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United StatesDoctorMilitary

Margaret D. Craighill

Margaret Dorothea Craighill, born in 1898 in Southport, North Carolina, came from a military family and followed in their footsteps to pursue a remarkable career in medicine. She obtained degrees in physiology and medicine, worked in medical institutions, and made significant contributions during World War II as the first woman commissioned officer in the United States Army Medical Corps. Her dedication and expertise left a lasting impact on the medical field and paved the way for future generations of women in medicine.

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IndiaActivistMilitary

Rani of Jhansi

Rani Lakshmibai, also known as the Rani of Jhansi, was a fearless warrior and leader during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Despite facing adversity, she displayed remarkable courage and fought against British rule. Her unwavering spirit and refusal to accept injustice made her a national hero and an inspiration for the Indian independence movement.

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IndiaActivistMilitary

Kittur Chennamma

Kittur Chennamma, an Indian Queen of Kittur, valiantly fought against British colonization. Born in 1778, she faced tragedy when her husband and son passed away. Chennamma’s decision to adopt an heir and resist British control led to a war with the East India Company. Although she initially emerged victorious, the British eventually annexed Kittur and took Chennamma prisoner. She died as a prisoner of war, but her courageous spirit and dedication to her people made her a revered figure in women’s history and the Indian independence movement.

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WalesMilitaryRoyalty

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd was a Welsh princess and the Princess Consort of Deheubarth in Wales. Known for her fierce determination, she played a significant role in the Great Revolt of 1136, leading her own troops into battle against Norman invaders. Sadly, her rebellion ultimately led to her tragic death, but her legacy as a symbol of resistance in Welsh history inspired others to continue the fight for independence.

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ChinaMilitaryRoyalty

Princess Pingyang

Princess Pingyang, the daughter of Emperor Gaozu, played a key role in her father’s rise to power and became the first female general of the Tang dynasty. She showed exceptional bravery and strategic prowess, gathering an army of 70,000 men, and ultimately helped establish the Tang dynasty. Despite her untimely death in 623, Princess Pingyang’s legacy endured and she remains an iconic figure in Chinese history.

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JapanMilitaryRoyalty

Empress Jingū

Empress Jingū (神功皇后, Jingū-kōgō) was a legendary Japanese empress who ruled as a regent following her husband’s death in 200 AD. Her influence on Japanese history is significant, even though her reign is shrouded in legend and myth. Jingū sought revenge on her husband’s murderers and allegedly invaded the Korean Peninsula. She gave birth to a son, Homutawake, three years after her husband’s death. Her reign as a regent demonstrated the power and influence women could have in a male-dominated society.

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BrazilItalyMilitary

Anita Garibaldi

Anita Garibaldi, a Brazilian republican revolutionary, played a vital role in the 19th-century Age of Romanticism and revolutionary liberalism. She became renowned as the wife and comrade-in-arms of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, embarking on a remarkable journey that left an indelible mark on history. Anita’s unwavering devotion ultimately led to her tragic end, but her legacy as a brave and revolutionary woman continues to inspire generations.

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NigerMilitaryWarrior

Sarraounia

Sarraounia Mangou, a prominent figure in the resistance against French colonial forces in the late 19th century, was not only a political leader but also a religious figure in the Azna tradition. With her people, she bravely fought against the French troops in the Battle of Lougou, employing guerrilla tactics and her knowledge of the terrain. Despite being outnumbered, her determination and resilience allowed her to push back the French forces and become a symbol of courage and resistance against European imperialism.

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FranceUnited KingdomMilitary

Violette Szabo

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

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FranceJewishMilitary

Denise Bloch

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

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United StatesAstronautDoctor

Laurel B. Clark

Laurel Blair Clark (née Salton; March 10, 1961 – February 1, 2003) was a NASA astronaut, medical doctor, United States Navy captain, and Space Shuttle mission specialist. She was a remarkable woman who made significant contributions to both the field of medicine and space exploration.

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NorwayMilitaryWarrior

Lagertha

Lagertha, a legendary Viking ruler and shield-maiden, was a key figure in Viking history. After avenging her grandfather Siward’s death, Lagertha fought alongside Ragnar Lodbrok and played a crucial role in his victory. Known for her courage and leadership, Lagertha challenged societal norms and empowered women in Viking society. Her story continues to inspire strength and resilience in women today.

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EcuadorMilitarySpy

Manuela Sáenz

Manuela Sáenz de Vergara y Aizpuru was a fearless Ecuadorian revolutionary heroine who played a vital role in South America’s fight for independence. She gathered information, distributed leaflets, and fought for women’s rights, solidifying her enduring legacy as a key figure in the 19th-century revolution. Her unwavering support for Simón Bolívar and her commitment to revolutionary ideals made her an inspiration for future generations of women.

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RussiaMilitarySpy

Alime Abdenanova

Alime Seitosmanovna Abdenanova, a Crimean Tatar scout, displayed exceptional bravery and resourcefulness as she led the reconnaissance group “Bast” during World War II. Despite unimaginable torture after being arrested by the Germans, she refused to give up information. Alime’s unwavering courage and dedication to her comrades and cause led to her posthumous recognition as a Hero of the Russian Federation.

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ArgentinaMilitaryWarrior

Manuela Pedraza

Manuela Hurtado y Pedraza, also known as “Manuela la tucumanesa,” played a significant role in the reconquest of Buenos Aires after the first British invasion of 1806. Although the exact details of her birth and death are unknown, her bravery and contributions during the reconquest were acknowledged. Manuela fought alongside her husband during the three-day battle, and her valor was recognized by the commander of the victorious forces, Santiago de Liniers. Her name continues to be revered in Argentina, and she is honored with a street, a school, and an award for women involved in social activism.

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AustriaGermanyMilitary

Viktoria Savs

Viktoria Savs, born in 1899 in Germany, served bravely in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. Disguised as a man, she displayed remarkable dedication and commitment to her country, becoming one of two known female soldiers on the Austrian front lines. Her bravery and exemplary leadership earned her several prestigious awards, making her a true heroine and a symbol of determination in the face of adversity.

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ChinaMilitary

Li Zhen

Li Zhen (1908–1990) was the first female general of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Born into poverty in rural Liuyang, she showed remarkable determination from a young age. Despite facing personal setbacks, Li rose through the ranks of the Communist Party, making significant contributions to the revolution. Her bravery, leadership skills, and unwavering dedication earned her respect and admiration. Li Zhen became a symbol of women’s empowerment and continues to inspire generations to fight for gender equality.

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IsraelJewishMilitary

Esther Arditi

Esther Arditi (1937 – 2003), also known as “The Angel in White,” was an Israeli IDF medic, and the only woman to be awarded the Israeli Medal of Distinguished Service. She fearlessly saved lives during her remarkable career, displaying extraordinary heroism and selflessness. Arditi’s dedication to serving others and breaking gender barriers made her a trailblazer in the Israeli military, leaving a lasting impact on women’s history.

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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 KingdomLGBTQIAMilitary

Caroline Paige

Caroline Paige, born in 1959, is a trailblazer in the UK Armed Forces and a prominent advocate for transgender equality. As the first openly transgender officer, Paige served with distinction in various military operations before transitioning in 1999. Despite facing public scrutiny, she remained steadfast in her commitment to inclusivity and paved the way for transgender individuals in the military. Paige’s story is a testament to resilience and the ongoing fight for equality.

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PolandActivistJewish

Niuta Teitelbaum

Niuta Teitelbaum, a Jewish resistance fighter in Warsaw during World War II, was known for her courage and determination. Her strategic actions included smuggling weapons and people, as well as executing missions disguised as a Polish peasant girl. Teitelbaum’s marksmanship and commitment to the cause made her a feared adversary of the Nazis. Despite challenges from historians, her story has been highlighted in Judy Batalion’s book, shedding light on the important role of women in the resistance movement.

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NorwayUnited StatesActivist

Margarethe Cammermeyer

Margarethe “Grethe” Cammermeyer, a former Norwegian-American military officer, fought for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. Her battle against the military’s ban on gays and lesbians in the armed forces gained attention, and she was honorably discharged in 1992. Cammermeyer’s lawsuit challenging the decision ultimately led to a ruling that the ban was unconstitutional, allowing her to return to the National Guard and setting a legal precedent for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the military. Her bravery and advocacy continue to inspire.

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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 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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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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United StatesMarathon RunnerMilitary

Jill Metzger

Jill Metzger is an accomplished United States Air Force personnel officer who gained worldwide attention due to a gripping three-day disappearance in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

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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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United StatesActivistLGBTQIA

Allyson Robinson

Allyson Dylan Robinson, an American human rights activist, was born in Newport, Arkansas, in 1970. She embarked on a journey of activism and advocacy after excelling academically at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Robinson’s commitment to promoting LGBT rights through her leadership roles at the Human Rights Campaign and OutServe-SLDN has had a lasting impact on the fight for equality and inclusivity in the United States.

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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 StatesAstronautDoctor

Laurel Clark

Laurel Clark, a NASA astronaut and medical doctor, had an accomplished and driven life that was tragically cut short. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pursued a military career, specializing in diving medicine and submarine medical officer training. Clark’s ultimate dream of journeying to space became a reality when she was selected for mission STS-107. Unfortunately, she lost her life in the catastrophic Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Clark’s dedication and sacrifice were posthumously honored with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

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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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UkraineMilitary

Yana Zinkevych

Yana Vadimyvna Zinkevych is a renowned Ukrainian paraplegic and military veteran who has made significant contributions to her country and society. Her remarkable journey and unwavering commitment to serving her country have left an indelible mark on Ukrainian society and the world at large. Yana’s resilience and dedication continue to inspire individuals from all walks of life.

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ThailandUnited StatesMilitary

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth, a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, is an accomplished American politician. She is currently serving as the junior United States senator from Illinois, representing the Democratic Party. Duckworth has a remarkable story of resilience and perseverance, becoming the first female double amputee from the Iraq War. Her unwavering dedication to public service and advocacy for veterans, healthcare, and social justice has made her a prominent figure in women’s history.

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CanadaMilitary

Sheila A. Hellstrom

Sheila Anne Hellstrom, a Canadian Forces officer, made history as the first woman in the regular force to achieve the rank of brigadier-general. Not only was she a trailblazer in her military career, but Hellstrom also played a vital role in advocating for the advancement and equal opportunities for women within the Canadian Forces. Her dedication and leadership have left a lasting legacy within the military.

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MongoliaMilitary

Bolor Ganbold

Bolor Ganbold, the first woman in Mongolian history to be conferred the rank of brigadier general, has been a trailblazer in challenging traditional gender roles in the military. Her groundbreaking achievements have inspired future generations of female soldiers, and her dedication to excellence and commitment to international peace and security have made her a respected figure in the military community.

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EgyptActivistMilitary

Rawya Ateya

Rawya Ateya was the first female parliamentarian in the Arab world in 1957. Despite facing obstacles, she defied expectations and became a symbol of progress and change. Ateya’s activism, education, and military service showcased her dedication to her country and paved the way for future generations of women in politics.

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IsraelAviationJewish

Yael Rom

Yael Rom (1932-2006) was a pioneering female pilot in the Israeli Air Force, breaking barriers for women in the military and aviation fields. She was among the first women trained and certified by the force, paving the way for future generations. Rom’s exemplary service extended beyond her military career as she made significant contributions to education and equality, ensuring that individuals from diverse backgrounds had equal opportunities to succeed. Her determination and trailblazing spirit continue to inspire women in traditionally male-dominated fields.

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ChinaAstronautAviation

Wang Yaping

Wang Yaping is the second female taikonaut and the first Chinese woman to perform a spacewalk. She achieved the longest stay in space by a female astronaut in April 2022, accumulating 197 days. Wang’s dedication to space exploration and her contributions to scientific knowledge have made her a role model for aspiring female astronauts and a symbol of progress in aviation and space science.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAstronaut

Nicole Aunapu Mann

Nicole “Duke” Victoria Aunapu Mann, born in 1977 in Penngrove, California, embraced her Wailaki heritage and became an accomplished astronaut. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the US Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree from Stanford University. After serving in the US Marine Corps, Mann was selected as a NASA astronaut and made history as the first Native American woman to go to space. Her achievements have broken barriers and inspired future generations of women.

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RussiaMilitary

Nadezhda Durova

Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova, also known as Alexander Durov, Alexander Sokolov, and Alexander Andreevich Alexandrov, was a remarkable woman who defied social norms and made her mark as a decorated soldier in the Russian cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars.

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RomaniaAviationMilitary

Mariana Drăgescu

Mariana Drăgescu, the last surviving member of Romania’s White Squadron, was a Romanian military aviator during World War II. She played a significant role in saving countless lives as part of a team of female aviators who flew medical aircraft during the war. Her contributions and resilience continue to inspire women for generations to come.

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NigeriaBiologistMilitary

Moremi Ajasoro

Moremi Ajasoro, a legendary Yoruba queen, played a crucial role in liberating the Yoruba kingdom of Ife from the neighboring Ugbo Kingdom in 12th-century Nigeria. Her bravery and sacrifice have made her a revered figure in Yoruba history, inspiring generations with her commitment to justice and freedom.

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FranceMilitary

Jeannette Guyot

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

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United KingdomMilitaryRowing

Heather Stanning

Heather Mary Stanning OBE is a retired British professional rower and Royal Artillery officer. She achieved numerous accolades and records in her career, including winning Olympic gold medals and setting world records.

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IsraelAviationJewish

Keren Tendler

Keren Tendler, Israel’s first female helicopter flight mechanic, broke gender barriers in the military after women were allowed to serve in combat positions. Despite the challenges of her demanding role, Tendler overcame obstacles with intelligence, diligence, and perseverance. Tragically, her life was cut short during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict when her helicopter was shot down. Her legacy lives on through a fund established in her name, empowering young women to pursue careers in aviation.

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SloveniaMilitary

Alenka Ermenc

Alenka Ermenc, born on 5 September 1963, is a renowned officer in the Slovenian army and a trailblazer for women in the military. She made history by becoming the first woman to hold the prestigious position of Chief of Defence within NATO forces. Ermenc’s military journey originated when she joined the Slovenian Territorial Defence forces during Slovenia’s independence war from Yugoslavia in 1991.

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JamaicaMilitary

Antonette Wemyss Gorman

Antonette Wemyss Gorman, the first female chief of staff in the Jamaica Defence Force, has shattered gender barriers and inspired generations of women to strive for excellence in the military. As a distinguished Jamaican military officer, she has led an extraordinary career, becoming a trailblazer and a role model for women. Her dedication, expertise, and leadership have made her the first woman to reach the rank of commander in the JDF, leaving an indelible mark on women’s history.

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FranceMilitaryWarrior

Joanna of Flanders

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

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TurkeyMilitary

Artemisia I of Caria

Artemisia I of Caria was a queen of Halicarnassus and the nearby islands of Kos, Nisyros, and Kalymnos around 480 BC. She fought alongside Xerxes I in the second Persian invasion of Greece, commanding a fleet of five ships. Artemisia displayed exceptional leadership skills and offered strategic advice during the Battle of Salamis. She ruled as queen after her husband’s death and left a lasting impact through her bravery and influence as a military leader.

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IndiaMilitary

Rekha Mishra

Rekha Mishra, an inspiring Indian police officer, has made significant contributions in reuniting lost children with their families. Hailing from a military family, she joined the Railway Protection Force in 2014 and successfully identified and supported hundreds of children in Mumbai. Her exceptional dedication and impact on society were recognized with the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2018. Mishra donated her prize money to Childline, a specialized NGO dedicated to rescuing and caring for lost and troubled children. Her story serves as an inspiration for future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Cathay Williams

Cathay Williams (1844-1893) defied gender norms and racial barriers as the first African American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army. She served during the Indian Wars under the name William Cathay, posing as a man. Despite facing challenges and being discharged due to her true identity being discovered, her courage and determination have been celebrated, recognizing her resilience and contributions to history.

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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 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 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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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 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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IraqMilitary

Margaret George Shello

Margaret George Shello, the famous Assyrian guerilla fighter and commander of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, defied gender norms and shattered expectations as the first female fighter in the Peshmerga. Her bravery, determination, and leadership qualities earned her respect and admiration from her comrades and the Kurdish and Assyrian communities. Despite her untimely death, Margaret George’s legacy continues to inspire and serve as a reminder of the important role women play in the fight for justice and equality.

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ChinaActivistMilitary

Ani Pachen

Ani Pachen (1933 – 2002) was a Tibetan freedom fighter and activist who played a significant role in the Tibetan resistance against the Chinese occupation. Captured and imprisoned for over two decades, she remained a symbol of resilience and hope. Pachen’s life and accomplishments continue to inspire and serve as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Tibetan people.

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Puerto RicoUnited StatesActivist

Blanca Canales

Blanca Canales (1906-1996) was an educator and a Puerto Rican Nationalist who played a vital role in the fight for Puerto Rican independence. Raised in a politically active family, Canales developed a passion for learning about other nations and their heroes. She joined the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, organized the Daughters of Freedom, and supported the cause through monetary contributions. Canales stored arms used in the Jayuya Uprising of 1950, which challenged U.S. rule over the island. Her advocacy work and dedication to Puerto Rican independence continued until her death in 1996.

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UkraineJewishMilitary

Tatiana Markus

Tetyana Yosypivna Markus, also known as Tatiana Markus, was a courageous anti-Nazi resistance fighter during World War II. She undertook dangerous missions and carried out sabotage acts, leaving a chilling note after each killing. Despite enduring horrific torture, she never betrayed her comrades. Tatiana Markus’s unwavering commitment and acts of bravery continue to inspire future generations in the fight against tyranny.

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PolandMilitary

Joanna Żubr

Joanna Żubr was a remarkable Polish soldier who made history as the first woman to receive the Virtuti Militari, the highest Polish military decoration. Her journey as a brave soldier and her contributions to the Napoleonic Wars are a testament to her extraordinary courage and resilience. She lived a life filled with challenges and hardships, but her unwavering dedication to her country and her exceptional bravery made her an indomitable figure in Polish and women’s history.

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VietnamMilitary

Bùi Thị Xuân

Bùi Thị Xuân was a Vietnamese female general during the Tây Sơn’s era. Legend has it that she once rescued her future husband from a tiger. She played a key role in training elephants for the Tây Sơn army. Despite her tragic end, Bùi Thị Xuân is celebrated as a Vietnamese hero and her legacy serves as a reminder of women’s impact on Vietnam’s history.

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TurkeyFolkloreMilitary

Şerife Bacı

Şerife Bacı was a Turkish folk heroine who sacrificed her life during the Turkish War of Independence. Her contributions and bravery led to her being hailed as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Despite facing personal tragedies, she remained dedicated to serving her community and played a vital role in the transport of ammunition during the Greco-Turkish War. Her legacy is commemorated through various monuments and institutions named in her honor.

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HaitiMilitary

Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniére

Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniére, also known as “Marie-Jeanne,” was a Haitian soldier who made significant contributions during the Haitian Revolution from 1791 to 1804. While little is known about her early life, she remains a prominent figure in Haitian history due to her bravery, skill, and remarkable dedication to the cause of independence. Marie-Jeanne distinguished herself during the Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot.

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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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ChinaActivistMilitary

Kang Keqing

Kang Keqing (1911-1992) was a prominent politician and the wife of Zhu De, one of the founding fathers of modern China. Born into a fishing family, she overcame adversity and dedicated her life to championing gender equality and fighting for the rights of female laborers. Kang played a crucial role in the Chinese revolution, leading the Luotangwan Village Women’s Association and serving as a source of inspiration for countless women. Her legacy of strength and dedication to the Communist revolution continues to be celebrated.

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BangladeshActivistMilitary

Taramon Bibi

Taramon Bibi Bir Protik was a courageous freedom fighter in Bangladesh’s liberation war. As one of the two female recipients of the prestigious Bir Protik award, she actively engaged in combat and demonstrated unwavering commitment to the cause of independence. Her bravery and sacrifice will forever be remembered and celebrated.

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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 StatesAerospace EngineerAstronaut

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper

Heidemarie Martha Stefanyshyn-Piper, born in 1963 in St. Paul, Minnesota, is an astronaut and a role model for women in the field of science and engineering. With Ukrainian-American heritage, she grew up in the Ukrainian cultural community of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. She pursued her passion for engineering at MIT and went on to have an impressive career in the military and as a NASA astronaut, completing five spacewalks and earning multiple prestigious awards. Her achievements have inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in STEM.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Jhalkaribai

Jhalkaribai, a remarkable woman soldier, played a pivotal role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Her uncanny resemblance to Queen Rani Lakshmibai led to her induction into the women’s army, where she quickly rose through the ranks and commanded her own troops. Jhalkaribai’s courage and quick thinking during the rebellion saved countless lives and bought crucial time for the rebels. Sadly, she was martyred in 1858, but her legacy lives on and continues to inspire generations.

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United StatesMilitaryWarrior

Moving Robe Woman

Moving Robe Woman, a Hunkpapa Sioux woman, lived a life of bravery and resilience. She played a significant role in the Battle of Little Bighorn, avenging her brother’s death. Although the exact details of her involvement in Custer’s demise remain uncertain, her unwavering determination and courage make her a remarkable figure in Sioux history.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Chand Bibi

Sultana Chand Bibi, born in 1550 CE, was an Indian ruler and warrior who left an indelible mark on history. She was known for her strong leadership and military prowess during a time when women were seldom seen in positions of power.

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AngolaMilitaryWarrior

Aqualtune

Aqualtune Ezgondidu Mahamud da Silva Santos, also known as Aqualtune, was a remarkable Kongo princess who lived during the 17th century. While much of her early life remains shrouded in mystery, her legacy as a leader, warrior, and mother of influential figures in the Palmares quilombo has left an indelible mark on history.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Mai Bhago

Mai Bhago, also known as Mata Bhag Kaur, was a remarkable Sikh woman who played a pivotal role in Sikh history as a warrior and leader. Born in the village of Chabal Kalan in present-day Tarn Taran district of Punjab, Mai Bhago grew up in a devout Sikh family, deeply immersed in the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh. From a lineage of warriors, Mai Bhago inherited bravery and a strong sense of duty towards her faith.

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AngolaNetherlandsMilitary

Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba

Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba was a powerful ruler in Southwest Africa. She received military and political training from a young age and served as an ambassador to the Portuguese Empire. Nzinga formed alliances to rebuild her forces and successfully conquered the Kingdom of Matamba. She formed a crucial alliance with the Dutch, reclaimed portions of Ndongo, and resisted Portuguese colonization. Nzinga’s intelligence, political wisdom, and military tactics have solidified her legacy as a significant historical figure in Angola.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Onake Obavva

Onake Obavva, a valiant warrior from Karnataka, India, lived during the 18th century. Her heroic acts and unwavering courage have made her a celebrated figure in the state of Karnataka, alongside other notable women warriors and patriots such as Abbakka Rani, Keladi Chennamma, and Kittur Chennamma. Belonging to the Holayas (Chalavadi) community, Obavva’s extraordinary tale is a testament to the indomitable spirit of women.

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IndiaMilitaryMuslim

Abbakka Chowta

Rani Abbakka Chowta, the first Tuluva Queen of Ullal, fought against the Portuguese in the 16th century. She repulsed their attacks for over four decades, earning her the title of “The fearless queen”. Abbakka is regarded as one of the earliest Indian women to fight colonialism and is celebrated as a warrior and patriot. Despite being captured and imprisoned by the Portuguese, she remained an inspirational figure and left a lasting impact on the history of Tulu Nadu.

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IranMilitaryWarrior

Tomyris

Tomyris, the queen of the Massagetae, exhibited courage and determination when defending her people against an attack by Cyrus the Great. Despite the loss of her son and her army, Tomyris led her forces to victory, killing Cyrus himself. Her leadership and resilience continue to inspire women leaders today.

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VietnamMilitaryWarrior

Lady Triệu

Lady Triệu, a fierce warrior and leader in 3rd century Vietnam, played a significant role in resisting the rule of the Chinese Eastern Wu dynasty. Her courageous efforts to reclaim her country’s independence and freedom from foreign domination continue to inspire women, reminding them of the power they possess to challenge oppression and fight for justice.

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IndonesiaMilitaryWarrior

Nyi Ageng Serang

Nyi Ageng Serang, a descendant of Sunan Kalijaga, was a fearless and dedicated leader in the fight for Indonesia’s independence. She defended Serang against Dutch colonial forces, played a vital role in the Diponegoro War, and employed clever strategies, such as using taro leaves as disguises. Despite her opposition to the Dutch, she was eventually recognized for her contributions and became a National Heroine of Indonesia.

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JapanArcherMilitary

Hangaku Gozen

Hangaku Gozen was an extraordinary onna-musha warrior who played a crucial role in the Kennin Rebellion against the Kamakura shogunate in 1201. Her exceptional archery skills and remarkable leadership in defending Torisaka Castle made her a force to be reckoned with. Despite her eventual capture and marriage to a Shogun’s retainer, Hangaku’s unwavering strength and indomitable spirit left an indelible mark in Japanese history.

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JapanMilitaryWarrior

Tomoe Gozen

Tomoe Gozen was an onna-musha, a female warrior, who lived during the late Heian period of Japanese history. She is known for her service to Minamoto no Yoshinaka during the Genpei War, a pivotal conflict that led to the establishment of the first shogunate. Tomoe Gozen’s family had strong connections with Yoshinaka, and her story in the Tale of the Heike had a profound impact on successive generations of samurai. Her remarkable life has been celebrated in books, music, poems, films, historical novels, and continues to be an integral part of Japanese culture.

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ChinaMartial ArtistMilitary

Mu Guiying

Mu Guiying is a legendary heroine from ancient China’s Northern Song Dynasty. Known for her bravery, resilience, and unwavering loyalty, she has become a cultural symbol of a steadfast woman. From a young age, Mu Guiying practiced martial arts and became a formidable warrior. Her story of protecting her fortress and saving her husband has solidified her place as one of China’s most celebrated heroines.

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BrazilMilitary

Maria Quitéria

Maria Quitéria was a Brazilian lieutenant and national heroine who fought in the Brazilian War of Independence. Known for her bravery and dedication, she became the first woman to serve in a military unit in Brazil. Her remarkable story and achievements continue to inspire generations of Brazilians.

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SomaliaFolkloreMilitary

Arawelo

Limited historical evidence exists to confirm the existence of Arawelo, but her story has become an integral part of Somali cultural heritage. A powerful queen, Arawelo ruled over her people with eccentricities, favoring women and challenging gender roles. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, her legacy and efforts to challenge societal norms continue to inspire Somali women.

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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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CanadaIndigenousMilitary

Running Eagle

Running Eagle, or Pi’tamaka, was a Native American woman and war chief of the Blackfeet Tribe. Known for her bravery in battle, she grew up in Southern Alberta, Canada, as the oldest among her siblings. Despite facing criticism, Running Eagle pursued her passions and became a renowned warrior, capturing horses and defending her tribe’s interests. Her legacy as a symbol of strength and resilience lives on.

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AfghanistanActivistMilitary

Malalai of Maiwand

Malalai of Maiwand, a national folk hero of Afghanistan, played a pivotal role in the Battle of Maiwand during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Born in 1861 in the village of Khig, she bravely tended to the wounded and lifted the Afghan flag in the face of adversity. Her courage and sacrifice continue to inspire generations.

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United StatesMilitaryWarrior

Woman Chief

Woman Chief, a Crow bacheeítche and warrior, defied gender norms and became a prominent figure in Crow society. Despite wearing female clothing, she excelled in traditionally male pursuits and led her people with innate leadership qualities. Known for her bravery in defending her tribe against attackers and leading retaliatory raids, Woman Chief’s accomplishments were recognized when she rose to become the third-ranking member of the Council of Chiefs. Her life represents resilience, leadership, and gender defiance in Crow history.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Belawadi Mallamma

Belawadi Mallamma, queen of the Belawadi kingdom in the 16th century, made history by being the first queen to build and train a women’s army. Raised in a royal family, Mallamma received an excellent education and set a unique challenge for suitors in her swayamvara. After her husband’s death in a battle with Shivaji, Mallamma continued to lead the kingdom. Her story of bravery and strength continues to inspire women today.

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IndiaMilitaryWarrior

Mula Gabharu

Mula Gabharu, also known as Nang Mula, was a remarkable woman who played a significant role in the history of Assam. Born as the daughter of Ahom king Supimphaa, Mula Gabharu grew up in a royal household, surrounded by power and privilege. However, her life took a dramatic turn when she married Borgohain Phrasengmung, the brave warrior and minister of the Ahom kingdom.

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United StatesDiverDiving

Martha Herb

Martha Herb is a trailblazing figure in the United States Navy, known for her exceptional leadership, perseverance, and pioneering achievements. With a career spanning an impressive thirty-nine years, she has left an indelible mark on the Navy and society as a whole.

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EnglandArcherMilitary

Æthelflæd

Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, played a major role in fighting off Viking attacks in the 890s. After her husband’s death, she became the Lady of the Mercians and ruled Mercia independently. Æthelflæd embarked on an ambitious project of fortifying towns throughout Mercia and achieved her greatest triumph by capturing Derby from the Vikings. Her legacy as a powerful and influential ruler in a time of great turmoil remains remarkable.

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NorwayMilitaryPirate

Rusla

Rusla, also known as the “Red Woman,” was a legendary Norwegian shield-maiden who sought vengeance against the Danes after her brother was betrayed and dethroned. With her trusted companion Stikla, Rusla led a pirate fleet, attacking ships and coastal towns in her pursuit of justice. Rusla gained a fearsome reputation, earning her nickname due to her bloodthirsty nature. Despite ultimately being captured and killed by her own brother, Rusla’s legacy as one of the most fearsome Norse warrior women lives on.

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Great BritainMilitary

Sharon Nesmith

Lieutenant General Sharon Patricia Moffat Nesmith is a trailblazing British Army officer who has shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of women in the military. From becoming the first woman to command a British Army brigade to her recent appointment as Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Nesmith’s exceptional leadership skills and dedication have earned her numerous accolades and recognition for her remarkable service.

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IrelandMilitary

Roberta O’Brien

Roberta O’Brien is the highest-ranking woman in the Irish navy, breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings throughout her career. From her groundbreaking entry into the traditionally male-dominated institution to becoming the first woman to captain her own ship and achieve the rank of Commander, O’Brien’s determination and resilience have paved the way for inclusivity and gender equality in the armed forces. Her trailblazing achievements make her a true role model and a beacon of inspiration.

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JapanAviationMilitary

Misa Matsushima

Misa Matsushima, the first female fighter pilot in Japan, broke gender barriers and became an iconic figure in the country’s military history. Her dedication and groundbreaking achievements have paved the way for future generations of female pilots, promoting gender equality and challenging traditional stereotypes. Matsushima’s unwavering pursuit of her dreams has left an indelible mark on Japan’s history and serves as a significant milestone in the fight for gender equality.

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United KingdomMilitary

Michelle Norris

Sergeant Michelle Suzanne Claire “Chuck” Norris MC displayed extraordinary bravery and selflessness during the Iraq War. She fearlessly rescued her vehicle commander, Colour Sergeant Ian Page, while under heavy fire. Norris’s actions earned her the Military Cross and made her the first woman to receive such an honor. Her courage and resilience paved the way for other women in the military.

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DenmarkAviationMilitary

Lone Træholt

Lone Træholt is the first woman in the Danish armed forces to obtain the rank of general. Her groundbreaking achievements in the military have not only shattered traditional gender barriers but also paved the way for countless women who aspire to serve in the defense sector. On 30 September 2016, Træholt was promoted to brigadier general in the Royal Danish Air Force, where she headed the Tactical Air Staff. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership, resilience, and dedication, earning her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and setting an inspiring example for future generations.

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AustraliaAerospace EngineerMilitary

Julie Hammer

Air Vice Marshal Julie Hammer, AM, CSC, FTSE, FRAeS, is an Australian engineer and a retired senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). She is widely recognized for her groundbreaking achievements and contributions to the military and aerospace industry. Hammer held numerous significant leadership positions throughout her career, paving the way for women in the Australian Defence Force.

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KenyaMilitary

Fatumah Ahmed

Fatumah Ahmed, born in 1965 in Kenya, broke barriers for women in the military as a major general in the Kenya Air Force. Her unexpected entry into the military began when she stumbled upon a recruitment campaign while obtaining an identification card. With her dedication and leadership abilities, Ahmed rose through the ranks, becoming the first female brigadier and the first woman in the Kenya Defence Forces to hold the rank of major general. Her achievements have opened doors for future generations of women in the military.

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SingaporeMilitary

Gan Siow Huang

Gan Siow Huang PPA(P) (Chinese: ???; pinyin: Yán Xi?of?ng; born 1974) is a Singaporean politician and former brigadier-general who has been serving as Minister of State for Education and Minister of State for Manpower concurrently since 2020. A member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP), she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing Marymount SMC since 2020.

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NigeriaAviationMilitary

Blessing Liman

Blessing Liman, born on 13 March 1984, is a Nigerian military personnel of the Nigerian Air Force known for being Nigeria’s first female military pilot. She has made significant contributions to the field of aviation and has been an inspiration to women across the country.

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Ivory CoastDoctorMilitary

Akissi Kouamé

Brigadier-General Akissi Kouamé (1955-2022) was a highly respected and accomplished Ivorian army officer who played a pivotal role in breaking barriers for women in the military. Her dedication, resilience, and ambition continue to inspire many. Kouamé’s influence extended beyond her military career, as she actively worked towards empowering women and improving the lives of marginalized communities through her foundation. Her tireless efforts and commitment to gender equality have left an indelible mark on society.

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IndiaMilitary

Shanti Tigga

Shanti Tigga, the first female jawan in the Indian Army, defied societal expectations and shattered stereotypes by joining the army at the age of 35. Despite facing challenges and adversity, Tigga’s exceptional fitness and skills earned her the title of Best Trainee in the Recruitment Training Camp. Her tragic death in 2013 cut short a promising career that paved the way for women to serve in combat roles in the Indian Army.

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SyriaActivistMilitary

Rojda Felat

Rojda Felat, a Syrian Kurdish senior commander of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has been a key figure in the Rojava conflict and has led successful campaigns against ISIL. She is dedicated to achieving social transformation and the liberation of women in the Middle East. Despite limited information about her early life, Felat’s bravery and strategic skills have inspired others to join the fight for equality and justice in the region.

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Great BritainMilitaryRoyalty

Queen Gwendolen

Gwendolen, the legendary ruler of ancient Britain, overcame personal injustices to become the first queen regnant of the Britons. With her victory in battle against her ex-husband, King Locrinus, Gwendolen not only avenged herself but also took on the mantle of leadership for the Britons. Her reign was marked by peace, prosperity, and the elimination of threats to her power. Gwendolen’s story has been immortalized in literature and serves as a symbol of strength and female empowerment.

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SwedenMilitaryWarrior

Veborg

Veborg, a legendary Scandinavian shieldmaiden, distinguished herself in the Battle of Bråvalla, fighting alongside Visna and Princess Hed. Her remarkable display of strength led to a clash with Starke, severing his jaw. However, Veborg eventually fell in a fierce struggle against Thorkell the Stubborn. Veborg’s role in the battle highlights the important contributions of women in leadership and combat during this historical event.

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PolandActivistJewish

Regina Safirsztajn

Regina Safirsztajn (1915-1945) was a Jewish resistance fighter who played a significant role in the Auschwitz underground and the Sonderkommando revolt of 7 October 1944. Her courageous actions and unwavering determination make her a remarkable figure in the history of the Holocaust.

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SwedenMilitaryWarrior

Elisa Servenius

Elisa Servenius, also known as Johanna Servenius, is a remarkable woman who defied societal norms during the Finnish War. Disguising herself as a man, Elisa enlisted as a soldier to fight alongside her husband, becoming the first and only known female soldier in Sweden to be awarded the För tapperhet i fält for bravery in battle on land. Her courageous actions and dedication to her husband and country continue to inspire future generations.

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ChinaActivistMilitary

Wu Shuqing

Wu Shuqing, a Chinese feminist and revolutionary, formed and led an all-female rebel army during the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. Despite initial opposition, Wu’s determination and leadership skills led to the formation of the Women’s Revolutionary Army. She played a significant role in the Battles of Hankou and Nanjing, showcasing her capabilities as a commander and contributing to the fight for national liberation. However, little is known about her life after the revolution.

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