10.4k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 115.9k votes 10.4k voters 112.4k 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.

  • 1
    Janica Kostelić

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier


    BirthplaceZagreb, Croatia

    Janica Kostelić (Croatian pronunciation: [janitsa kǒstelitɕ]; born 5 January 1982) is a former... more on Wikipedia

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    #1 of 238 The Best Female Athletes of All Time#1 of 62 The Greatest Alpine Skiers of All Time

  • 2
    Your Own Mom

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • 3


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


    #631 of 1,357 The Greatest Minds of All Time#146 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History

  • 4
    Harriet Tubman

    Harriet Tubman

    Activist, Writer


    Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American... more on Wikipedia

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    17 Things You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubman#233 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 5
    Susan B. Anthony

    Susan B. Anthony

    Women's rights activist

    AgeDec. at 86 (1820-1906)

    BirthplaceAdams, Massachusetts

    Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and... more on Wikipedia

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    #41 of 433 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History#316 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

  • 6
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a... more on Wikipedia

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    A Day In The Life Of William And Kate#57 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

  • 7
    Martina Navratilova

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player


    BirthplacePrague, Czech Republic

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

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    #513 of 595 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures#1 of 72 The Greatest Women's Tennis Players of All Time

  • 8
    Agatha Christie

    Agatha Christie

    Poet, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 86 (1890-1976)

    BirthplaceTorquay, United Kingdom

    Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Elizabeth I of England

    AgeDec. at 70 (1533-1603)

    BirthplacePalace of Placentia, London, United Kingdom

    Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 17... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama

    First Lady of the United States, Lawyer


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (née Robinson; born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer,... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Ronda Rousey

    Ronda Rousey

    Mixed Martial Artist, Actor


    BirthplaceUSA, California

    Ronda Jean Rousey (; born February 1, 1987) is an American professional wrestler, actress,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Sarah Mayer
    Sarah Mayer (1896–1957),was an English female judoka. Mayer first trained in judo by Gunji... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Sally McLellan

    Sally McLellan

    Athlete, Track and field athlete


    BirthplacePaddington, Sydney, Australia

    Sally Pearson, OAM (née McLellan; born 19 September 1986) is a retired Australian athlete. She... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Holly Holm

    Holly Holm

    Professional Boxer


    BirthplaceAlbuquerque, New Mexico

    Holly Rene Holm (born October 17, 1981) is an American mixed martial artist who competes in... more on Wikipedia

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    #410 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time#8 of 25 The Best Southpaw Fighters In The UFC

  • 15
    Steffi Graf

    Steffi Graf

    Tennis player


    BirthplaceMannheim, Germany

    Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɛfiː ˈɡʁaːf]; born 14 June 1969) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Serena Williams

    Serena Williams

    Current No. 1 in Women's Singles Tennis, Oldest No. 1 in WTA History


    BirthplaceSaginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player and... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Astrid Benöhr

    Astrid Benöhr



    BirthplaceBergisch Gladbach, Germany

    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.

  • 18
    Catherine II of Russia

    AgeDec. at 67 (1729-1796)

    BirthplaceSzczecin, Poland

    Catherine II (Russian: Екатери́на Алексе́евна, romanized: Yekaterina Alekseyevna; 2 May [O.S.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Ellen Ochoa

    Ellen Ochoa

    World's First Hispanic Female Astronaut, First Hispanic and Second Female Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center


    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Ellen O. Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is an American engineer, former astronaut and former... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Susan Wojcicki

    Susan Wojcicki

    CEO of Youtube, Former Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce at Google



    Susan Diane Wojcicki is an American businesswoman and CEO of YouTube.

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    #101 of 266 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time#41 of 54 The Most Influential CEOs of All Time

  • 21
    Elizabeth Blackwell

    AgeDec. at 89 (1821-1910)

    BirthplaceBristol, United Kingdom

    Elizabeth Blackwell (February 3, 1821 – May 31, 1910) was a British physician, notable as the... more on Wikipedia

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    #9 of 24 Famous American Women Who Deserve Their Faces On Money#5 of 19 The Greatest Renaissance Women in American History

  • 22
    Edith Cavell

    AgeDec. at 50 (1865-1915)

    BirthplaceSwardeston, United Kingdom

    Edith Louisa Cavell (; 4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse. She is... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Cosima Wagner
    Cosima Wagner (born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Tory Burch

    Tory Burch

    Chairman, CEO


    BirthplaceValley Forge, Pennsylvania

    Tory Burch is an American fashion designer, business woman, and philanthropist, who has won... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Mae Jemison

    Mae Jemison

    Professor, Astronaut


    BirthplaceDecatur, Alabama, United States of America

    First African American woman in space on space shuttle Endeavor. Then founded her own company, the Jemison Group, seeking to encourage a love of science in students and bring advanced technology around the world.

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    #12 of 45 The Hottest Lady Astronauts In NASA History#1 of 21 The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Women