The role of women throughout world history has been transcendent. Without the actions, ideas or works of many of them, the world wouldn’t be what we know today. In all areas and disciplines they have left a deep mark, as have men.
Although it is complex to choose a limited number of outstanding womenwe have selected 25 of the most famous and influential women in history. However, there are many more to whom we owe some of the changes the world has witnessed.
25 of the most famous women in history.
Some of them have changed the course of history with a single word or decision. From science, religion, literature, arts and activism, these 25 women have gone down in history as some of the most influential.
We make a very brief review of their transcendental actions, but there is no doubt that delving into their lives is extremely interesting and will make us understand why their names went down in history.
1. Safo of Mitilene (¿? – 580 a.c.)
Mitilene’s Sappho was also known as Safo de Lesbos. Although there are not many records about her life, there are still some of her poems, which talk about unrequited love and love between women. Plato himself named her “the tenth muse.”
2. Hipatia (¿? – 415 a.c)
Hipatia was one of the few female Greek philosophers. His studies focused on mathematics and astronomy, making important contributions. She was the founder of the Neoplatonic School of Alexandria. It is a historical character that appears reflected in the film “Agora”, by Alejandro Amenábar.
3. Cleopatra (60 a.c – 30 a.c)
Cleopatra was the youngest queen, in addition to the lastof the Ptolemaic dynasty. It is said that his great beauty, culture and intelligence irresistibly seduced men, including important figures such as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. These love affairs ended up causing the destruction of kingdoms and war between them.
4. Empress Wu (624 d.c – 705 d.c)
Empress Wu (Wu Zetian) was a Chinese empress remembered for her cruelty. As a great politician, he founded his own dynasty (the Zhou dynasty) and ruled exceptionally. However, at the age of 80, he suffered a coup d’état and died a few months later.
Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)
Joan of Arc was a young soldier at the head of the French royal army. Because he led the army during the 100-year war, Charles VII was crowned king of France. However, some time later she was captured and burned on charges of heresy.
6- Isabella of Castile (1451 – 1504)
Isabel de Castilla, wife of Fernando de Aragóncould be one of the most influential women in history. This is mainly due to his participation in the expedition that led Christopher Columbus to “discover” the American continent. She and her husband Ferdinand, also known as the Catholic kings, culminated the reconquest by taking pomegranate in 1492.
7- Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)
Marie Antoinette was the last queen before the French revolutionas well as one of the most famous women in history. Although her actions and those of her husband, Louis XVI, were not exactly beneficial, quite the opposite. She was taken to the guillotine because of the hatred she provoked in the French people for their waste of public money.
8. Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)
Jane Austen is author of works that are classics of universal literature. The history of literature would not be the same without “Pride and Prejudice” or “Meaning and Sensibility”. In his works he portrayed with a masterful talent the rural life of English. Her use of realism accompanied by humour, irony and social commentary has made her a favorite of critics and readers throughout history.
9. Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851 – 1921)
Emilia Pardo Bazán is one of the most important Spanish writers. His work is of great relevance even in this century, since his critiques of politics and society were sharp and accurate. That’s why she’s one of the most influential women in history.
10. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)
Marie Curie is one of the most relevant women of recent times. Dedicated together with her husband Pierre Curie to science, they were the responsible for discovering a new element: the radiowhich has served humanity above all in its medical applications.
11. Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)
Virginia Woolf was an important writer who has become a feminist reference. “The Waves” was one of her most popular and acclaimed works, but recently her essay “A Room of Her Own” has taken on great relevance for the feminist movement.
12. Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)
Coco Chanel became an icon of the fashion industry. She was an avant-garde designer who revolutionized the way women dress. Beyond her influence in this industry, she had relevance in the business world as an empowered and self-sufficient woman.
13. Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937)
Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. That act made her a symbol of women’s liberation because she also enhances the struggle for women’s rights. She died in her attempt to travel around the world, which made her a legend.
14. Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
Frida Kahlo was a painter and activist which has taken on great significance in recent decades. She has become one of the most famous women thanks to the unique aesthetics of her paintings where she portrays her own history full of sorrows and tragedies.
15. Teresa of Calcutta (1910 – 1997)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was one of the most influential women of the 20th century.. She dedicated most of her life to helping others through her congregation “Missionaries of Charity”, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
16. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)
Rosa Parks has passed history thanks to what would seem like a simple action. When Rosa Parks did not give up her seat to a white man who demanded that she “take her place” behind the bus, she did not imagine that she would become one of the icons of the civil rights struggle of African-Americans.
17. Eva Perón (1919 – 1952 )
Eva Perón was a woman of great transcendence for the Argentine people. She was an announcer, actress and even a model, but when she married the president, she dedicated herself to to defend women’s rights in a resolute manner and the workers.
18. Maria Callas (1923 – 1977)
Maria Callas has been the greatest soprano of all time.. Her talent took the breath away from the whole world and presented herself around the world building a career that grew rapidly and without comparison, although she was always surrounded by scandal over her controversial life.
19. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013)
Margaret Thatcher is remembered as “The Iron Lady.” She was known for being a tough, rigid woman to run the country. She was very conservative and her mandate is known as thatcherism.
20. Elizabeth II of England (1926 – present)
Elizabeth II of England is the longest-serving queen on the throne.. Her great-great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth I, was 64 years on the throne, she has turned 67 in 2017. In addition to the time she spent in the reign, her charism and great acceptance of the people, has distinguished her.
21. Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962 )
Marilyn Monroe became the greatest sex symbol of the time. But her beauty and fame transcended beyond her untimely death. Her intelligence, talent and controversial love relationships made her a legend.
22. Valentina Tereshkova (1937 – present)
Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to arrive in space. Before joining the cosmonauts that would take her into space, she was an amateur parachutist and worked in a factory. Since then she has been a very active and influential woman in politics.
23. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007)
Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s first female president. In a predominantly Muslim country, a woman as prime minister is undoubtedly an event of great significance. She had such acceptance that she held office twice, before being murdered.
24. Angela Merkel (1954 – present)
Angela Merkel has been German Chancellor since 2005, in addition to being a doctor of chemistry. She is currently one of the most influential women in the world. In 2015 she was named the most powerful woman in the world, and surely her name will go down in history for her decisions, actions and work of great political influence not only in Germany but in the world.
25. Malala Yousafzai (1997 – present)
Malala Yousafzai shocked everyone when her story came out. During the Taliban occupation, Malala clung to his studies and was gunshot wound because of this. Because of that her life was known around the world and she has traveled all over the world talking about civil rights. Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014becoming the youngest person to receive it.