21 Famous Women of World History


Joshua J. Mark
published on 22 March 2024

This collection presents biographies of 21 famous women from world history but those included represent only a small fraction of the many women, from ancient times to the present, who have made a lasting impression on the people of their time and altered the course of their nation’s narrative.

There are many notable women omitted from this collection such as Cynisca of Sparta, the first female Olympic champion, and Pherenike the Female Olympic Trainer. Hipparchia of Maroneia, the Cynic philosopher, Aspasia of Miletus, Gorgo of Sparta, Cynane, the half-sister of Alexander the Great, and a host of other impressive women deserve mention. The following, therefore, are understood as representatives of the many women throughout history who chose to chart their own course in life.

Articles & Definitions


Questions & Answers

Who are some of the most famous women in world history?

There are many famous women in world history but, among them, are Hatshepsut, Queen Himiko, Boudicca, Kahina, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Elizabeth I, Pocahontas, and renegades like Ann Bonny and Mary Read.

Was Mulan a real person?

No. Mulan is a legendary character from the Chinese Northern Wei Period (386-535 CE).

Is Telesilla of Argos a real historical figure?

Yes. She was a poet of distinction before her famous defense of Argos against the Spartans.

Who is the most famous woman in world history?

The most famous woman in world history is probably the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, honored by Christians and Muslims, although some would argue against her historicity.

About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

Free for the World, Supported by You

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member