Feminism
10.4k voters

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

Updated July 9, 2020 116.2k votes 10.4k voters 112.5k 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.

  • 1
    Janica Kostelić
    3,758
    792

    Janica Kostelić

    Alpine skier

    Age38

    BirthplaceZagreb, Croatia

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

    More Janica Kostelić 

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

  • 2
    Your Own Mom
    1,430
    320

    Your Own Mom

    Brag about her. She's great!

  • 3
    Boudica
    202
    132

    Boudica

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

    More 

    #147 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History#177 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

  • 4
    Harriet Tubman
    609
    832

    Harriet Tubman

    Activist, Writer

    BirthplaceMaryland

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

    More Harriet Tubman 

    17 Things You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubman#107 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 5
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a... more on Wikipedia

    More Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge 

    A Day In The Life Of William And Kate#60 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

  • 6
    Susan B. Anthony
    269
    332

    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
  • 7
    Holly Holm
    274
    371

    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 on Wikipedia

    More Holly Holm 

    #410 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time#6 of 40 The Best Female Fighters In UFC Right Now

  • 8
    Sally McLellan
    239
    322

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Serena Williams
    682
    964

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Michelle Obama
    1,026
    1,443

    Michelle Obama

    First Lady of the United States, Lawyer

    Age56

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

    Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (née Robinson; born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer,... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Elizabeth I of England
    201
    256

    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

    More Elizabeth I of England 

    The Actual Reasons Queen Elizabeth I Never MarriedQueen Elizabeth I's Personal Life Was So Intense It Nearly Split An Entire Continent In Half

  • 12
    Sarah Mayer
    Sarah Mayer (1896–1957),was an English female judoka. Mayer first trained in judo by Gunji... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Ronda Rousey
    409
    561

    Ronda Rousey

    Mixed Martial Artist, Actor

    Age33

    BirthplaceUSA, California

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

    More Ronda Rousey 

    22 Hardcore Facts About Ronda Rousey#574 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 14
    Astrid Benöhr
    195
    263

    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.

  • 15
    Martina Navratilova
    350
    495

    Martina Navratilova

    Tennis player

    Age63

    BirthplacePrague, Czech Republic

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

    More Martina Navratilova 

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

  • 16
    Steffi Graf
    478
    677

    Steffi Graf

    Tennis player

    Age51

    BirthplaceMannheim, Germany

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

    More Steffi Graf 

    #523 of 670 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes#58 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • 17
    Sally Ride
    375
    526

    Sally Ride

    Physicist, Astronaut

    AgeDec. at 61 (1951-2012)

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    First American female astronaut.

    More Sally Ride 

    #11 of 24 Famous American Women Who Deserve Their Faces On Money#6 of 19 The Greatest Renaissance Women in American History

  • 18
    Agatha Christie
    237
    320

    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

    More Agatha Christie 

    The Best Agatha Christie Books of All TimeThe Best Miss Marple Books

  • 19
    Ellen Ochoa
    342
    476

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Sappho
    145
    195

    Sappho

    Lyric poet

    AgeDec. at 55 (624 BC-569 BC)

    BirthplaceLesbos, Greece

    Sappho (; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psáppho; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Edith Cavell
    173
    234

    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
  • 22
    Susan Wojcicki
    152
    202

    Susan Wojcicki

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

    Age52

    BirthplaceCalifornia

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

    More Susan Wojcicki 

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

  • 23
    Mae Jemison
    258
    352

    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.

    More Mae Jemison 

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

  • 24
    Elizabeth Blackwell
    123
    164

    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
  • 25
    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

    AgeDec. at 65 (1929-1994)

    BirthplaceSouthampton, New York, United States of America

    Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier ; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was First Lady of... more on Wikipedia

    More Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 

    Jackie Kennedy's Cousins Went From Wealth To Squalor In The Biggest Fall From Grace EverJFK's Family Is Infamously Cursed, But Jackie Kennedy Married Into An Even More Tragic One