Feminism
11.0k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 118.3k votes 11.0k voters 115.0k 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.

  • Janica Kostelić1
    4,181
    897

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier

    Age38

    BirthplaceZagreb, Croatia

    Janica Kostelić (Croatian pronunciation: [janitsa kǒstelitɕ]; born 5 January 1982) is a former...  more
  • Martina Navratilova2
    359
    533

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player

    Age63

    BirthplacePrague, Czech Republic

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

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  • Your Own Mom3
    1,399
    306

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • Boudica4
    199
    210

    Boudica

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

    More 

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  • Chris Evert5
    365
    552

    Chris Evert

    Tennis player, Actor

    Age65

    BirthplaceFort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

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

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  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge6
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a...  more

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    #59 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#53 of 199 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

  • Michelle Obama7
    1,012
    1,552

    Michelle Obama

    First Lady of the United States, Lawyer

    Age56

    BirthplaceChicago metropolitan area, Illinois, Chicago, United States of America, United States

    Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (née Robinson; born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer,...  more

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    #36 of 88 The Best Female Celebrity Role Models#1 of 94 The Most Influential Women of 2019

  • Astrid Benöhr8
    208
    309

    Astrid Benöhr

    Triathlete

    Age62

    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.

  • Temple Grandin9
    322
    484

    Temple Grandin

    Animal Expert and Advocate, Bestselling Author

    Age73

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at...  more

    More 

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  • J. K. Rowling10
    744
    1,145

    J. K. Rowling

    Author of the "Harry Potter" series, UK's Best-Selling Living Author

    Age55

    BirthplaceYate, United Kingdom

    Joanne Rowling ( "rolling"; born 31 July 1965), better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling,...  more

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  • Harriet Tubman11
    595
    898

    Harriet Tubman

    Activist, Writer

    BirthplaceMaryland

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

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  • Hanna Reitsch12
    349
    544

    AgeDec. at 67 (1912-1979)

    BirthplaceJelenia Góra, Poland

    Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviatrix and test pilot. During...  more
  • Sarah Mayer13
    Sarah Mayer (1896–1957),was an English female judoka. Mayer first trained in judo by Gunji...  more
  • Serena Williams14
    715
    1,114

    Serena Williams

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

    Age39

    BirthplaceSaginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player and...  more

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  • Ellen Ochoa15
    339
    527

    Ellen Ochoa

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

    Age62

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Ellen O. Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is an American engineer, former astronaut and former...  more

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  • Steffi Graf16
    476
    743

    Steffi Graf

    Tennis player

    Age51

    BirthplaceMannheim, Germany

    Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɛfiː ˈɡʁaːf]; born 14 June 1969) is a...  more

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  • Ronda Rousey17
    454
    703

    Ronda Rousey

    Mixed Martial Artist, Actor

    Age28

    BirthplaceCalifornia, USA

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

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  • Holly Holm18
    325
    502

    Holly Holm

    Professional Boxer

    Age38

    BirthplaceAlbuquerque, New Mexico

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

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    #388 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#6 of 40 The Best Female Fighters In UFC Right Now

  • Sally McLellan19
    284
    440

    Sally McLellan

    Athlete, Track and field athlete

    Age34

    BirthplacePaddington, Sydney, Australia

    Sally Pearson, OAM (née McLellan; born 19 September 1986) is a retired Australian athlete. She...  more
  • Mae Jemison20
    262
    402

    Mae Jemison

    Professor, Astronaut

    Age63

    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.
  • Queen Máxima of the Netherlands21
    Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (born Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti; 17 May 1971) is an...  more
  • Charlene, Princess of Monaco22
    262
    411

    Charlene, Princess of Monaco

    Crown Princess, Swimmer

    Age42

    BirthplaceBulawayo, Zimbabwe

    Charlene, Princess of Monaco (née Charlene Lynette Wittstock; French: Charlène; born 25...  more
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh23
    175
    272

    AgeDec. at 95 (1906-2001)

    BirthplaceEnglewood, New Jersey, United States of America

    Anne Spencer Lindbergh (née Morrow; June 22, 1906 – February 7, 2001) was an American author...  more
  • Grace VanderWaal24
    Grace Avery VanderWaal (born January 15, 2004) is an American singer-songwriter from Suffern,...  more

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  • Eleanor Roosevelt25
    409
    246

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    Politician, Diplomat

    AgeDec. at 78 (1884-1962)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA

    Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political...  more

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