The world is full of inspiring women. Whether it’s on a personal, or on a more global scale, everyone surely has at least one female figure they would consider a hero.
This is what the people of Reddit have been doing after user u/xanthopants asked men who are their female heroes. While some decided to tell stories of women from their lives, many mentioned more global figures, like scientists, political and social activists, artists, and many other well-known people.
Bored Panda has compiled a list of some of the best responses in the thread. Check out the list below, and, hey, while you’re at it, leave a comment and an upvote on the ones you liked the most, and tell us about your female heroes in the comment section below.
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Yosefzai Malala. Had more courage than all the men in her village put together. As a child she stood up to the Taliban, looked one their members straight in the eye and told them they can f!@# right off if they think they can stop women from getting an education. She took an AK-47 round to the face for it and still continues her fight today. That same year Caitlin Jenner was voted woman of the year which still pisses me off.
Hedy Lamarr, she was basically a female Bruce Wayne.
She was a hardcore engineer, scientist, model, actress, linguist, entertainer, and humanitarian.
At the same time as she was one of the highest paid actresses in the world and considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, she was engineering secret ground-breaking tech IN HER TRAILER between scenes.
She invented frequency hopping that was used to target submarines and enforce the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and help prevent Armageddon... it’s also part of how GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi work.
One of the best stories about her is that some rich dude was hitting on her by telling her he could get her on a Concord flight but she turned him down saying “a woman can fly faster without a man dragging her down”... then called the engineers and helped improve the design to make it faster and more stable.
She was a prolific inventor, creating new items like fluorescent pet collars, proximity fuses, food flavorings, and other items until she died in 2000.
Tiny, 5 ft tall, illiterate former slave, who was a spy for the north, worked as a battle strategist, and freed over 300 slaves.
Elizabeth Friedman was a badass mathematical genius who used her code breaking skills to help bring down some of the biggest mobsters in the 1930’s while they were busy running circles around law enforcement. More importantly, she was responsible for breaking up Nazi spy rings in the 1940’s, particularly in South America, and helped turn the tide of major conflicts that very possibly shifted the outcome of World War II.
And she did all of it while being mocked, dismissed, and forced to keep her work secret by order of the government. Nobody knew her contributions in taking down the Nazis until after she died and her work was declassified.
Everyone should know this amazing woman who sought neither accolades nor credit for doing what her male counterparts couldn’t even begin to comprehend.
Sophie Scholl, active member of a non-violent resistance group against Nazi Germany. If I remember correctly, she was executed for distributing pamphlets promoting her cause. She stood up for others even in the face of death. I deeply admire that.
FEARLESSLY diving into the unknown, using the machine her husband had invented, discovering and recording knowledge that benefits us all today...at the cost of her very Life.
The truest type of explorer there is. There should be statues of her at every nuclear facility, hospital and public park for what she has done, and lost, on our behalf.
Constance Tipper. She is an absolute unsung hero in materials science. During WW2 the US began the astonishing all welded 'liberty ship' program which had never been done before to supply the UK with essential supplies. Problem was some of the ships would CATASTROPHICALLY (and at times fatally) break in half out of nowhere (the photos are astonishing)
Many feared it was the welds and almost stopped the program which would have been catastrophic for supplying the UK in need. Tipper managed to prove it was in fact the type of steel they were using was going through a ductile-brittle transition (Below a certain temp the steel was incredibly brittle and in the cold waters of the atlantic combined with the twisting of the waves it would snap ships in two out of nowhere.) The test she developed is to this day known as the "Tipper Test" and still used. Thus her work saved the liberty ship program and kept Britain supplied.
She was also the first full time fellow of the engineering department at Cambridge university. She was the first person to use a scanning electron microscope to study fracture faces, and she delt with and fought through the intense sexism of her being a female engineer. Once invited as the key-note speaker at a dinner for her fantastic work that impressed the Royal Society, but about to attend was disinvited because the society members thought she was a man and got a note basically saying "no women allowed sorry. Here's a box of chocolates instead".
I'll be honest i dont know how a period drama HASN'T been made about her yet. She is an absolute hero in materials science and deserves so much more recognition
Dolly Parton. She's brilliant, brave, determined, and generous. Her charity work is incredible. And she's quite progressive *when that's not her cultural background*--I admire anyone who had to think out their views and go against the grain, much more than someone who has "perfect" politics because those views got approval in their community.
These Lovely Ladies
My mother taught me to give it your all no matter what the circumstances.
My grandmothers taught me that service is the greatest form of love and honor.
My sister taught me how to treat other people the best, even if they don’t always deserve it.
My first boss taught me that true leadership means taking the first step.
My wife taught me that hope is never in vain.
My daughter teaches me life is full of joy if you know where to look.
My life is full of female heroes
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A black bisexual woman in the 1940s and she basically pioneered the way we play the electric guitar today. She inspired Johnny Cash, Elvis and she even put Little Richard on stage for the first time. IMO she deserves to be a household name.
The Night Witches Of The 588th Night Bomber Regimen
The Night Witches of the 588th Night Bomber regiment, absolutly badass, because they were Undetected, Unexpected
An attack technique of the night bombers involved idling the engine near the target and gliding to the bomb-release point, with only wind noise left to reveal their presence. German soldiers likened the sound to broomsticks and named the pilots "Night Witches".
They deserve that name
Eleanor Roosevelt is one. She championed human rights and anti-poverty programs.
She also re-defined the First Lady role from just being the "hostess" to someone who can shape public policy. And her work towards racial equality was very much ahead of her time. She's the best First Lady IMO.
Jacinda Ardern. The Prime Minister of New Zealand
My favorite Jacinda story is that when her daughter was an infant, Jacinda would wheel her down to the waterfront in a stroller at the end of the workday just to talk to other mothers. Seems like no matter what their occupation, mothers like hanging out.
She was the daughter of two very famous authors, married an even more famous poet, and most of her circle was comprised of famous (male) writers like Lord Byron and Leigh Hunt. Despite this, she still held her own and wrote a world-renowned work of literature that is arguably far more influential than anything Percy or Lord Byron. S!@#, the only people who read Byron or Percy Shelley in their entirety are academics like me, but everyone has heard of Frankenstein.
Yelena Malyutina, a WW2 soviet bomber pilot who was hit by shrapnel and still finished the mission and managed to land the bomber and then going under stomach surgery.
The Grandma That Decided To Be A Cop
My late grandmother. At 54 she decided to become a cop because she wanted to help people on a personal level. So she quit her clerical job and trained and trained and eventually joined a PD, where she was shortly fired for refusing to ruin people’s lives over things she didn’t think warranted it (like kids with marijuana and stuff, she would just make people stomp it out on the road or take their paraphernalia) , she would personally drive people released from jail to AA meetings , help them find housing and even put them up for a short time if needed.
She ended up working at a very small PD about an hour from where she originally lived and moved out there and even though she’s been gone for almost 8 years people still know of her out there. A lot of people talk about doing s!@# but she really did it. She was one of the bravest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met and probably ever will meet. She did all this inspite if my grandfather opposing her every step of the way, in fact they never divorced but did ‘separate’ (they’re boomers). She was just a really strong amazing woman.
Yoko Shimomura. The woman is a genius composer who perhaps doesn't get the recognition she's earned because most of her work is for videogames such as Kingdom Hearts, Mario + Luigi and Final Fantasy. I will spend my life studying her work, hoping to preserve even a portion of her style in my own art.
Lucy Lawless is an all around badass. Great in Xena, great in Spartacus, embraced the Xena/Gabrielle shipping and became a pretty outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, and has called Kevin Sorbo out on his bulls!@# quite a few times.
Also she can fly.
Carmen Medina is a former CIA deputy director. However, early on in her career, she caught a lot of flack for suggesting that intelligence should... ya know... be shared among allies, not just silo'd within agencies and never heard from again. The real big scare she made was when she said this could easily exist on the internet in a classified way, ensuring that enemies never saw the intel that Americans had on them.
Upon surviving the heat she got for that, she continued working on it. Lo and behold, 9/11 happens, and a big reason for it is because different intelligence agencies never just put the pieces together that Al Qaeda dudes had snuck into the country and had a plan to kill Americans. The information sharing she had been preaching all along would have saved thousands of people.
Suddenly people were ready to listen to her, and modern national security hasn't been the same since.
Absolutely the most significant mathematical/physics result of all time.
For those who don't know, she proved that symmetries in a system directly mean a derivable conservation law. Conservation of linear momentum? That's a direct result of "here" being the same as "there". Conservation of angular momentum? That's a direct result of facing "this way" being the same as facing "that way". Conservation of energy? That's a result of "this moment in time" being the same as "that moment im time".
Absolutely beautiful and brilliant result.
Manager Of A Charity Shop
The manager I had when I volunteered in a charity shop. I was in a very bad place in my life, and she helped to coax me out of my shell, and build my confidence. And she told customers who were rude to me to f!@# off (I'm a little person, so I tend to attract jerks). She was so classy while not taking anyone's s!@#, and she was unflappable in any situation. I aspire to be like her one day.
I guess 'hero' might be a strong word, but honestly, P!nk. The way she approaches the world, the way she stands up for herself, the way she is raising her daughter... I have always been impressed, and I have always been inspired.
I told my mom of her death and she was quite upset, calling her a "fun, happy... congenial person".
A couple of years before my father's death, he and my mother went to Germany to rent cars to drive on some tracks, including Nürburgring. He very specifically wanted Sabine's taxi service, too, because what better way to learn the best lines on the track than experience them with the master of that track? My father was, um, quite the awkward person in public, but afaik Sabine was enthusiastic to deal with him as a typical race fan/customer and gave him tips for his private run. This was essentially his prime bucket-list thing to do, y'know, to drive The Ring, and Sabine helped make that experience as good as it could be.
I have yet to see anything in German or English that disparages her. She seemed like a super hard-working, skilled, witty, and very, very vast driver on one of the world's trickiest courses. The racing world is a little darker without her.
My mom. Met a Mexican man in Tucson. Had a baby with him. I wasn't even 3 months old and she decided to move to Mexico with my dad so I could be raised with family (hers was really abusive and my dad is one of 12 siblings who all love each other). She moves to Mexico, learns Spanish, and picks up a job teaching English. 10 years go by and now she is the head of the bicultural department in the most prestigious college in the state. The sole breadwinner of our household and somehow still the most involved parent. Tried to move us all to the US when I was 10. My dad was deported the second our plane landed. Mom had to start over in the US while being a single mom. Pulled her s!@# together, worked two jobs. Could afford to send us to Mexico every summer to be with family, saved up for a house, and now works with the head of the health department in our city, all the while raising both of her sons with so much love and patience it's unreal. She is the best role model I've ever had in my life and is such a f!@#$%^ badass. I'm grateful every day that she is my mom.
When we came up from Mexico my parents spent pretty much all they had so going back wasn't an option right away. They were also having marital troubles and basically decided it would be best to end it. Honestly I don't really know many details. I was young and didn't really ask. They get along great and my mom still sent us to Mexico every summer to spend time with family. Everyone on both sides agreed we should stay in the US for the education.
Also, it's 18 years later and we've paid thousands in both lawyer and immigration fees and still haven't been able to bring my dad into the US. The original problem was a misplaced document on my dad's end plus two accounts of clerical error on their end. We had a chance in Tijuana 10 years ago to get dad in and in an effort to be honest, he admitted to Marijuana use as a teenager and that got the whole effort thrown out, and him marked as an addict. The whole thing has been incredibly difficult and expensive but we are closer than we've ever been i think.
Emma Watson, she took her money and fame and has worked as an activist since basically Potter ending and I can say the world is a better place because of it. She could've easily let the fame go to her head but she didn't.
Debby Rihn-Harvey of La Porte Texas. She’s a retired Southwest Airlines captain, longest running member of the US Aerobatic team, has competed in 15 world championships and is on the Board of Directors of the International Aerobatics Club. She’s also been inducted into multiple aviation halls of fame.
More importantly, as an FAA designated examiner, she tested me and granted my private pilot’s license. She’s accomplished, smart as all get out and an all around great person.
She carried the French Army on her massive shoulders to take back the Kingdom and take Orleans back from the Englishmen
Simone Giertz. Her mentality around building s!@#$% things intentionally to make it okay to not always succeed helped me with similar performance anxiety. She's also a very good person.
Ripley from Alien/Aliens. A believable character who acts like a regular person, not full of BS hollywood bravado. When everyone else who are louder and more badass get taken out and she is the only capable person left she rises to the occasion and finds a way to prevail.
Elizabeth Elliot. Her husband was Jim Elliot, a missionary to an unreached people group. Long story short, in 1956 her husband and several of his friends were killed by the Auca tribe. She continued to pursue relationship with the tribe, contacting them and reaching out to them. She loved them. They were in danger of literally killing themselves off because of all the in fighting. Eventually the infighting between tribes ended, and one of the men who killed her husband is good friends with their (now adult) son. Her story has always touched me because it shows the deep love and devotion another person can have for a complete stranger, let alone one who murdered their most beloved person. The whole story is really amazing.
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