feminism The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models  

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List Rules Inspiring professional women who are at the top of their fields. Only remarkable, positive female role models who don't primarily work in Hollywood (TV journalists are okay).

Who run the world? Girls! After compiling this list, we're positive that ladies all over the planet are kicking ass and taking names in almost every field nowadays, sorry not sorry. The amazing female role models on this list are inspiring examples of powerful females, killing it at the tops of their fields and in the trenches, helping to make the world a better place for everyone, but especially for women and girls all over the world. After all, there are presidential candidates, hard-hitting journalists, countless female CEOs and CFOs of major corporations, and a teenage girl who is on the fast track to becoming an MLB superstar. Who are the most inspiring female role models in the world today?

Though we tried our best to list as many inspirational women as possible, we're sure we missed some ladies you might look up to, so be sure to add them and rerank this list. Of all these awesome female role models from around the world, which ones inspires you the most? Which of these ladies motivated you to choose your career? Which one of these amazing female role models makes you want to pursue your dreams?  

After seeing all these awesome female role models together on one list, you'll be more inspired that ever to conquer anything! Vote up the women who inspire you the most and add any other inspirational women, successful women, and strong female role models you think girls and women the world over should know about.

list ordered by

1
+ - 714 316
Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Marie Curie Physicist, Chemist, Scientist - Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first ...more

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2
+ - 809 431
Jane Goodall is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Jane Goodall Anthropologist, Researcher, Primatologist - Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE is an English primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best ...more

3
+ - 502 384
Valentina Tereshkova is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Valentina Tereshkova Pilot, Politician, Astronaut - Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is the first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. In ...more

4
+ - 255 188
Clara Barton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Clara Barton Nurse, Nursing, Teacher - Clarissa Harlowe "Clara" Barton was a pioneer nurse who founded the American Red Cross. In addition to being a hospital nurse, she worked as a teacher, patent clerk, and humanitarian. ...more

5
+ - 307 163
Elsa Brändström is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Elsa Brändström Elsa Brändström was a Swedish nurse and philanthropist. She was known around the world as the "Angel of Siberia".

6
+ - 781 842
Diana, Princess of Wales is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Diana, Princess of Wales Crown Princess - Diana, Princess of Wales, was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Diana was born into an aristocratic British family with ...more

7
+ - 549 158
Janica Kostelić is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Janica Kostelić Alpine skier - Janica Kostelić is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and four-time Olympic gold medalist from Croatia. In addition to the Olympics, she won five gold medals at the World Championships. In ...more

8
+ - 323 373
Rachel Corrie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Rachel Corrie Peace activist - Rachel Aliene Corrie was an American peace activist and diarist. She was killed by an Israel Defense Forces armored bulldozer in a combat zone in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, ...more

9
+ - 211 89
Florence Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Florence Nightingale Nurse, Statistical graphics, Nursing - Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by ...more

10
+ - 540 658
Malala Yousafzai is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Malala Yousafzai Female education activist, Nobel Prize laureate - Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native ...more

11
+ - 227 95
Your Mom is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Your Mom I think everyone can honestly say their mom is an inspiration. My mom sure is. She is 99 years old and is taking college classes, writing poetry and writing stories for her assisted living place's newsletter. Everyone can brag ...

12
+ - 183 175
Martina Navratilova is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Martina Navratilova Tennis player - Martina Navratilova is a retired Czech and American tennis player and coach. Billie Jean King, former World No. 1 player, said in 2006 that Navratilova is "the greatest singles, doubles and ...more

13
+ - 91 23
Amelia Earhart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Amelia Earhart Pilot, Writer - Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for ...more

14
+ - 177 69
Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Joan of Arc Military Leader - Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", is considered a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family, at ...more

15
+ - 152 149
Charlene, Princess of Monaco is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Charlene, Princess of Monaco Crown Princess, Swimmer - Charlene Lynette Wittstock, is a former South African Olympic swimmer who, after marrying Prince Albert II, became Princess of Monaco. Charlene is the daughter of Michael and Lynette Wittstock. ...more

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16
+ - 144 172
Shannon Miller is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Shannon Miller Gymnast - Cancer survivor, 7 time Olympic medalist, runs Shannon Miller Lifestyle which is targeted to women with a focus on health and wellness, it includes the topics of fitness, nutrition, pregnancy, motherhood, and cancer awareness ...

17
+ - 212 114
Hanna Reitsch is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Hanna Reitsch Pilot - Hanna Reitsch was a German aviatrix, Nazi test pilot, and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. She ...more

18
+ - 129 118
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Helen Keller Pacifist, Lecturer, Author - American author, political activist and lecturer.

19
+ - 223 301
Queen Máxima of the Netherland... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is the wife of King Willem-Alexander. On 30 April 2013, she became the first Dutch queen consort since 1890.

20
+ - 164 140
Chris Evert is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Chris Evert Tennis player, Actor - Christine Marie "Chris" Evert, known as Chris Evert-Lloyd from 1979 to 1987, is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. She won 18 Grand Slam singles ...more

21
+ - 306 497
Steffi Graf is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Steffi Graf Tennis player - Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf is a German former world No. 1 tennis player. Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Her 22 singles titles is second all time behind Margaret Court, and ...more

22
+ - 429 732
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
J. K. Rowling Author of the "Harry Potter" series, UK's Best-Selling Living Author - Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE FRSL, pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have gained ...more

23
+ - 168 228
Valentina Lisitsa is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Valentina Lisitsa Pianist - Valentina Lisitsa is a Ukrainian-American classical pianist who resides in North Carolina. Lisitsa is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube and is often praised as a highly ...more

24
+ - 176 112
Leni Riefenstahl is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Leni Riefenstahl Actor, Dancer, Film Director - Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, photographer, actress and dancer widely known for directing the Nazi propaganda film ...more

25
+ - 314 702
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Serena Williams Current No. 1 in Women's Singles Tennis, Oldest No. 1 in WTA History, Multiple Record Holder for Female Tennis - Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women's singles tennis. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on ...more

26
+ - 174 136
Temple Grandin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Temple Grandin Animal Expert and Advocate, Bestselling Author, Autistic Activist - Mary Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, an autistic activist, and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal ...more

27
+ - 210 252
Aung San Suu Kyi is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Aung San Suu Kyi Chairperson and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy in Burma, 1991 Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 2012 Recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal - Aung San Suu Kyi AC is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% ...more

28
+ - 116 46
Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Queen Victoria Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the ...more

29
+ - 152 159
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Ronda Rousey Mixed Martial Artist, Actor - Ronda Jean Rousey is an American mixed martial artist, judoka and actress. She is the first and current UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight ...more

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30
+ - 92 216
Vanessa Mae is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Vanessa Mae

31
+ - 211 304
Ellen Ochoa is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Ellen Ochoa World's First Hispanic Female Astronaut, First Hispanic and Second Female Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center - Ellen Lauri Ochoa is a former astronaut and current Director of the Johnson Space Center. Ochoa became director of the center upon retirement of the previous director, Michael Coats, on December ...more

32
+ - 126 86
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen Politician - Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is a French politician, a member of the Front National and an MP for Vaucluse's 3rd constituency since 2012. Twenty-two years old at the time of her election, she ...more

33
+ - 84 129
Dafne Schippers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Dafne Schippers Track and field athlete - Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete competing in heptathlon and the sprints.

34
+ - 220 287
Elizabeth Warren is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Elizabeth Warren First Female Senator from Massachusetts, Former Special Advisor for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Former Chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel - Elizabeth Ann Warren is an American academic and politician who is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. She was previously a Harvard Law ...more

35
+ - 143 307
Venus Williams is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Venus Williams Current No. 11 in Women's Singles Tennis, First African American Woman to be Ranked No. 1, Multiple Record Holder in Female Tennis - Venus Ebony Starr Williams is an American professional tennis player who is a former World No. 1 and is ranked World No. 11 in singles as of February 1, 2015. She has been ranked World No. 1 in ...more

36
+ - 100 124
Sally McLellan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Sally McLellan Athlete, Track and field athlete - Sally Pearson is an Australian athlete. She is the 2011 World champion and 2012 Olympic champion in the 100 metres hurdles. She also won a silver medal in the 100 m hurdles at the 2008 Summer ...more

37
+ - 87 24
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as "Cleopatra", was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, only shortly survived by her son, Caesarion as pharaoh. Cleopatra was a ...more

38
+ - 118 85
Holly Holm is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Holly Holm Professional Boxer - Holly Holm is an American mixed martial artist who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division. Holm is also a former professional boxer and kickboxer. During her boxing ...more

39
+ - 87 51
Mother Teresa is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Mother Teresa Nun, Teacher - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC, commonly known as Mother Teresa, was a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary who lived most of her life in India. She was born in today's Macedonia, with ...more

40
+ - 148 213
Marissa Mayer is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Marissa Mayer President and CEO of Yahoo!, Former Executive for Google, First Female Engineer for Google - Marissa Ann Mayer is the current president and CEO of Yahoo!, a position she has held since July 2012. Previously, she was a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson for ...more

41
+ - 103 140
Melissa Franklin is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Melissa Franklin Physicist, Scientist - Experimental particle physicist and the Department Chair and Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University

42
+ - 86 91
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Paula Radcliffe Track and field athlete - Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE is an English long-distance runner. She is the current women's world record holder in the marathon with her time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds. She is a ...more

43
+ - 134 92
Eva Perón is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Eva Perón Politician, Actor - María Eva Duarte de Perón was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is usually ...more

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44
+ - 104 51
Loretta Lynn is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Loretta Lynn Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Author - Loretta Lynn, is a multiple gold album American country music singer-songwriter whose work spans more than 50 years. She has received numerous awards and other accolades for her groundbreaking ...more

45
+ - 66 26
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Virginia Woolf Novelist, Author, Writer - Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society ...more

46
+ - 283 493
Condoleezza Rice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Condoleezza Rice First Female African-American Secretary of State, Second Female Secretary of State, Former National Security Advisor - Condoleezza "Condi" Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the ...more

47
+ - 111 64
Anne Morrow Lindbergh is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Anne Morrow Lindbergh Pilot, Poet, Author - Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an American author, aviator, and the wife of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. She was an acclaimed author whose books and articles spanned the genres of poetry to ...more

48
+ - 92 116
Amy Mainzer is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Amy Mainzer Astronomer - Research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Working on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam), and NEOWISE mission to study asteroids and comets using the reactivated ...

49
+ - 127 94
Marine Le Pen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Marine Le Pen Politician, Lawyer - Marine Le Pen is a French politician and the president of the National Front, the third-largest political party in France, since 16 January 2011. A lawyer by profession, she is the youngest ...more

50
+ - 98 58
Zarah Leander is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Zarah Leander Singer - Zarah Leander was a Swedish singer and actress whose greatest success was in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. Leander began her career in the late 1920s, and by the mid-1930s her success in ...more