Feminism
11.5k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 114.8k votes 11.5k voters 116.8k views319 items

List RulesInspiring 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.

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    880

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier
    Janica Kostelić (Croatian pronunciation: [janitsa kǒstelitɕ]; born 5 January 1982) is a former...  more
  • 2
    1,359
    288

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • 3
    351
    531

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player
    Martina Navratilova (Czech: Martina Navrátilová pronounced [mar'cɪna navˈraːcɪlovaː]; born...  more

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    #14 of 1,424 The Best Athletes Of All Time#806 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • 4
    199
    208

    Boudica

    Boudica or Boudicca (; also Boadicea or Boudicea , and known in Welsh as Buddug Welsh...  more

    More 

    #780 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#134 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History

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    354
    535

    Chris Evert

    Tennis player, Actor
    Christine Marie Evert (born December 21, 1954), known as Chris Evert Lloyd from 1979 to 1987,...  more

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    #61 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#1124 of 1,267 Test 7- The Most Beautiful Women in the World

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    94
    142

    Shannon May

    Founded Bridge International Academies, the world’s largest private provider of nursery and primary education for families living on $2 a day or less.
    Shannon May (born 9 June 1991) is an Australian football (soccer) player who plays for...  more
  • 7
    312
    467

    Temple Grandin

    Animal Expert and Advocate, Bestselling Author
    Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at...  more

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    #1088 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#104 of 248 The Best Female Authors of All Time

  • 8
    124
    187

    Meghan Vogel

    A symbol of fair play in sports.
  • 9
    92
    115

    Mary Jo White

    Chairwoman of the Security and Exchange Commission, First Woman to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
    Mary Jo White (born December 27, 1947) is an American attorney who served as the 31st Chair of...  more
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    139
    213

    Vera Lynn

    Actor, Singer
    Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (March 20, 1917 - June 18, 2020) was an English singer of...  more

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    #339 of 739 The Best Singers Of All Time#254 of 344 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

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    254
    390

    Charlene, Princess of Monaco

    Crown Princess, Swimmer
    Charlene, Princess of Monaco (née Charlene Lynette Wittstock; French: Charlène; born 25...  more
  • 12
    153
    232

    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 WISE satellite. She previously worked for Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center on the Spitzer Space Telescope.
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    203
    305

    Astrid Benöhr

    Triathlete

    Toughest woman in the world. Holds several world records in Triple Ultra Triathlon  (3 times the Ironman distance) and won that competition at every event from 1992 - 2006! Also holds the absolute world record in Ironman * 10 (38km swimming, 1800 km cycling and 422 km running) with 7 d 19 h 8 min 23 sec.

  • 14
    56
    83

    Pat Summitt

    Basketball Coach, Coach
    Patricia Susan Summitt (née Head; June 14, 1952 – June 28, 2016) was an American women's...  more

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    #28 of 124 The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time#20 of 49 The Most High Strung Coaches in College Sports

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    97
    147

    Tavi Gevinson

    Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Rookie Magazine
    Tavi Gevinson (born April 21, 1996) is an American writer, magazine editor, and actress. She...  more
  • 16
    146
    223

    Carol W. Greider

    Molecular Biologist, Professor
    Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University
    Carolyn Widney "Carol" Greider (born April 15, 1961) is an American molecular biologist and...  more
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    255
    391

    Melinda Gates

    Co-Founder, Co-Chair
    Melinda Ann Gates DBE (née French; August 15, 1964) is an American philanthropist and a former...  more
  • 18
    334
    508

    Ellen Ochoa

    World's First Hispanic Female Astronaut, First Hispanic and Second Female Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center
    Ellen O. Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is an American engineer, former astronaut and former...  more
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    135
    206

    Krista Donaldson

    CEO of D-Rev, a not-for-profit based in Silicon Valley that brings medical devices to people living on less than $4 a day.
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    116
    178

    Kirsten Gillibrand

    Politician, Attorney at law
    Moderate Senator - New York
    Kirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand (née Rutnik; (listen) KEER-stən JIL-i-brand; born December 9,...  more
  • 21
    136
    210

    Carolina Herrera

    Venezuelan-American fashion designer best known for dressing the First Ladies of the U.S.
    Carolina Herrera is a Venezuelan-American fashion designer known for "exceptional personal...  more
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    182
    279

    Marissa Mayer

    President and CEO of Yahoo!, Former Executive for Google
    Marissa Ann Mayer (; born May 30, 1975) is an American information technology executive, and...  more
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    121
    186

    Meg Whitman

    Chairwoman, President
    Margaret Cushing Whitman (born August 4, 1956) is an American business executive, political...  more

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    #46 of 54 The Most Influential CEOs of All Time#96 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

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    123
    191

    Dafne Schippers

    Track and field athlete
    Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete competing in heptathlon and the sprints....  more

    More 

    #42 of 240 The Best Female Athletes of All Time#195 of 670 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes

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    213
    329

    Paula Radcliffe

    Track and field athlete
    Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE (born 17 December 1973) is a British long-distance runner. She is a...  more