10.7k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 118.4k votes 10.7k voters 113.5k 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

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier


    BirthplaceZagreb, Croatia

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

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player


    BirthplacePrague, Czech Republic

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

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    #18 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time#552 of 595 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

  • Your Own Mom3

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • Boudica4


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


    #147 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History#631 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • J. K. Rowling5

    J. K. Rowling

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


    BirthplaceYate, United Kingdom

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

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  • Harriet Tubman6

    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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  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge7
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a... more on Wikipedia

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    #60 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#2 of 30 The Most Stunning Celebrity Wedding Dresses

  • Temple Grandin8

    Temple Grandin

    Animal Expert and Advocate, Bestselling Author


    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at... more on Wikipedia
  • Astrid Benöhr9

    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.

  • Sarah Mayer10
    Sarah Mayer (1896–1957),was an English female judoka. Mayer first trained in judo by Gunji... more on Wikipedia
  • Michelle Obama11

    Michelle Obama

    First Lady of the United States, Lawyer


    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 on Wikipedia
  • Loretta Lynn12

    Loretta Lynn

    Songwriter, Singer-songwriter


    BirthplaceButcher Hollow, Kentucky, United States of America

    Loretta Lynn (née Webb; born April 14, 1932) is an American country music singer-songwriter... more on Wikipedia

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  • Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche13

    AgeDec. at 89 (1846-1935)

    BirthplaceRöcken, Germany

    Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche (10 July 1846 – 8 November 1935) was the sister... more on Wikipedia
  • Susan B. Anthony14

    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
  • Meghan Vogel15

    Meghan Vogel

    A symbol of fair play in sports.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell16

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

  • Vera Lynn17

    Vera Lynn

    Actor, Singer


    BirthplaceEast Ham

    Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (March 20, 1917 - June 18, 2020) was an English singer of... more on Wikipedia
  • Cleopatra18
    Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπᾰ́τρᾱ Φιλοπάτωρ, romanized: Kleopátrā Philopátōr;... more on Wikipedia

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  • Eleanor of Aquitaine19
    Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204) was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Elizabeth Dole20

    Elizabeth Dole



    BirthplaceSalisbury, North Carolina, USA

    Mary Elizabeth "Liddy" Alexander Hanford Dole (born July 29, 1936) is an American politician... more on Wikipedia
  • Michèle Renouf21
    Not to be confused with Susan, Lady Renouf, ex-wife of former Australian Foreign Minister... more on Wikipedia
  • Jennifer Doudna22
    Engineered a simple, inexpensive and broadly effective technology for changing or correcting DNA sequences within cells.
  • Agatha Christie23

    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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  • Rachel Corrie24

    Rachel Corrie

    Peace activist

    AgeDec. at 24 (1979-2003)

    BirthplaceOlympia, Washington

    Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American activist and diarist.... more on Wikipedia
  • Else Christensen25

    Else Christensen

    Handweaver, religious leader

    AgeDec. at 92 (1913-2005)

    BirthplaceEsbjerg, Denmark

    Else Christensen (1913–2005) was a Danish proponent of the modern Pagan new religious... more on Wikipedia