British Female Intellectuals & Academics

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall.
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Famous As: Primatologist
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

Jane Goodall is an English anthropologist and primatologist. Goodall's research proved that chimpanzees could use tools like stalks of grass to fish out termites from termite holes; this also challenged the long-held belief that chimpanzees were vegetarians. Goodall also discovered that chimpanzees are capable of emotions like sorrow and joy. Goodall is also credited with founding the Jane Goodall Institute.

 2 Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale.
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Famous As: Founder of Modern Nursing
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence
Died: August 13, 1910
The Lady with the Lamp Florence Nightingale is remembered for her relentless efforts in nursing soldiers during the Crimean War. She founded London’s St Thomas' Hospital to train nurses. She also pioneered the use of the polar area diagram and was the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society.
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 3 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 10, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, advocate of women's rights, and philosopher. Wollstonecraft, who attracted a lot of attention for her unconventional personal relationships, is widely considered a founding feminist philosopher. Although her unorthodoxy initially attracted criticisms, her advocacy of women's equality became increasingly important during the 20th century. Modern-day feminists cite her works and her life as important influences.

 4 Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley.
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK
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 5 Alice Roberts

Alice Roberts.
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Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: May 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bristol
Biological anthropologist Alice Roberts has taught at the University of Birmingham and led the charity Humanists UK. She gained fame as the presenter of shows such as Dr. Alice Roberts: Don't Die Young and The Incredible Human Journey. She has also authored books such as The Complete Human Body.

 6 Katharine Gun

Katharine Gun
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Taiwan, Taiwan

 7 Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes
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Famous As: historian
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: London
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 8 Mary Beard

Mary Beard
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Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: January 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Much Wenlock, United Kingdom

 9 Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb
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Famous As: historian
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

 10 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

 11 Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein
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Famous As: Psychanalyst
Birthdate: March 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: September 22, 1960

Melanie Klein was an Austrian-British author and psychoanalyst. A key figure in the development of object relations theory, she is best known for her work in child analysis. She began her studies by observing her own children’s behavior while they were growing up. As a woman in a field dominated by men, she was also a feminist icon. 

 12 Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong
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Famous As: Theologian, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: November 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Worcestershire

 13 Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes.
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Famous As: Paleobotanist & Women’s Rights Activists
Birthdate: October 15, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: October 2, 1958

 14 Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville
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Famous As: Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist
Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 15 Emma Georgina Rothschild

Emma Georgina Rothschild
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Famous As: Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist
Birthdate: May 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

Apart from being one of the heiresses of the affluent Rothschild banking family, Emma Georgina Rothschild is also a famous economic historian, a Harvard professor, and a former United Nations Foundation board member. She has also worked at MIT and Cambridge and is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.

 16 Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: October 31, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: August 5, 1983

Post-Keynesian economist Joan Robinson specialized in monetary economics and is remembered for her research and academic activities in India, China, and Korea. Initially a Cambridge lecturer, she later taught at Girton College and became the first woman to be made an honorary fellow of King's College.

 17 Elisabeth Maxwell

Elisabeth Maxwell
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Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: March 11, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: La Grive, France
Died: August 7, 2013

 18 Joy Adamson

Joy Adamson
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Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: January 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Troppau, Austrian Silesia, Austria-Hungary, now Opava, Czech Republic
Died: January 3, 1980

Best known for her iconic book Born Free, which describes her experiences of raising a lion cub named Elsa, Joy Adamson was a noted Austro-Hungarian wildlife conservationist. She excelled in music and medicine in her younger days and later settled in Kenya with her third husband, conservationist George Adamson.

 19 Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Known for her biographies of historical personalities, Antonia Fraser is the widow of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. She is also known as Lady Antonia, for being born to an earl. Her book Marie Antoinette: The Journey was made into a film by Sofia Coppola. She has been made a DBE.

 20 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
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Famous As: Linguist, Journalist, Economist, Historian, Translator, Writer, Sociologist, Essayist, Feminist
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich
Died: June 27, 1876

Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.

 21 Philippa Foot

Philippa Foot
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Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: October 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Owston Ferry
Died: October 3, 2010

Philippa Foot is remembered as a forerunner of what is now known as virtue ethics. Granddaughter of American president Grover Cleveland, Foot laid down the Trolley problem and believed that the morality of any act is related to its rationality. She was also associated with the charitable organization Oxfam.

 22 Mary Douglas

Mary Douglas
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Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: March 25, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sanremo, Italy
Died: May 16, 2007

 23 Laura Mulvey

Laura Mulvey
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Famous As: Art historian, Film director
Birthdate: August 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: England

 24 Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
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Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: September 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bury, England

 25 Mary Leakey

Mary Leakey
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Famous As: Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: February 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 9, 1996

 26 Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
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Famous As: philosopher, scientist, poet, science fiction writer
Birthdate: 1623 AD
Birthplace: Colchester, England
Died: December 15, 1673

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish was an English poet, philosopher, playwright, fiction writer, and scientist. Margaret, who had the audacity to publish her works without using a pen name at a time when female writers remained anonymous, was ahead of her time. Not surprisingly, she was considered eccentric and earned the nickname Mad Madge. Her works gained popularity in the 1980s.

 27 Margaret Murray

Margaret Murray
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Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Egyptologist
Birthdate: July 13, 1863
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: November 13, 1963

 28 G. E. M. Anscombe

G. E. M. Anscombe
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 5, 2001

A prominent figure in the philosophical movement of Analytical Thomism, British analytic philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe is remembered for her writings on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, philosophy of action, and ethics. The term consequentialism was introduced by her in the article Modern Moral Philosophy which has influenced the emergence of contemporary virtue ethics.

 29 Gitta Sereny

Gitta Sereny
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Famous As: Biographer
Birthdate: March 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 14, 2012

Known for her persistent researches on some of history’s most reviled characters, Gitta Sereny was an investigative journalist and author of five biographical works that attempted to make sense of their crimes. Notable among her works are Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth and The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered.  

 30 Alison Weir

Alison Weir
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Famous As: historian, biographer
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth
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 31 Anne Treisman

Anne Treisman
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Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wakefield

 32 Margaret Forster

Margaret Forster
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carlisle, England
Died: February 8, 2016

English author and freelance critic Margaret Forster is best remembered for her bestselling novel Georgy Girl, which was made into a film later. She also penned biographies and contributed to BBC Radio 4 programs. She had also been a Booker Prize judge but mostly remained away from book-signing events.

 33 Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 10, 2016

 34 Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine
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Famous As: Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: April 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: October 25, 2015

 35 Mary Midgley

Mary Midgley
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Famous As: Philosopher, Author, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: September 13, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greater London

Leading British moral philosopher Mary Midgley, described as a fiercely combative philosopher by The Guardian, was known for her work on ethics, science and animal rights. She worked as senior lecturer in philosophy at Newcastle University and penned over 15 books, including Beast and Man, Animals and Why They Matter, Evolution as a Religion and Science as Salvation.   

 36 Brenda Milner

Brenda Milner
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Famous As: Neuroscientist, Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: July 15, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manchester

Considered a pioneer in her field, centenarian neuropsychologist Brenda Milner is known for her immense contribution to clinical neuropsychology. Especially known for her work on memory and cognition, she has contributed immensely to the study of temporal lobe. Her papers on the frontal lobes in problem-solving and the lateralization of hemispheric function in language are also highly regarded by scholars.

 37 Fiona Wood

Fiona Wood
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Famous As: Plastic surgeon, Physician
Birthdate: February 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yorkshire

 38 Mary Astell

Mary Astell
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Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Feminist
Birthdate: November 12, 1666
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: May 11, 1731

 39 Frances Yates

Frances Yates
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: November 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southsea, Hampshire, England
Died: September 29, 1981

 40 Catherine Booth

Catherine Booth
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Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: January 17, 1829
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashbourne, England
Died: October 4, 1890

Owing to a spinal ailment, Catherine Booth remained mostly at home as a child. She later founded The Salvation Army, with her Methodist preacher husband William Booth, thus helping the poor and the needy. She refused to believe women couldn’t preach the gospels and wrote the pamphlet Female Ministry.

 41 Christina Pagel

Christina Pagel
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Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: London, England

 42 Margaret Hassan

Margaret Hassan
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: April 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dalkey
Died: November 8, 2004

 43 Frances Wright

Frances Wright
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Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 6, 1795
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: December 13, 1852

 44 Kathleen Raine

Kathleen Raine
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 14, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ilford, England
Died: July 6, 2003

 45 Noreena Hertz

Noreena Hertz
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Famous As: Economist, Journalist
Birthdate: September 24, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

 46 Dame Kathleen Kenyon

Dame Kathleen Kenyon
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Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: January 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 24, 1978

 47 Lesley Blanch

Lesley Blanch
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 6, 2007

 48 Meave Leakey

Meave Leakey
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Famous As: Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: July 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

 49 Carole Pateman

Carole Pateman
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Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: December 11, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Maresfield, England

 50 Catharine Macaulay

Catharine Macaulay
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 2, 1731
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wye, Kent, England
Died: June 22, 1791