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12 Women Who Had the Courage to Change the World

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Whether or not women are actually the stronger sex is maybe up for debate, but there can be no doubt that the 12 awesome women below used a ton of grit and courage to change the world – not only for themselves, but for all of us who came after them.

#12. Sara Blakely

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The founder of Spanx was listed on Forbes list of most powerful women in 2014.

#11. Laura Bassi

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She was the first woman officially allowed to teach as a university professor (she taught physics).

#10. Nellie Bly

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Nellie was an extraordinarily dedicated reporter who famously got herself committed to a mental hospital in order to write an expose on their inhumane treatment of patients. In her spare time, she traveled around the world in 72 days.

#9. Julie Creffield

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People told Creffield she was too fat to run, and she became a marathon runner, writer, and motivational speaker in response.

#8. Rosa Parks

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The Civil Right’s activist made history after she was arrested refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white passenger.

#7. Sofia Kovalevskaya

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A mathematical genius, she entered into a fake marriage just so she could study abroad at a university.

#6. Smaranda Braescu

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She was a pioneer in aviation and parachuting, and one of the first women in the world to get a license in the latter.

#5. Ruby Bridges

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This little girl changed history when she became the first African-American child to attend an all-white school – guarded by U.S. Marshals, no less.

#4. Kay D’Arcy

D’Arcy worked for decades as a nurse but held onto a dream to try her hand in Hollywood. At 79 years old, she debuted as the main character in Agent 88.

#3. Elizabeth Blackwell

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Blackwell was the first woman in America to receive a medical degree. The story goes that she was admitted as a joke, but she showed her haters wrong. She went on to promote the medical education of other women and is still celebrated by the annual presentation of the Elizabeth Blackwell medal.

#2. Lella Lombardi

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She’s the only woman to have scored points in the Formula One World Championship.

#1. Annie Smith Peck

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A founding member of the American Alpine Club, she climbed mountains until the age of 82. In 1895, she raised eyebrows by posing for photos in her climbing gear – which included wearing pants in public.

Inspired? Do some world-changing of your own today!