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A Few Incredible Women Who Shaped Our World As We Know It

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Too often, women get relegated to the footnotes of history, and their contributions to the world are forgotten, diminished, or even denied. And that”s not cool. The world as we know it was shaped by thousands of brave, smart and plucky ladies, who fought in wars, invented things, created art and basically kicked butt, but it still seems like they get glossed over in history books. It”s time to show them some love.

Maud Wagner

Maud Wagner

If you think ladies with tattoos is a new phenomenon, check out Maud Wagner. Wagner was a circus performer and the first female tattoo artist. She learned the skill from her husband, Gus, in 1904. Despite the tattoo machine being invented, she preferred the “hand-poke” technique. She also taught her daughter, Lovetta, to tattoo at the age of nine.

Annette Kellerman

Annette Kellerman

Annette Kellerman was a professional swimmer, vaudeville star, actress, and writer from Australia. She”s credited with inventing synchronized swimming. She”s also famous for the bathing suit (yes, that”s a bathing suit) shown in the photo. It was considered “indecent,” and Kellerman was arrested, but the garment changed women”s swimwear forever.

Komako Kimura

Komako Kimura

Komako Kimura was a prominent figure in the suffrage movement. She”s seen here at a march for women”s right to vote in New York City in 1917.

Sarla Thakral

Sarla Thakral

Sarla Thakral was the first female pilot in India. She got her aviation license at the age of 21. Later, she would go on to become a successful businesswoman.

Sabiha Gokcen

Sabiha Gokcen

Sabiha Gokcen was a Turkish aviator and is credited with being the first female fighter pilot at the age of 23.

Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White was a photographer known best for being the first foreigner permitted to photograph Soviet industry. She also photographed American industry and worked commercially, and was a photojournalist. In this photo, she”s atop the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Simone Segouin

Simone Segouin

Simone Segouin was a French resistance fighter during WWII. She managed to capture 25 Nazis in the Chartres area and killed several others, all before her 20th birthday.

Nieves Fernandez

Nieves Fernandez

Captain Nieves Fernandez is the only known female guerilla leader in the Philippines. In this photo, she”s demonstrating to an American soldier how she would kill Japanese soldiers. She and her band of 110 Filipino fighters killed about 200 enemy soldiers.

Annie Lumpkins

Annie Lumpkins

Annie Lumpkins was one of the Freedom Riders of the early 1960s, who traveled through the South, risking extreme violence by the KKK and law enforcement, to promote civil rights and racial equality. Lumpkins was arrested for sitting in a “whites only” section. She”s pictured here in the Little Rock city jail in 1961.

Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer

Women were barred from running in the Boston marathon until 1972, but Kathrine Switzer ran it in 1967 anyway. The race official, shown here, attempted to physically oust her from the race, but Switzer escaped him and completed the marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Though this photo became famous, another woman, Bobbi Gibb actually ran in the marathon before Switzer.

Ellen O”Neal

Ellen O

Ellen O”Neal was one of the first female professional skateboarders in the late 1970s. She helped bring the sport of skating into the mainstream, and looked really cool while doing it.

Elspeth Beard

Elspeth Beard

Elspeth Beard was only 24 when she set out to circumnavigate the globe by motorcycle in 1980. The journey was harrowing, causing Beard to lose about 50 pounds and have several accidents and illnesses, but she made it. After the trip, she became an architect.

Anna Fisher

Anna Fisher

Anna Fisher is credited as “the first mother in space” in 1984. Today, she is the oldest active astronaut at NASA.

While we remember these women”s names, there are plenty of other gals whose identities are lost to us, but who deserve love all the same.

Japan”s samurai are always thought of as male, but it”s time for the onna-bugeisha to get some love. These upper-class women answered the call of battle beginning in the early Middle Ages. The women fought in wars and were skilled with weapons. However, during the Edo period, the female warriors declined.

A suffrage activist in 1917, after the “Night of Terror,” in which 33 suffrage activists had been arrested and badly beaten by police.

Some of the first women to be sworn into the U.S. Marine Corps, in 1918.

Women boxing on a rooftop in Los Angeles in the 1930s.

The Soviet army was famous for its talented female snipers in WWII. These women are part of the 3rd Shock Army. Unfortunately, many of them were never given the honor they deserved as veterans, because of their sex.

This 15-year-old girl, known only as Erika, partook in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a national revolt against Soviet control.

Nurses arrive on the beaches of Normandy, D-Day.

Women training as firefighters during WWII in Pearl Harbor.

Not having time for his crap, woman in Sweden hits a neo-Nazi with her handbag in 1985. It was rumored, but never proven, that the woman was a concentration camp survivor.

Despite being 106 years old, this Armenian woman is prepared to defend her home–with an AK-47.

So let”s hear it for the soldiers, the athletes, the scientists, the artists, and the pioneers who make up half the population!

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