From athletes to activists to explorers, here are 14 amazing portraits of history's most influential women. Click each link to learn more, enjoy!
Anna Lee Tingle Fisher
(Born August 24, 1949) American chemist, emergency physician, and a NASA astronaut. Formerly married to fellow astronaut Bill Fisher, and the mother of two children, in 1984 she became the first mother in space. Fisher is the oldest active American astronaut. During her career at NASA, she has been involved with three major programs: the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and the Orion project.
(Born 1936) Computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. Hamilton's work prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was developed around the Universal Systems Language based on her paradigm of Development Before the Fact (DBTF) for systems and software design.
Victoria Claflin Woodhull
(1838-1927) In 1872 Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president of the United States. Woodhull’s presidential platform showed her foresight as she supported issues like an eight-hour workday, graduated income tax, new divorce laws, and social welfare programs that we enjoy today.
(Born October 3rd, 1925) Also known by her nom de guerre Nicole Minet, was a French resistance fighter, in the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans group.
She was present at the fall of Chartres, on August 23, 1944, and liberation of Paris. She was promoted to lieutenant, and awarded the Croix de guerre. A street in Courville-sur-Eure will be named for her. "Nicole" a French Partisan who captured 25 Nazis in the Chartres area. Posing with her german MP-40
Amelia Mary Earhart
(July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) In 1923, Earhart, fondly known as "Lady Lindy," became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license. She had several notable flights, becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, as well as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and help inspire others with her love for aviation. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator. Since then, several theories have formed regarding Earhart's last days, many of which have been connected to various artifacts that have been found on Pacific islands—including clothing, tools and, more recently, freckle cream. Earhart was legally declared dead in 1939.
Diana, Princess of Wales
(1961-1997) British Royal princess who was noted for her humanitarian charity work. Despite troubled marriage to Prince Charles, she was popular for her natural sympathy with the poor and marginalised from society.
(June 14, 1904 – August 27, 1971) An American photographer and documentary photographer. She is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry, the first American female war photojournalist, and the first female photographer for Henry Luce's Life magazine, where her photograph appeared on the first cover.
While crossing the Atlantic to North Africa, her transport ship was torpedoed and sunk, but Bourke-White survived to cover the bitter daily struggle of the Allied infantrymen in the Italian campaign. She then covered the siege of Moscow, which she wrote about in her book Shooting the Russian War (1942). Toward the end of the war, she crossed the Rhine River into Germany with General George Patton’s Third Army troops. Her photographs of the emaciated inmates of concentration camps and of the corpses in gas chambers stunned the world.
Alice Huyler Ramsey
(November 11, 1886 – September 10, 1983) On June 9, 1909, Alice Ramsey and three other women left New York City while driving a Maxwell touring car. Forty-one driving days, 11 tires and 3,800 miles later they arrived in San Francisco, where they were met by a large fanfare celebration. Alice Ramsey and her companions (who did not drive during the trip) experienced numerous challenges during the journey, including bad roads, poor weather, flat tires and mechanical breakdowns. In Nebraska, they met up with Indians, feared the worst, then discovered the Indians were just hunting jackrabbits. In Wyoming, the group was stopped temporarily by men on horseback, a posse tracking a murder. In 1961, Ramsey chronicled the adventure in her book, Veil, Duster and Tire Iron.
On October 17, 2000, Alice Huyler Ramsey became the first woman to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Her courage and determination have inspired countless women to pursue automotive-related goals and dreams.
Winnie the Welder(s)
Winnie the Welder (some call her Wendy the Welder), the moniker given to some 2,000 women who worked in the shipyard building war ships and subs.
LIFE photographer Bernard Hoffman took the photo above of a young female welder at a boat-and-sub-building yard in October 1943. Jennifer Mann of The Patriot Ledger has the fascinating story of one such Winnie the Welder. It was a groundbreaking time for women in the workplace. Thousands of women took over jobs that had been vacated by men who went off to fight in World War II.
Maud Stevens Wagner
(February 1877 – January 30, 1961) An aerialist and contortionist in the circus, Maud Wagner was the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Living in a time when it was scandalous even to show a bit of ankle, a small number of courageous women covered their bodies in tattoos and traveled the country, performing nearly nude on carnival stages. These gutsy women spun amazing stories for captivated audiences about abductions and forced tattooing at the hands of savages, but little has been shared of their real lives. Though they spawned a cultural movement—almost a quarter of Americans now have tattoos—these women have largely faded into history.
One of the first professional female skateboarders and commonly known as the greatest woman freestyle skateboarder in the 1970s
Gertrude Caroline Ederle
(October 23, 1906 – November 30, 2003) An American woman who won three swimming medals in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Ederle's career included 29 U.S. and World swimming records. At 19 years old, when she swam the English Channel (same route as Webb), in 14 hours, 31 minutes, two hours faster than the mens' record, she became the first woman competing in a major sport to beat a man's record.
The morning she started her swim the London Daily News ran an editorial: "Even the most uncompromising champion of the rights and capacities of women must admit that in contests of physical skill, speed and endurance they must remain forever the weaker sex." Ederle: "People said women couldn't swim the Channel but I proved they could." She got a ticker-tape parade in New York. She became partially deaf as a result of the swim.
There is an annual swim in her memory over the course she first swam from Manhattan to Sandy hook, N.J.
(1797 – November 26, 1883) Sojourner Truth was actually born Isabella Baumfree in 1797 in Swartekill, New York she is noted for having escaped slavery in 1826 and then becoming the first woman to take a white man to court to recover her child. She was a vocal supporter of women’s rights, abolition, prison reform and capital punishment (which she was against). And also helped recruit black men for the Union Army during the Civil War.
During the Civil War, Sojourner Truth took up the issue of women's suffrage. She was befriended by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but disagreed with them on many issues, most notably Stanton's threat that she would not support the black vote if women were denied it. Although she remained supportive of women's suffrage throughout her life, Truth distanced herself from the increasingly racist language of the women's groups. Truth died on November 26, 1883. In her old age, she had let go of Pentecostal judgement and embraced spiritualism. Her last words were "be a follower of the Lord Jesus."
Eleanor Butler Alexander-Roosevelt
(October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) Eleanor Roosevelt was a writer, activist, and wife of 32nd United States President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Using her intellect and influence, she redefined what it meant to be a female member of the upper echelons of society, First Lady of New York, First Lady of the United States, and ultimately she expanded the role of women in society.