• Scientist Marie Curie discovered radium and polonium while studying in Paris in the late 1800s, which has helped in the fight against cancer. She won the Nobel Prize twice and succeeded her husband as a professor (the first female) at the Sorbonne after his tragic early death. She even worked on the front line during World War I X-raying wounded men alongside her 17-year-old daughter, Irene.

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  • Fed up with their lives as a waitress and a housewife, the title characters of the 1991 film "Thelma and Louise" decide to break free. Teaching us the meaning of female friendship, along with the power of standing up to rape and never giving in, these two are seriously brave women. Plus, the meaning of the name Louise is "famous warrior."

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  • Erin Brockovich inspired women all over the United States—and a film starring Julia Roberts—with her lawsuit battle against PG&E. Winning the largest injury settlement in U.S. history ($333 million) on behalf of the chemically poisoned residents of Hinkley, California—while juggling life as a divorced single mum—takes serious tenacity.

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  • Amelia (meaning "work") Earhart certainly lived up to her name. As the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, she faced typical sexist prejudice in early-1900s America. A fearless tomboy, she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields to inspire her.

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  • Roald Dahl's "Matilda" tells the story of a little girl with genius-level intellect and a huge capacity for love, fairness, and compassion—despite the evil role models in her life and her underprivileged background. What better traits could you want for your girl? What's more, the name itself means "strength, might, and powerful in battle."

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  • Despite her movie-star origins, there's no denying Angelina Jolie has done her fair share to support humanitarian causes. An ambassador and special envoy for the United Nations, she campaigns against sexual violence in war zones, raises awareness of the European refugee crisis, and funds children's centres and schools around the world to help vulnerable children through education.

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  • Originally born Marguerite, Maya Angelou is the celebrated author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (and many more poems and books), which raised awareness of the then-taboo topic of sexual abuse. With more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees in her lifetime, she was also a working single mother, poet, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

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  • Florence Nightingale sparked a worldwide health reform by writing about her experiences treating the wounded during the Crimean War. She also established St. Thomas' Hospital in London and founded the Nightingale Training School for Nurses, paving the way for the future of healthcare. Need another role model for your Florence? How about the talented and globally respected musician Florence Welch?

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  • Seamstress Rosa Parks sparked the American civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955. This act of defiance paved the way for a bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which resulted in the end of bus segregation laws and eventually led to legislation against racism all over the world.

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  • Representing sisterhood (literally) with strength, power, skill, and an unbelievable work ethic, the Williams sisters are role models for women everywhere. Despite coming from an underprivileged background, Venus and Serena have dominated women's tennis for years through sheer hard work—and they've impressed the world with their physical abilities. What's more, they do it in style.

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