American Female Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 
Dian Fossey
(Zoologist, Conservationist)
Dian Fossey
8
Birthdate: January 16, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: December 26, 1985
Zoologist, primatologist, and conservationist Dian Fossey conducted research on mountain gorillas in Rwanda from 1966 until she was murdered in 1985. She was part of the Trimates assigned to study apes by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey. She wrote Gorillas in the Mist, which was later turned into a film.
 2 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
9
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 3 
Margaret Mead
(Cultural Anthropologist)
Margaret Mead
10
Birthdate: December 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Died: November 15, 1978

One of the most celebrated anthropologists to have ever existed, Margaret Mead is remembered for his research on a broad range of topics, such as sexual conventions in Western society. Of her 23 books, the most talked-about was the bestseller Coming of Age in Samoa.

 4 
Ayn Rand
(Writer and Philosopher Known for Her Best-Selling Novels ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’)
Ayn Rand
28
Birthdate: February 2, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 6, 1982

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American philosopher and writer. Apart from publishing two best-selling novels, Ayn Rand is credited with developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Over the years, Ayn Rand has been a major influence among American conservatives and libertarians. Some of the famous personalities influenced by her include Amber Heard, Vince Vaughn, Jimmy Wales, Ayelet Shaked, and Mary Ruwart.

 5 
Madeleine Albright
(64th United States Secretary of State (1997 - 2001))
Madeleine Albright
5
Birthdate: May 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Smíchov, Prague, Czechia
Died: March 23, 2022
Madeleine Albright served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, under Bill Clinton, and was the first woman to hold the post. The Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee also chaired the Albright Stonebridge Group and taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
 6 
Condoleezza Rice
(66th United States Secretary of State (2005-09))
Condoleezza Rice
13
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

 7 
Maya Harris
(American Lawyer, Public Policy Advocate & Sister of 49th Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris)
Maya Harris
8
Birthdate: January 30, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, United States

A lawyer, law professor, political analyst and a civil rights activist, Maya Harris’s list of achievements is huge. One of the youngest in the US to become a law school dean, Maya Harris has worked with Hillary Clinton and her own sister Kamala Harris in their respective presidential campaigns.

 8 
Terri Irwin
(Naturalist Who is The Owner of Australia Zoo in 'Beerwah, Queensland')
Terri Irwin
8
Birthdate: July 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Eugene, Oregon, United States

American–Australian naturalist Terri Irwin is best known as the co-host of The Crocodile Hunter, along with her husband, the late animal expert Steve Irwin. She has also been part of shows such as Croc Files and Crikey! It's the Irwins, and helped in the development of Australia Zoo.

 9 
Susan Sontag
(Writer and Filmmaker, Best Known for her Essay 'Notes on 'Camp')
Susan Sontag
4
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 
 10 
Danica McKellar
(Actress, Mathematician, and Author Known for Her Role as ‘Winnie Cooper’ in the TV Series ‘The Wonder Years’)
Danica McKellar
12
Birthdate: January 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Jolla, California, United States
Danica McKellar is best known as Winnie Cooper from the series The Wonder Years and as the voice of Miss Martian from the animated series Young Justice. She has also starred in many Hallmark movies and written several math books, such as Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math.
 11 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
4
Birthdate: 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States

Lola Van Wagenen is an American historian who is credited with co-founding non-profit educational organizations like Consumer Action Now (CAN) and Clio Visualizing History, Inc. Consumer Action Now went on to establish several environmental education and consumer-oriented programs in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of consumers' buying habits on the environment.

 12 
Veronica Porché Ali
(Muhammad Ali’s Ex-Wife, Psychologist)
Veronica Porché Ali
8
Birthdate: December 16, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
 13 
Gwynne Gilford
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 14 
Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Historian, Writer known for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
12
Birthdate: January 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Doris Kearns Goodwin is an American historian, biographer, and former sports journalist. She is best known for writing presidential biographies, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga. In 1995, she won the Pulitzer Prize for History for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

 15 
Sarah Vowell
(Author of Seven Nonfiction Books on American History and Culture)
Sarah Vowell
5
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States

Bestselling author and essayist Sarah Vowell is known for her expertise in American history and her books such as Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is also a regular on the radio program This American Life and has voiced Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

 16 
Brene Brown
(Researcher Known in Particular for Her Research on Shame, Vulnerability, and Leadership)
Brene Brown
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Apart from being a University of Houston research professor, Brene Brown has also been a successful author of New York Times bestsellers such as Braving the Wilderness, and a podcast host. She also has a lecture featured on Netflix, while her Ted Talk is one of the world’s top-five most-viewed. 

 17 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(Nigerian-American Economist Who Has Served in Several Ministerial Positions in Nigeria)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and political figure. She served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006 before serving as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria from 17 August 2011 to 29 May 2015. Ngozi also served as the Minister of Finance on two separate occasions; from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2015.
 18 
Elinor Ostrom
(Economist, Political scientist, University teacher)
Elinor Ostrom
10
Birthdate: August 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Died: June 12, 2012
 19 
Camille Paglia
(Cultural critic)
Camille Paglia
7
Birthdate: April 2, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Endicott
 20 
Esther Duflo
(American-French Economist)
Esther Duflo
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France

Esther Duflo is a French–American economist. She is credited with co-founding the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global research center that works towards reducing poverty worldwide. In 2019, she shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Michael Kremer and Abhijit Banerjee for their efforts to reduce poverty.

 21 
Christina Hoff Sommers
(Author, Philosopher)
Christina Hoff Sommers
5
Birthdate: September 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Petaluma, California, U.S.
 22 
Anne Applebaum
(Polish-American Journalist and Historian Known for Writing on Former Soviet Union and Its Satellite Countries)
Anne Applebaum
7
Birthdate: July 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Anne Applebaum is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gulag, which described the Soviet concentration camps. The American historian and journalist has worked for The Economist and The Spectator and now writes for The Atlantic. The mother of two now lives in Poland with her politician husband, Radek Sikorski.

 23 
Judy Smith
(Crisis manager)
Judy Smith
5
Birthdate: October 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6
Birthdate: July 3, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut
Died: August 17, 1935

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an American novelist, humanist, poet, and short-story writer. Best remembered as a utopian feminist, Gilman served as an inspiration for several generations of feminists. A National Women's Hall of Fame inductee, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is also remembered for her semi-autobiographical work, The Yellow Wallpaper.

 25 
Frances Perkins
(United States Secretary of Labor (1933-45))
Frances Perkins
4
Birthdate: April 10, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 14, 1965
 26 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)
Ruth Benedict
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 27 
Judith Butler
(Philosopher)
Judith Butler
21
Birthdate: February 24, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
 28 
Carol S. Dweck
(Best Known for Her Work on The 'Mindset' of Psychological Traits)
Carol S. Dweck
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Renowned psychologist Carol S. Dweck has taught at both Columbia and Harvard and is now a professor at Stanford. She is best known for her research on fixed mindset and growth mindset and has also penned popular books such as Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development.

 29 
Mary Ainsworth
(American-Canadian Developmental Psychologist Known for Her Work in the Development of the Attachment Theory)
Mary Ainsworth
5
Birthdate: December 1, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glendale, Ohio, United States
Died: March 21, 1999

American-Canadian developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth is best remembered for her contributions in developing the attachment theory. She devised the Strange situation procedure during the 1970s to observe early emotional connect and relationship between a caregiver and child. She was ranked as the 97th most cited psychologist of the 20th century in a 2002 survey of Review of General Psychology.

 30 
Alva Belmont
(socialite)
Alva Belmont
4
Birthdate: January 17, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: January 26, 1933

Alva Belmont was an American socialite who played a major role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States of America. Remembered for her intelligence, energy, and strong opinions, Belmont is credited with founding the Political Equality League which aimed at promoting suffrage-supporting politicians. Alva Belmont is also credited with co-founding the National Woman's Party in 1916.

 31 
Martha Nussbaum
(Philosopher, Writer, University teacher)
Martha Nussbaum
8
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
 32 
Janet Yellen
(First Woman to Hold the Post of the United States Secretary of the Treasury)
Janet Yellen
13
Birthdate: August 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Economist Janet Yellen has had an illustrious career as an academic and researcher, and has taught at Harvard University and other reputed institutes. After chairing the Federal Reserve for 4 years, she is now the United States Secretary of the Treasury. She is married to Nobel-winning economist George Akerlof.

 33 
Pema Chodron
(American Tibetan Buddhist)
Pema Chodron
6
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Pema Chodron is an American Tibetan Buddhist and an ordained nun. Born as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York, she began studying with Tibetan Buddhist Lama Chime Rinpoche as a young woman. She eventually became a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī. She is the author of several dozen books and audiobooks. She is the principal teacher at Gampo Abbey. 

 34 
Ann Dunham
(American Anthropologist and Mother of Former United States President, Barack Obama)
Ann Dunham
27
Birthdate: November 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: November 7, 1995
Ann Dunham was the mother of former U.S. President Barack Obama. She was an economic anthropologist and worked for the betterment of rural Indonesian women. She had met Barack Obama Sr. while studying at the University of Hawaii. She had worked with USAID, the Ford Foundation, and Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
 35 
Tam O'Shaughnessy
(Tennis player, Writer)
Tam O'Shaughnessy
5
Birthdate: January 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Andreas, California, United States
 36 
Elizabeth Blackburn
(Biological Researcher and Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine)
Elizabeth Blackburn
3
Birthdate: November 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hobart, Australia

Nobel Prize-winning Australian-American biochemist and molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn is best known for co-discovering the enzyme telomerase. She was allegedly removed from the American President's Council on Bioethics over her support for stem cell research, which went against the government. She has honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

 37 
Barbara W. Tuchman
(American Historian and Author)
Barbara W. Tuchman
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1989

Barbara Tuchman was an American author and historian whose best-selling book The Guns of August (1962) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Tuchman won her second Pulitzer Prize for writing a biography of General Joseph Stilwell titled Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1971).

 38 
Amy Cuddy
(Psychologist)
Amy Cuddy
5
Birthdate: June 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Robesonia, Pennsylvania, USA
 39 
Dee Dee Myers
(Political scientist)
Dee Dee Myers
8
Birthdate: September 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: North Kingstown, Rhode Island North Kingstown, Rhode Island, U.S.
 40 
Charlotte Laws
3
Birthdate: May 11, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 41 
Lillian Moller Gilbreth
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: January 2, 1972
 42 
Jill Lepore
(Historian)
Jill Lepore
4
Birthdate: August 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Boylston, Massachusetts, United States

Jill Lepore is an American journalist and historian who is currently teaching American History at Harvard University. She has also been an important contributor to The New Yorker, writing about American history, literature, law, and politics since 2005. Over the years her work has earned her prestigious awards, such as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and American History Book Prize.

 43 
Aviva Chomsky
(Historian, University teacher)
Aviva Chomsky
6
Birthdate: April 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boston

Born to linguists Noam and Carol Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky is equipped with degrees in Spanish and Portuguese and is an expert in labor and social movements. The author of books such as Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, she teaches history and co-ordinates Latin American Studies at the Salem State University.

 44 
Grace Lee Boggs
(Author & Social Activist - Key Figure in the 'Asian American Movement')
Grace Lee Boggs
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 5, 2015
 45 
Heather Cox Richardson
5
Birthdate: 1962 AD
Birthplace: Maine, U.S.

Heather Cox Richardson is an American professor and historian who is currently teaching history at Boston College. She has also taught history at prestigious institutions like the University of Massachusetts Amherst and MIT. Richardson has written many books on politics and history and is credited with founding werehistory.org, which houses short articles.

 46 
Laura Schlessinger
(Psychologist, Radio personality)
Laura Schlessinger
4
Birthdate: January 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 47 
Robin DiAngelo
(Academic)
Robin DiAngelo
6
Birthdate: September 8, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Jose, California,
 48 
Gertrude Himmelfarb
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 2019
 49 
Elizabeth Loftus
(Psychologist, Statistician, University teacher)
Elizabeth Loftus
6
Birthdate: October 16, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles
 50 
Mary Parker Follett
(Social Woker)
Mary Parker Follett
4
Birthdate: September 3, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 18, 1933