman, she has been a trailblazer and advocate for equality, spearheading the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill and championing various advocacies for her district. Her contributions have gained recognition both locally and globally, solidifying her as a pioneer in Philippine politics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAmerican Football

Linda Jefferson

Linda Jefferson, a trailblazer in women’s football, broke through societal barriers with her exceptional talent and athleticism. As a member of the Toledo Troopers in the 1970s, Jefferson’s electrifying performances captivated football fans nationwide. Her six-year winning streak and numerous accolades solidify her status as a symbol of excellence and inspiration for women in sports. Inducted into the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame and the American Association Football Hall of Fame, Jefferson shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of female athletes.

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United StatesVietnamAsian American

Le Ly Hayslip

Le Ly Hayslip, a Vietnamese-American writer, memoirist, and humanitarian, has dedicated her life to rebuilding cultural bridges between Vietnam and America after the Vietnam War. Her powerful memoirs, such as “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places,” provide profound insights into her experiences and journey towards finding inner peace. Through her foundations, Hayslip continues to work tirelessly to promote understanding and peace between the two nations.

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United StatesActivistEngineer

Liz Fong-Jones

Liz Fong-Jones is a prominent site reliability engineer and developer advocate known not only for her technical expertise but also for her significant contributions to labor activism and worker organization efforts within the tech industry. As the president of the board of directors of the Solidarity Fund by Coworker, she has been instrumental in supporting and empowering workers. Fong-Jones continues to inspire and advocate for the rights of workers in the tech industry, leveraging her technical expertise and passion for social justice.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Key Grinstead

Elizabeth Key Grinstead was a pioneer figure in early American history, advocating for the rights of enslaved individuals. Born in 1630 in Warwick County, Virginia, Key challenged the institution of slavery and secured her own freedom, becoming one of the first black women in the Thirteen Colonies to do so. Her landmark legal victory and its subsequent legislation made a significant impact on the future of slavery in the English colonies.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGeographer

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a prominent prison abolitionist and scholar, is known for her significant contributions to the field of carceral geography. Her upbringing, influenced by her family’s commitment to social justice, fueled her determination to fight for equality and justice. Gilmore’s activism began in college and continued throughout her career, leading her to co-found social justice organizations and challenge society’s perception of incarceration. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Geographers.

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United StatesDisabledSurfer

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Meilani Hamilton, a professional surfer and writer, has inspired millions with her story of resilience. Despite losing her left arm in a shark attack at the age of thirteen, she returned to the water just one month later and went on to achieve remarkable success in surfing. Bethany’s story of triumph over adversity has captivated readers worldwide and has been adapted into a feature film. She continues to surf professionally and advocate for others with disabilities.

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ItalyActivistLGBTQIA

Mariasilvia Spolato

Mariasilvia Spolato (1935-2018) was an influential Italian activist for LGBT rights, a lesbian feminist, and a magazine founder and publisher. She played a crucial role as one of the pioneers of the homosexual rights movement in Italy, and she was renowned for being the first woman in the country to publicly declare her homosexuality. Spolato’s unwavering commitment to fighting for equality and her resilience in the face of discrimination and persecution shaped her remarkable life and inspired many others in the process.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Azellia White

Azellia White broke barriers as an African-American aviator, defying stereotypes by becoming one of the first African-American women in the United States to earn a pilot’s license. Her groundbreaking achievements and indomitable spirit paved the way for others in the field of aviation. White passed away in 2019 at the age of 106, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance and determination.

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United StatesActorLGBTQIA

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson, born in 1974, is an American actress known for her versatile talent. She has received numerous awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Her impact extends beyond Hollywood, as she has been recognized as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. From her early television roles to her captivating performances in film and theater, Paulson has solidified her place as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry.

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DenmarkActivistLGBTQIA

Lili Elbe

Lili Elbe, a Danish painter and trans woman, made history as one of the early recipients of gender-affirming surgery. Her journey of self-discovery and determination to live her true identity made her an influential figure in LGBTQ+ history. Despite societal challenges, Elbe’s courage to live authentically inspired many others who struggled with their own identities. Her legacy lives on, highlighting the importance of self-acceptance and the pursuit of happiness.

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