9. Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya (phew, long name).
Founder of the oldest still running university. After her dad and her husband ate dirt, instead of sitting around and basking in her enormous wealth, she decided to start the world’s first degree-giving uni.
It’s been running since 800CE.
10. Cleopatra often gets shafted by history, portrayed as a simple femme fatale for the great men of Rome. In truth, Cleopatra was incredibly smart, able to speak nine languages, was the first member of her dynasty to even bother learning Egyptian, and she ruled effectively for 11 years before Augustus annexed Egypt. She was one of the smartest women of her day, and should be appreciated more than as a simple fuck-buddy of Caesar and Antony.
11. Grace O’Malley, also known as Grainne Ni Mhaille. She was an Irish pirate, ruler and all-round badass. Especially cool is when Queen Elizabeth I offered her a handkerchief, which Grainne used and then threw into the fire. I only heard about her recently and she seems amazing in every way.
12. Kathryn Bigelow. She’s the first woman to do a lot of great things in hollywood and film. Still a lot of people don’t mention her in conversations about great Hollywood directors but she most definitely deserves to be in those conversations.