Feminism

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models 

Erica Scheidt
Originally by
Updated July 9, 2020 100.9k votes 8.4k voters 104.9k views 319 items

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
Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
natalie-greenly added Physicist, Chemist, Scientist

Age: Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)

Birthplace: Warsaw, Second Polish Republic

Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who ...more

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2
Jane Goodall is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Becks Tora added Anthropologist, Researcher, Primatologist

Age: 84

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Dame Jane Morris Goodall (; born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall on 3 April 1934), formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the ...more

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#551 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #158 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #10 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

3
Janica Kostelić is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Magdalena Linde added Alpine skier

Age: 37

Birthplace: Zagreb, Croatia

Janica Kostelić (Croatian pronunciation: [janitsa kǒstelitɕ]; born 5 January 1982) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and four-time Olympic gold medalist from Croatia. In addition to the ...more

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#396 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #2 of 229 The Best Female Athletes of All Time #1 of 74 The Greatest Alpine Skiers of All Time

4
Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added Military Leader

Age: Dec. at 19 (1412-1431)

Birthplace: Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France

Joan of Arc (in French Jeanne d'Arc pronounced [ʒan daʁk]; c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is considered a heroine ...more

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#66 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #82 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #175 of 392 The Greatest Female Characters in Film History

5
Eva Perón is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added Politician, Actor

Age: Died at 33 (1919-1952)

Birthplace: Los Toldos, Argentina

María Eva Duarte de Perón (UK: , US: , Spanish: [maˈɾi.a ˈeβa ˈðwaɾte ðe peˈɾon]; 7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón ...more

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#632 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #1,104 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #272 of 370 The Most Important Leaders In World History

6
Elsa Brändströ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Becks Tora added

Age: Dec. at 60 (1888-1948)

Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Elsa Brändström (26 March 1888 – 4 March 1948) was a Swedish nurse and philanthropist. She was known as the "Angel of Siberia" (German: Engel von Sibirien).
7
Hanna Reitsch is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Odysseus added Pilot

Age: Dec. at 67 (1912-1979)

Birthplace: Jelenia Góra, Poland

Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviatrix and test pilot. During the Nazi era, she and Melitta von Stauffenberg flight tested many of the regime's new aircraft. She ...more

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#386 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #137 of 452 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

8
Diana, Princess of Wales... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Becks Tora added Crown Princess

Age: Dec. at 36 (1961-1997)

Birthplace: Sandringham, England

Diana, Princess of Wales (born Diana Frances Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother ...more

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9
Bea Uusma is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Heros Deus added Bea Uusma

Age: 52

Birthplace: Lidingö, Sweden

Brave Swedish polar explorer.
Mari Beatrice Uusma was the wife of Henrik Schyffert.
10
Kristina Söderbaum ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Actor, Photographer

Age: Dec. at 89 (1912-2001)

Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Beata Margareta Kristina Söderbaum (5 September 1912 – 12 February 2001) was a Swedish-born German film actress, producer, and photographer. She is most known for her roles in National ...more
11
Catherine, Duchess of Ca... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Maryellen Elizabeth added

Age: 37

Birthplace: Royal Berkshire Hospital, United Kingdom

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a member of the British royal family. Her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is expected to ...more

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12
Rachel Corrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Becks Tora added Peace activist

Age: Dec. at 24 (1979-2003)

Birthplace: Olympia, Washington

Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American activist and diarist. She was a member of a pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She ...more

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#132 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #48 of 452 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

13
Chris Evert is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Becks Tora added Tennis player, Actor

Age: 64

Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

Christine Marie Evert (born December 21, 1954), known as Chris Evert Lloyd from 1979 to 1987, is a retired American World No. 1 tennis player. She won 18 Grand Slam singles championships and ...more

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14
Lisa Randall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
DaveHoffman added Physicist, Professor

Age: 56

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Ttheoretical physicist and leading expert on particle physics and cosmology. Lisa Randall (born June 18, 1962) is an American theoretical physicist working in particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of ...more
15
Edith Cavell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added Nurse

Age: Dec. at 50 (1865-1915)

Birthplace: Swardeston, United Kingdom

Edith Louisa Cavell (; 4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 ...more
16
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added

Age: Dec. at 39 (68 BC-29 BC)

Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt

Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπᾰ́τρᾱ Φιλοπάτωρ, romanized: Kleopátrā Philopátōr; 69 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of ...more

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17
Harriet Tubman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Activist, Writer

Birthplace: Maryland

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen ...more

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18
Susan B. Anthony is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Spencer Semonson added Women's rights activist

Age: Dec. at 86 (1820-1906)

Birthplace: Adams, Massachusetts

Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker ...more

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#133 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #690 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #352 of 452 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

19
Your Own Mom is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
RobLein added Your Own Mom

Brag about her. She's great!

20
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Spencer Semonson added Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter

Age: Dec. at 86 (1890-1976)

Birthplace: Torquay, United Kingdom

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story ...more

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21
Amelia Earhart is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added Pilot, Writer

Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas

Amelia Mary Earhart (, born July 24, 1897; disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She ...more

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22
Mother Teresa is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Coolza added Nun, Teacher

Age: Dec. at 87 (1910-1997)

Birthplace: Skopje, Yugoslavia

Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), commonly known as Mother Teresa and honoured in the Roman ...more

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23
Valentina Tereshkova is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
ElijahKaganer added Pilot, Politician, Astronaut

Age: 81

Birthplace: Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Russia

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Russian: Валентина Владимировна Терешкова, IPA: [vɐlʲɪnʲˈtʲinə vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvnə tʲɪrʲɪʂˈkovə] (listen); born 6 March 1937) is a member of the Russian State ...more
24
Melinda Gates is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
Co-Founder, Co-Chair, and Operator of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Age: 54

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Melinda Ann Gates DBE (née French; August 15, 1964) is an American philanthropist and a former general manager at Microsoft. In 2000, she co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates ...more

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25
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models
MoonshadowRachel added Pacifist, Lecturer, Author

Age: Dec. at 88 (1880-1968)

Birthplace: Tuscumbia, United States of America, Alabama, Colbert County

American author, political activist and lecturer. Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of ...more

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