March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of the occasion 24/7 Wall St. set out to compile a list of 40 of history’s greatest women. This was no easy task, as there are thousands of potential candidates that deserve to be recognized.
We looked back in history at women from all over the world and from all walks of life. Age is no barrier to achievement either — our list includes two teenagers, Joan of Arc and Anne Frank, and women such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, and Jane Goodall, who are still actively making a difference in their eighties.
We focused on individuals who were not only accomplished in their time but whose influence is felt today. We also considered the obstacles they encountered because of their gender, race, or background, which made their achievements all the more remarkable. We were especially mindful of this issue because of the #MeToo movement, which has shown that despite all the progress women have made, they still face huge challenges solely because of their gender. We also considered women across different eras, geographies, backgrounds, and fields of endeavor.
Our list includes heads of state and government — some were the first women to hold such office — activists and athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs, politicians and pioneers, and even a pirate. We do not claim it is definitive, nor is it exhaustive. Whatever women we may have left out, we are confident that the 40 on our list are truly great.