The 8 Real Badass Women From History - INTHEPROF


The 8 Real Badass Women From History

8 Real  Badass Women From History 

It's International Women's Day on 8 March while it's also Women's History Month too


BOUDICCA [Boo-de-ca] In 60AD the lands of Ancient British Queen Boudicca were conquered by the Romans. 
When she opposed their authority, the Romans had her publicly whipped and her daughters raped in front of her. Boudica responded by raising a giant rebel army of over 200,000 warriors. She waged a brutal revenge campaign against the Romans, defeating the Roman ninth Legion and plundering Rome’s three largest British cities. It took an entire three Roman legions to finally put a stop to her quest for vengeance. 

Sources; BBC, Tacitus, Annals of Rome 14.33,, Dio, Live Science. 


NELLIE BLY In 1887 investigative journalist Nellie Bly was locked in an asylum for 10 days, after she courageously feigned insanity to expose the abusive treatment of patients at an infamous New York City mental institution. 
Bly’s documentation of the brutality and neglect that patients were subjected to shocked the American public. It led to a grand jury investigation and an extra 1 million dollars being allocated for the care of the mentally ill in New York. 
As well as her charitable journalism, in 1888 Bly gained infamy for her record-breaking trip around the world in just 72 days, traveling by ship and rail. 

Sources: Brain Pickings, Mental Floss, Nellie Bly Online, Britannica. 


EMMELINE PANKHURST  was a leading British women’s rights activist and suffragette, who was determined to win women the equal right to vote. 
Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903 and, in 1910, she led a march of more than 300 women on parliament. 
She was arrested on numerous occasions and went on hunger strike while imprisoned. Two days after the outbreak of WWI, Pankhurst called for an immediate halt to militant activism, so that women could focus on patriotic activities instead. Following the impressive female contribution to the war effort, the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918, offering the vote to British women over 30. 

Sources: BBC, Biography, History Learning Site, Spartacus Educational, The Week. 


ZINA PORTNOVA After witnessing a Nazi solider physically attack her grandmother, 15-year-old Zina Portnova decided to join the Belarusian resistance movement to fight the German occupation of the USSR. She learned to use weaponry and explosives, helping to destroy an enemy power plant, as well as a water station. Combined with her secret reports on German troop movements, it’s thought the teenager helped to kill over 100 Nazis. 
At one point, she used her position working in a kitchen to poison an entire German garrison. Sadly, Portnova was captured and executed aged just 17. 

Sources: Sakaida, H., Heroines of the Soviet Union 1941-45, 


AMELIA EARHART [Air-heart] In 1932 American aviator Amelia Earhart gained international fame after becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. 
The flight from America to North Ireland, which lasted almost 15 hours, was plagued by strong winds, icy conditions, and mechanical problems. 
Earhart was a prominent advocate of both feminism and the advancement of the aviation industry. 
She served as the first president of The Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots. 
During an attempt in 1937 to fly around the world, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan tragically disappeared while flying over the South Pacific Ocean. It is unknown what exactly went wrong and Earhart’s body was never found.

Sources: History, Americas Library,, 


ANNIE SMITH PECK In an era before oxygen tanks, 19th century mountain climbing was incredibly dangerous. 
This didn’t put Annie Smith Peck off, though. Peck scaled all the major mountains of Europe and then became the first person to scale Peru’s highest peak, Mt. Huascarán. Peck was also a strong advocator of women’s rights, risking arrest for wearing trousers at a time when women were expected to wear long skirts. 
She even hung a ‘Votes for Women’ banner on the summit of several mountains she scaled. Peck continued to mountaineer late into her 80s and wrote four popular books on travel and exploration. 

Sources: Biography, Britannica, Rhode Island College. 


MALALA YOUSAFZAI [You-saff-ziy] Malala Yousafzai began campaigning for girls’ right to education when she was only 11-years-old. She grew up under oppressive Taliban occupation in Pakistan. 
She wrote articles and gave television interviews, using her public platform to speak out for equality. 
In October 2012, when Malala was just 15, a gunman boarded her schoolbus. Having asked for her by name, he shot her three times at close range. Miraculously, Malala survived. 
Her determination grew and today she continues on her mission to provide a voice for the 66 million girls who are deprived of education. Aged 17, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest ever Nobel laureate. 

Sources: Nobel, BBC,, Biography. 


MARIE CURIE Polish-born Marie Curie was a pioneering authority in the study of radioactivity, and a key figure in the discovery of polonium and radium. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and also became the first person ever to win the award twice. 
During the First World War, Curie equipped ambulances with X-ray equipment and fearlessly drove them herself on the front line. 
In 1934 she died of leukemia, brought on by exposure to high-energy radiation during her research. Her selfless work was so dangerous that - even a century later - her notebooks are still too radioactive to handle. 

Sources:, BBC, Biography,, Famous Scientists. 

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