Hélène Boucher (1908-1934) was a famous French pilot. She set multiple aviation records throughout her career.
She obtained her pilot’s license at 23, and performed acrobatics for flight shows. In 1934, she set the overall record for speed over 1000 km, and various other records for female pilots. She died in an accident at the age of 26.
Dawn Engle (b. 1957) is the executive director and co-founder of the PeaceJam Foundation. This brings together Nobel Peace Prize laureates in order to teach the art of peace to youth around the world.
Even though she has not won a Nobel herself, she has been nominated seventeen times. Since its founding in 1996, more than one million people around the world have participated in the PeaceJam educational programme.
Cher (b. 1946) is an American singer described as “The Goddess of Pop”. She is best known for her unique contralto voice and hits such as “Believe” and “I Got You Babe”.
She is one of the most successful musicians of all time, and currently the only artist to have a no. 1 single on a Billboard chart for every decade from 1960 to 2010. Among her many awards are an Oscar, an Emmy and 3 Golden Globes.
Ruth Ella Moore (1903-1994) was the first African-American woman to obtain a PhD in natural sciences. She achieved this in 1993, with a PhD in Bacteriology.
After graduating from Ohio State University, she started teaching bacteriology at Howard University College of Medicine. Her research focused on gut microbiology, the immunology of dental caries, and the blood types of African-Americans.
Isabella Tod (1836-1896) was a suffragist and activist of Scottish origins. She mainly worked to advance the rights of women in Ireland.
She founded the North of Ireland Women’s Suffrage Society in 1872, and organised the Liberal Women’s Unionist Association. She campaigned extensively to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts, a law that allowed police to arrest and hold women suspected of being prostitutes for months – her organisation won the fight in 1866.
Charlotte Barnum (1860-1934) was a mathematician and women’s rights activist. She was the first woman to obtain a PhD in Mathematics from Yale University.
Even though she was rejected from Johns Hopkins University in 1890 on account of her gender, she persisted until she was allowed to attend lectures. She then moved to Yale, and obtained her PhD in 1935, opening new avenues for future female students. She worked for institutions such as the US Naval Observatory and the US Department of Agriculture.
Joan Benoit (b. 1957) is a marathon runner. She has won several marathons and set world records in the sport.
She won the Boston Marathon twice, and her second time was the fastest ever by an American woman, a record unbroken for 28 years. She won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics on the first occasion that the women’s marathon was introduced at the Games.
Madeleine Albright (b. 1937) is a diplomat and politician. In 1997 she became the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State.
She obtained her PhD from Columbia in 1975. Her first diplomatic posting was in 1993, when she was named US Ambassador to the United Nations. At the time of her appointment as Secretary of State, she became the most powerful woman in US history.