Influential women of history A-Z

Human civilisation has produced countless great, powerful, and influential people, and though most of the famous ones at least are men, more than enough women join their ranks in the history books. On International Women's Day 2017, the women in this quiz demonstrate that gender is no barrier to achieving fame (or infamy) that can endure across centuries or even millennia. Some of them have done great things for humanity, some have held powerful titles and offices, and some have gained great prestige or damning notoriety. For each letter of the alphabet, there is at least one woman who has been influential in history or has left her mark on the world in some form... for better or for worse. How many can you name?
Inspired by the lovely Elan's 'Influential Women by Letter' quiz.
Quiz by HelveticaBold
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Last updated: March 6, 2017
First submittedMarch 6, 2017
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Letter
Hint
Answer
A
First woman in history to be appointed head of state of a nation
Khertek Anchimaa-Toka
B
World class organist and composer, and host of 'The Joy of Music' television programme
Diane Bish
C
Chinese woman, most successful female pirate in history
Ching Shih
D
Founder of the great city state of Carthage
Dido
E
Scientist who developed AIDS medicines and the first immunosupressive drug, azathioprine, used for organ transplants
Gertrude B. Elion
F
First woman to be democratically elected as a president
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
G
Co-discoverer of the enzyme telomerase
Carol W. Greider
H
Saint and founder of Natural History science
Hildegard of Bingen
I
First of only 3 Byzantine Empresses regnant, ended iconoclasm
Irene of Athens
J
The most powerful communist woman in history, spearheaded the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Chairman Mao's personality cult
Jiang Qing
K
The inventor of Kevlar synthetic fibres
Stephanie Kwolek
L
Wife of and adviser to Augstus
Livia
M
First woman to attempt to rule England in her own right, a Holy Roman Empress
Matilda
N
The name a successful Egyptian queen possibly took upon becoming Pharaoh
Neferneferuaten
Letter
Hint
Answer
O
Macedonian Queen, secured succession of her son Alexander the Great
Olympias
P
First woman president in history, deposed and exiled president of Argentina
Isabel Perón
Q
Kurdish rights activist executed for challenging the Ba'ath regime of Iraq and a national Kurdish martyr
Leyla Qasim
R
First queen of Madagascar who viciously fought against colonialism
Ranavalona I
S
First empress of Japan
Suiko
T
Great warrior queen of Georgia
Tamar
U
'Reckless' queen of León, first woman to claim the title 'Empress of All the Spains'
Urraca of León
V
President of Latvia, President of Club of Madrid and special envoy to UN Secretary General
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga
W
The only woman to ever become emperor of China
Wu Zetian
X
Chinese empress of the Sui dynasty
Xiao
Y
Israeli crystallographer who says "There's nothing special about a woman winning the Nobel Prize"
Ada Yonath
Z
Queen of the Palmyrene Empire who took Egypt from the Roman Empire
Zenobia
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