People seem to talk about famous men who have had an impact on society and done great things and neglect to look at the women who have also done great things. It’s not just men that can do great things, women also take charge and lead armies into battle. There are many women who have left their mark on societies all over the world. This list of ten famous women is just a sample of famous women throughout history.
1. The Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary is known throughout the world and her image is displayed in pictures and statutes. Many religious pray to her to ask for her intercession to God so that their prayers are heard. There are holidays in many countries specifically declared for her and she is one of the main figures in Christian religions. Her role as the mother of Christ makes her one of the most famous women in history. She role modeled faith and devotion through her unquestioning obedience to God and his plan for her in the Church.
2. Mother Theresa
Everyone throughout the world new of Mother Theresa and few people could match the work that she did caring for the poor in India. She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhui but no one would know her by that name instead she goes by the moniker Mother Theresa. She founded the Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity had very humble beginnings with just thirteen people but the charity grew and organizations the world over modeled themselves after her charity and the work that it did tending to the sick and those less fortunate members of society. Mother Theresa was a small, frail woman but with a toughness few could match anywhere in the world. In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize in honor of her work with hospice for the homeless when their lives were ending. She passed away in 1997 but her memory and good deeds are living on with the people she has chosen to continue her work.
3. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc is one of the youngest members of this group of famous woman as her life ended when she was only 19 years of age. Despite her young age she was still able to accomplish great things in a very short time. When she was just 17 years old she was already well known as a fearless warrior and great leader in the French armed forces. She was known as a battle strategist and led her troops to many victories. Unfortunately, when she was 19 she was convicted of heresy and put to death but this was later reversed and she became a martyr. Her actions and death later made her become a saint as well.
4. Rosa Parks
Another famous woman in history is Rosa Parks. Her simple actions sparked a movement in society that had lasting impacts to stop racial discrimination. She worked to stop discrimination against African Americans as a civil rights activist. Her work was carried on by Martin Luther King Jr. and drove change in many key policies in the United States. She was given the honor to lie in state within the United States Capitol Rotunda when she passed away and was the first woman and one of only two African Americans to receive that honor.
5. Marie Curie
The fifth important woman was named Marie Curie and was famous for her contributions to science. She was born in 1867 in the country of Poland and was intelligent beyond her times. She worked and studied radioactivity and is credited for developing the term. She was a very intelligent physicist and chemist and her work earned her two Nobel Prizes. To date not woman has received two Nobel Prizes so this was an incredible achievement by a woman ahead of her times.
6. Florence Nightingale
People recognize the name Florence Nightingale even if they do not know what she was famous for doing. She had the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp” and spent her entire life taking care of patients. She worked during the Crimean War helping wounded soldiers. She was very committed to the work she did and was known for her kindness and compassion. The Nightingale School of Nursing is one example of how her inspiration helps train others to take care of patients.
7. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt is famous for being the first lady when her husband was elected president and she moved to the White House. But many do not realize that this famous woman was very involved in charity work before becoming the first lady. Eleanor Roosevelt continued her work pushing for changes in laws that were designed to protect minority groups. She was outspoken and worked tirelessly for change all the while helping her husband in his White House hosting duties when world leaders came to visit. Her work continued long after her husband passed away in 1945. Eleanor Roosevelt set the bar high and all first ladies have strived to be like her.
8. Queen Elizabeth I
Throughout her life Queen Elizabeth I went against all conventions and expectations. She made a point to remain single and focused on being the best leader she could be. Her time as the Queen of England is described as the best of any monarch in the history of England. England has done well while Queen Elizabeth I sat on the throne and her leadership made the country flourish. No ruler is without controversy and Queen Elizabeth I had hers when she had her cousin, the Queen of Scots, put to death. But Queen Elizabeth I put the controversy behind her and moved forward to make great changes in England and the monarchy.
9. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is one name that is recognized by virtually everyone in the world. She built an empire from her shows, book reviews and philanthropy. Her long-running TV talk show was the topic and debate of many family conversations. Journalists would quote her and her words spread through many publications. Oprah Winfrey is noted for her philanthropic work. She would help those who were in dire need. She inspired others to help each other and was one of the most respected African American hostesses.
10. Mata Hari
Mata Hari was a controversial woman who rounds out the top ten famous woman listing. She was very beautiful and was born in the Netherlands and grew through life to become an exotic dancer living as a courtesan. But this was not just a beautiful woman she worked as a double agent during World War I. The details around her work were never found out but some suspect she worked as a spy for both France and Germany. She was arrested in 1917 and found guilty of spying. Regardless of the details her name has gone down in infamy for her actions during the world war.
This list of ten most famous women is just a selection of the numerous names you can find throughout history. Just because a woman’s name is not included here does not mean they were not important enough to remember. These ten woman were selected because their deeds made their names very popular and people the world over recognize their names and actions. Additionally, their actions had a significant impact on other people to make them the most famous.