Before Suffragette arrives in UK cinemas on Monday 12 October, Karen Krizanovich looks back at some of the most inspirational women in history

From the first female Olympian to the lady who broke the sound barrier, history has seen some truly remarkable women.

Ghazou became ruler of China (195BC)

Juliana Morell earned a doctorate (1608)

Laura Bassi taught at a European university (1732)

Laura Bassi Credit: © INTERFOTO/Alamy Stock Photo

Nellie Bly frontline war reporter (1885)

Charlotte Cooper won an Olympic gold medal (1900)

Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics (1903). She also won the chemistry prize (1911)

Raymonde de Laroche received a pilot’s licence (1910)

Countess Constance Markiewicz was elected to the Commons (1918)

Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1921)

Edith Wharton Credit: Classic Image

Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel (1926)

Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean (1928)

Josephine Baker became the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture (1934)

Muriel Box won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, for The Seventh Veil (1946); Bodil Ipsen won the Palme d'Or, for The Red Meadows, the same year.

Muriel Box

Jacqueline Cochran broke the sound barrier, flying a Canadair Sabre jet (1953)

Elizabeth Cowell became a BBC television announcer (1963)

Valentina Tereshkova went into space (1963)

Valentina Tereshkova Credit: © RIA Novosti

Junko Tabei reached the summit of Everest (1975)

Margaret Thatcher became British Prime Minister (1979)

Barbra Streisand won a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, for Yentl (1984)

Aretha Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987)

Benazir Bhutto became prime minister of a Muslim state, Pakistan (1988)

Benazir Bhutto Credit: Robert Nickelsberg

Kay Cottee sailed around the globe single-handedly (1988)

Madeleine Albright became US Secretary of State (1996)

JK Rowling became a billionaire as a novelist (2004)

Dame Carol Ann Duffy became UK Poet Laureate (2009)

Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director (2010)

Amy Fearn became a Football League referee (2010)

Amy Fearn Credit: Pete Norton

Christine Lagarde became managing director of the International Monetary Fund (2011)

Judith Weir became Master of the Queen's Music (2014)

Laura Kuenssberg became BBC political editor (2015)

Hillary Clinton became the first former First Lady to run for the US presidency (2015)

But so far, there has not been a female...

US president

Chief justice of the US Supreme Court

UN secretary-general

Head of a major investment bank

On the Moon

Dalai Lama

Editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal or Financial Times

Director-general of the BBC

Minion in the Minions movie (because co-director Pierre Coffin says: “Seeing how dumb and stupid they often are, I just couldn’t imagine Minions being girls.”)

Allowed on Mount Omine in Japan

Allowed to be a member of the Garrick Club in London

Suffragette is released in UK cinemas on Monday 12 October. Find out more at the Suffragette Facebook page and the official Suffragette website.


The #InspiringWomen Gallery celebrates the women that inspire you.

The Suffragettes, Rosa Parks and Emma Watson are all inspirational women who have stood up for what they believe in. Whether it’s a celebrity, an activist, a teacher or a family member, who are the women that inspire you?

Upload an image of your inspiring woman to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hash tags #InspiringWomen and #Suffragette and your inspiring woman will be celebrated in the #InspiringWomen gallery on the official Suffragette website.