10 Badass Women from Herstory
Walking the path to freedom can be a difficult journey. There are many obstacles to overcome both inside and outside of ourselves. We want to remind you that there are many badass women who have walked this path before you! Here are some of our favorites badass women from history herstory.
10. Maya Angelou
Writer. Actress. Professor. Civil Rights Activist. Throughout her life, Maya Angelou moved past discrimination and racial prejudices to become one of the most recognized faces of activism, performance, and authorship of her generation. She rose to prominence at the age of 17 with the publication of her world-renowned memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. This work became the first non-fiction bestseller written by an African-American woman, and sparked her career as a writer and performer. Angelou performed with James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and Lou Gossett Jr. during her career, and her work on Georgia, Georgia, Look Away, and Roots won countless awards and accolades. She spoke at former president Bill Clinton’s inauguration where she recited “On the Pulse of the Morning”, one of her most famous pieces. Her legacy and work stands as a testament for the presence and power she held.
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9. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most famous first-ladies of the United States due to her status as an activist and a diplomat. When she was 15 years old, she attended Allenwood Academy and met Marie Souvestre, who deeply influenced her feminist paradigm. After marrying Franklin D. Roosevelt, she sought fulfillment through her public presence by encouraging her husband to run for governor and spoke for him on his behalf. Throughout her career, Eleanor was seen as controversial because of her outspoken nature, decisions to publicly disagree with her husband’s policies, and strong stance on racial discrimination. After her death, Eleanor was regarded “the object of almost universal respect”.
Photo credit: Library of Congress
8. Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi is an opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy from Burma. Taking influence from Mahatma Gandhi, Aung focused on the path of non-violence in her political career. During the late 1980s, an uprising calling for a democratic government occurred, and she was placed under house arrest. Even though she was offered freedom if she left Burma, Aung refused. During her arrest, she began to focus on Buddhist meditation and emphasized love and compassion in her writings. Aung was under house arrest for 15 years, and was not released until November 2010. She has since stated her intent for running for president in 2015, pending approval from at least one military leader. In 2014, Forbes Magazine named her one of the most influential women in the world.
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7. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was an extraordinary woman during the American Civil War. Harriet was born into slavery in 1822, and escaped from Maryland to Philadelphia at the age of 27. After her personal escape, she returned to the plantation and rescued her family, and continued to return for the other slaves. She would travel by night along the Underground Railroad, and never lost a passenger on her countless journeys. Despite warrants for her capture, Harriet persevered and helped newly freed slaves find work in Canada. Once the American Civil War began, she quickly joined the Union Army efforts. She started as a nurse and cook, but soon after became a spy and armed scout. Harriet was the first woman to lead an armed expedition: the raid on Combahee River where 700 slaves were freed. After the war, she became an activist in the suffragist movement until the end of her life. Her strength and courage made her an icon of American freedom.
Photo credit: Library of Congress
6. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was a hero to France and an extraordinary woman. Joan was born to a family of peasants in northern France and from an early age, she received visions of Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret, and Archangel Michael. Her visions spoke and encouraged her to support King Charles VII’s attempts to recover France. She was sent into battle and rose to prominence once the siege of Orleans was lifted after nine days. When she was 18 years old, she was captured by the English. She was tried, found guilty, and burned at the stake. After her death, she was declared a savior of France, and a martyr. She was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint in 1920.
Image Credit: Jehane la Pucelle
Boudicca was a Celtic Queen of the Iceni tribe during the Roman rule in Britain. Her husband, Prasutagus, divided his territory between his daughters and Nero, the emperor of Rome. However, after his death, Roman officials claimed the entirety of his estate. Boudicca fiercely objected and she was flogged and her daughters were raped as punishment. Boudicca quickly rallied support from her tribe and led a revolt against the Roman presence in Britain. She left three major cities in ruins and over 80,000 Roman citizens were killed. Despite her later defeat, Boudicca still stands as a testament to the valor and strength that women possess.
Image credit: John Opie
4. Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe’s work as an artist is undeniably remarkable, and her talent changed the face of American art. After sending her sketches to Alfred Stieglitz, her work was regarded as the “purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered” his gallery “in a long while”. After several years of correspondence, O’Keeffe moved to New York to pursue her career, and her love for Stieglitz. She continued to create her flower canvases and southwestern landscapes, and her husband proudly showcased her finest work. After Stieglitz passed away, she moved to New Mexico where the landscape inspired some of her most influential work, such as Black Cross, New Mexico (1929). After her death, O’Keeffe was regarded as the mother of American modernism.
Photo credit: Alfred Stieglitz
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt. As with Egyptian custom, Cleopatra gained sole leadership as the pharaoh during her rule. As the Roman Republic began to transition to an Empire, she gained the favor of Julius Caesar. Their illustrious relationship solidified Cleopatra’s standing: Caesar chose to alter his plan of annexing Egypt to instead supporting Cleopatra’s claim as ruler. She elevated her and Caesar’s son to co-ruler, showcasing the joint power of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the powerhouses of Rome. After Caesar was assassinated, Cleopatra aligned herself with Mark Antony, another prominent leader of Rome and close ally to Caesar. Although she and Antony were defeated, she still stands as a testament to the power that women have held throughout time.
Photo credit: www.genius.com
2. Mother Teresa
Mother Theresa Was a world famous member of the Roman Catholic Church. She spent much of her time in India as a sister and missionary. Mother Theresa was given many honors and awards throughout her life, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She was beatified in 2003 as the “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. She worked to create the Missionaries of Charity which consists of 4,500 sisters and is active in over 130 countries. Despite the controversy she faced throughout her life, the dedication she showcased for her charitable actions is inspirational.
Photo Credit:V. Raju
You are a badass woman! There is no one else like you in the world. Love yourself for simply being who you are. There is nothing more rewarding than finding your inner truth and expressing it in the world through your actions, words, and being. If you are holding back on yourself, give yourself permission to walk the path to freedom! Only you hold the key to this sacred journey. Find inspiration from the women who have walked the path before you and know that their strength also resides in you.
Tell us who your favorite badass women from herstory are! Comment below.