Feminism
11.0k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 118.2k 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
    4,175
    896

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier

    Age38

    BirthplaceZagreb, Croatia

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

    More Janica Kostelić 

    #1 of 62 The Greatest Alpine Skiers of All Time#1 of 240 The Best Female Athletes of All Time

  • Martina Navratilova2
    356
    533

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player

    Age63

    BirthplacePrague, Czech Republic

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

    More Martina Navratilova 

    #741 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#474 of 568 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

  • Your Own Mom3
    1,397
    306

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • Boudica4
    199
    209

    Boudica

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

    More 

    #801 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#143 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History

  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge5
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a...  more

    More Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge 

    #59 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#17 of 287 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked

  • Chris Evert6
    363
    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

    More Chris Evert 

    #61 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#155 of 182 Celebrities You Feel Like You Know

  • Michelle Obama7
    1,012
    1,551

    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

    More Michelle Obama 

    #12 of 36 The Worst Wax Figures at Madame Tussauds#36 of 88 The Best Female Celebrity Role Models

  • Astrid Benöhr8
    207
    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
    321
    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 

    #14 of 46 The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film#12 of 21 Famous People Who Are Asexual

  • Hanna Reitsch10
    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
  • J. K. Rowling11
    743
    1,143

    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

    More J. K. Rowling 

    J.K. Rowling's Post-Books Reveals About Harry Potter#152 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time

  • Sarah Mayer12
    Sarah Mayer (1896–1957),was an English female judoka. Mayer first trained in judo by Gunji...  more
  • Harriet Tubman13
    594
    898

    Harriet Tubman

    Activist, Writer

    BirthplaceMaryland

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

    More Harriet Tubman 

    17 Things You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubman#102 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • Ellen Ochoa14
    339
    526

    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

    More Ellen Ochoa 

    #41 of 45 The Hottest Lady Astronauts In NASA History#5 of 21 The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Women

  • Ronda Rousey15
    453
    702

    Ronda Rousey

    Mixed Martial Artist, Actor

    Age28

    BirthplaceCalifornia, USA

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

    More Ronda Rousey 

    22 Hardcore Facts About Ronda Rousey#617 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh16
    175
    270

    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
  • Gabrielle Giffords17
    190
    298

    Gabrielle Giffords

    Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's 8th District, Third Woman in Arizona's History to be Elected to the U.S. Congress

    Age50

    BirthplaceTucson, Arizona, United States of America

    Gabrielle Dee Giffords (born June 8, 1970) is an American politician from Arizona and a gun...  more
  • Mae Jemison18
    260
    401

    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.
  • Holly Holm19
    322
    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

    More Holly Holm 

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

  • Sally McLellan20
    283
    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
  • Grace VanderWaal21
    Grace Avery VanderWaal (born January 15, 2004) is an American singer-songwriter from Suffern,...  more

    More Grace VanderWaal 

    #106 of 739 The Best Singers of All Time#53 of 213 The Best Current Female Singers

  • Eleanor Roosevelt22
    409
    243

    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

    More Eleanor Roosevelt 

    What Was Franklin And Eleanor Roosevelt's Relationship Really Like?#98 of 432 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

  • Coco Chanel23
    360
    290

    Coco Chanel

    Fashion designer, Designer

    AgeDec. at 88 (1883-1971)

    BirthplaceSaumur, France

    Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was a French fashion...  more

    More Coco Chanel 

    The Best Coco Chanel Quotes#2 of 69 The Most Influential Fashion Designers Of All Time

  • Grace Hopper24
    190
    143

    Grace Hopper

    Programmer, Mathematician

    AgeDec. at 86 (1906-1992)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (née Murray December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American...  more

    More Grace Hopper 

    #47 of 266 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time#12 of 53 The Most Influential Software Programmers of All Time

  • Jane Austen25
    274
    221

    Jane Austen

    Novelist, Writer

    AgeDec. at 42 (1775-1817)

    BirthplaceSteventon, United Kingdom

    Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for...  more

    More Jane Austen 

    Best Movies and Shows Based on Jane Austen Books#1 of 233 The Best Female Authors of All Time