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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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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 StatesActorArtist

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen, a trailblazer in transgender rights, made history as the first person in the United States to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Her open discussion of her journey raised awareness and understanding of transgender issues. In addition to her groundbreaking work, Jorgensen had a successful career as an actress, singer, and recording artist, using her platform to advocate for transgender rights. Her story continues to inspire and challenge societal norms surrounding gender identity and expression.

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United StatesArtistAviation

Marion Rice Hart

Marion Rice Hart (10 October 1891 – July 2, 1990) was an American sportswoman, writer, and trailblazer for women in engineering and exploration. She became the first woman to graduate in chemical engineering from MIT and achieved notable accomplishments in various fields throughout her remarkable life. Marion’s accomplishments in a male-dominated field were groundbreaking, setting the stage for future generations of women in engineering. Her relentless pursuit of her passions, fearless exploration of uncharted territories, and unwavering commitment to breaking barriers have left an indelible mark on history, making her a truly remarkable and enduring figure in women’s history.

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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 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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AustraliaArtistWriter

Julianne Pierce

Julianne Pierce is an Australian new media artist, curator, art critic, writer, and arts administrator. She is best known for her contributions to cyberfeminism and her involvement in various influential organizations within the arts community. Pierce’s work has left a lasting impact on the world of contemporary art and has helped shape the dialogue surrounding gender, technology, and identity.

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ChinaArtistDancer

Nellie Yu Roung Ling

Nellie Yu Roung Ling, also known as Nelly, was born in 1882. She was a renowned dancer and considered the first modern dancer of China. Born into an upper-class family, Roung Ling was exposed to Western education, and her passion for dance and exceptional talent made her a pioneer in the field. She became a cultural ambassador, promoting Chinese dance and culture in France, and her influence extended beyond dance as she challenged societal norms and expectations for women.

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MexicoArtist

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, a renowned Mexican painter, was deeply influenced by her country’s popular culture and blended realism with elements of fantasy in her artwork. She aimed to redefine Mexican identity and incorporated elements of pre-Columbian and Catholic beliefs into her self-portraits. Kahlo’s artistic legacy was rediscovered in the late 1970s, and she is now celebrated as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

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South KoreaActivistArtist

Kim Soon-duk

Kim Soon-duk (1921–2004), also known as Kim Tŏk-chin, was a Korean comfort woman who became one of the best-known survivors due to her vivid paintings that depicted life as “comfort women.” She participated in movements against sex slavery, including the Wednesday Demonstration. She also traveled abroad to attend exhibits that displayed her paintings, participated in international speaking tours, and testified about her experiences.

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United StatesActivistArtist

Peggy Oki

Peggy E. Oki is an American skateboarder, surfer, artist, and environmental activist. As an original member of the Z-Boys, she broke barriers and paved the way for female skateboarders. Oki’s impact extended beyond skateboarding as she founded the Origami Whales Project to raise awareness about commercial whaling. Her legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for the environment continues to inspire others.

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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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JapanArtistPoet

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist known for her wide-ranging body of work that includes sculpture, installation, painting, performance, video art, fashion, and more. Her art is rooted in conceptual art and influenced by feminism, minimalism, surrealism, and pop art. Despite facing resistance, Kusama persevered and established herself as an influential artist in New York City. Her art, characterized by bold colors and polka dots, pushes the boundaries of traditional art forms and has left an indelible mark on the art world.

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ItalyArtistWriter

Elena of Montenegro

Elena of Montenegro, born on January 8, 1873, in Cetinje, was the daughter of King Nicholas I and Queen Milena of Montenegro. She grew up in a family that valued unity and family values. With a passion for pastel painting and a love for Russian culture, Elena played an active role in society as the Queen of Italy, supporting her husband and engaging in charitable initiatives. Elena left a lasting impact on Italian society and was recognized as the Servant of God by the Catholic Church.

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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 StatesArtistGymnast

Nastia Liukin

Anastasia “Nastia” Valeryevna Liukin is a Russian-born American former artistic gymnast known for her accomplishments in the sport of gymnastics and her success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Born in Moscow, Russia SFSR, Soviet Union in 1989, Liukin’s talent and dedication led her to become a four-time U.S. national champion and win multiple gold medals at the World Championships. She reached her pinnacle at the 2008 Olympics, where she won the gold medal in the all-around competition. Liukin’s impact on gymnastics and her status as an Olympic champion continue to inspire future generations.

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TurkeyActivistArtist

Zehra Doğan

Zehra Doğan is a Kurdish artist, journalist, and author who gained international recognition for her courageous activism and use of art to shed light on the struggles of the Kurdish people. Despite facing government oppression, she founded Jinha, a feminist Kurdish news agency, and reported on the intense clashes in Nusaybin. Her art, including a painting depicting the destruction of Nusaybin, became a powerful medium for raising awareness. Despite imprisonment, she continued to defy suppression, and her resilience has made her a remarkable artist and activist in women’s history.

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Great BritainArtistEducator

Lady Emma Herbert

Lady Emma Louise Vickers is a remarkable British circus trapeze artist, stuntwoman, and teacher of circus arts. Born into a prestigious family, Lady Emma’s rebellious spirit led her to pursue a unique and eccentric lifestyle. With her fearless and adventurous nature, she became known as one of Britain’s leading exponents in modern circus. Lady Emma’s dedication to her craft has inspired countless individuals to embrace their own unique talents and passions.

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FranceArtist

Marie-Thérèse Auffray

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

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IndiaArtist

Kiran Sethi

Kiran Sethi, a remarkable police officer from Delhi, India, has dedicated her career to women’s safety and empowerment. With a passion for justice and gender equality, she rose through the ranks and became the Sub-Inspector of police. Sethi’s initiatives, such as the self-defense course ‘Prahar’, have trained thousands of students, including those with disabilities. She also organized the largest demonstration of self-defense by school students, earning recognition in the Limca Book of Records. Sethi’s bravery and heroism were demonstrated when she rescued a blind girl from kidnapping and assault. Her impact extends beyond her community, earning her various accolades in martial arts and representing India internationally. Her journey and accomplishments stand as a testament to her unwavering commitment to justice and women’s safety.

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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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SpainArtistChoreographer

María Pagés

María Pagés, born in 1963 in Seville, Spain, is an internationally acclaimed modern Spanish dancer and choreographer. With her innovative approach to flamenco, she has revolutionized the perception of this art form, establishing herself as a leading figure in the world of modern flamenco. From her early career with the Antonio Gades Company to her own successful dance company in Madrid, Pagés has consistently pushed boundaries and captivated audiences worldwide. Her contributions to film, including Carmen and Flamenco, have brought flamenco to a wider audience. Pagés’s talent and creativity have been recognized with numerous awards, solidifying her place as one of the most influential figures in the world of flamenco.

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United StatesArtistAviation

Vera Simons

Vera Simons (1920–2012) was a pioneering inventor, artist, and balloonist who made significant contributions to high altitude gas balloon development and exploration. Co-founding Winzen Research, Inc. in 1949, Simons played a crucial role in the success of the company. She secured four patents, developed new systems, and trained a team of women known as the “balloon girls.” Her expertise and contributions were recognized with a gold medal at the International Gas Balloon Races in Holland in 1957, highlighting her significant impact on the field.

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DenmarkArtist

La Norma Fox

La Norma Fox, a Danish-born aerialist and trapeze artist, left an indelible mark on the circus world. Her captivating performances and unwavering determination paved the way for future generations of women in the industry. Norma’s talent and versatility made her an invaluable member of various circuses, and her influence inspired aspiring performers, especially women, to pursue their passion for the circus. Today, her achievements and impact are forever immortalized in Sarasota, Florida, where she resides in the heart of the circus community.

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United StatesArtistBoxer

Kathy Long

Kathy Long (born April 21, 1964) is an American kickboxer, mixed martial artist, and actress. She has held various kickboxing championships, including two KICK World Kickboxing titles and the WKA and ISKA world titles. Long’s contributions to kickboxing and combat sports, as well as her achievements in the entertainment industry, have solidified her place in history. Her dedication and perseverance in a male-dominated field have paved the way for other women to pursue their dreams in combat sports, making her a trailblazer and an inspiration for future generations.

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BrazilUnited StatesArtist

Cris Cyborg

Cristiane Justino Venâncio, known as Cris Cyborg, is a Brazilian-American MMA fighter. Widely regarded as one of the greatest female fighters of all time, she has achieved numerous accomplishments throughout her career. Cyborg’s journey began in her early years with a passion for sports, and she eventually found success in the world of MMA, becoming a champion in multiple promotions and breaking barriers for women in combat sports. Her impact on women’s MMA will be remembered for generations.

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United StatesArtist

Kayla Harrison

Kayla Jean Harrison is a former Olympic and world champion judoka who has made a significant impact on the world of mixed martial arts. Despite facing challenges, including experiencing sexual abuse by her coach, Harrison rose above and became the first American judoka to win an Olympic gold medal. Her bravery and talent have inspired many, both in sports and in speaking out against abuse. She continues to push boundaries and make history in her career.

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United StatesArtist

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey, born in 1987 in Riverside, California, is an American professional wrestler, actress, former judoka, and mixed martial artist. Her interest in combat sports was nurtured from a young age, influenced by her mother’s achievements and her family’s athletic background. Rousey’s accomplishments include winning an Olympic bronze medal in judo, becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the sport. In addition to her athletic achievements, Rousey is known for her advocacy for women’s empowerment and inspiring female athletes to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

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United StatesArtist

Gina Carano

Gina Joy Carano, born on April 16, 1982, is an American actress and former mixed martial artist. She gained recognition through her participation in EliteXC and Strikeforce from 2006 to 2009, where she achieved an impressive 7-1 record. Carano’s popularity soared, leading to her being hailed as the “face of women’s MMA,” although she humbly rejected this title. Notably, Carano and Cris Cyborg made history as the first women to headline a major MMA event during their 2009 Strikeforce bout. After her first professional MMA defeat to Cyborg, Carano retired from competition and transitioned to a successful career on the screen.

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SwedenArtistRoyalty

Christina, Queen of Sweden

Christina, Queen of Sweden, was a remarkable figure in 17th-century Europe. Born on December 18, 1626, Christina was the daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Maria Eleonora. She was born in the royal castle Tre Kronor in Stockholm, Sweden, and her birth was highly anticipated by her parents and the Swedish people.

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CyprusArchaeologistArtist

Honor Frost

Honor Frost (1917-2010) was a pioneer in underwater archaeology, known for her work in the Mediterranean, particularly in Lebanon. She developed a typology of stone anchors and was skilled in archaeological illustration. Frost’s passion for diving began when she explored a well in a friend’s backyard, and she became an avid diver and artist. Her significant discoveries include the Phoenician shipwreck at Cape Gelidonya and her survey of the Pharos site in Alexandria, Egypt. Her contributions continue to shape our understanding of maritime history and Phoenician culture.

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United KingdomArtist

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, was a strong supporter of the arts and higher education, as well as a champion for women’s rights. She was an accomplished sculptor and painter, and her dedication to Canadian arts and culture had a lasting impact. Despite facing challenges in her marriage and personal life, she remained steadfast in her passions and advocacy. Princess Louise passed away at the age of 91, leaving behind a remarkable legacy.

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UkraineArtistGymnast

Tatiana Gutsu

Tatiana Gutsu, the Ukrainian former artistic gymnast, became the winner of the all-around title in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Her exceptional skills and determination earned her the coveted Olympic gold medal, solidifying her place in gymnastics history. Gutsu’s impact extended beyond the competition floor, inspiring countless young athletes to pursue their dreams.

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ScotlandAnthropologistArchaeologist

Christian Maclagan

Christian Maclagan (1811-1901) was a Scottish antiquarian and early archaeologist known for her collection of rubbings and her pioneering work in stratigraphic excavation. Despite losing the use of her right hand, Maclagan continued to create drawings, sketches, and paintings with her left hand. She was also dedicated to helping those affected by poverty in Stirling. Maclagan’s achievements and determination make her a remarkable figure in women’s history.

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