British Female Intellectuals & Academics

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Vote for Your Favourite British Female Intellectuals & Academics

 1 
Jane Goodall
(Primatologist)

Jane Goodall
8
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hampstead, 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
(Social Reformer & Founder of Modern Nursing and Known as 'The Lady with the Lamp')

Florence Nightingale
6
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
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.

 3 

Mary Wollstonecraft
4
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
(Historian)

Lucy Worsley
5
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK

British historian and author Lucy Worsley is not just a curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces, but is also a famed TV presenter, popular for her work on series such as A Very British Murder and If Walls Could Talk. Suffering from a speech disorder, she pronounces “r” in a peculiar way.

 5 
Anna Freud
(Psychoanalyst)

Anna Freud
5
Birthdate: December 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 9, 1982

Anna Freud was a British psychoanalyst. The daughter of Sigmund Freud, Anna followed in the footsteps of her father and made important contributions to the field of psychoanalysis. Alongside Melanie Klein and Hermine Hug-Hellmuth, Anna Freud is counted among the founders of psychoanalytic child psychology. Her work and contributions were featured in a documentary titled The Century of the Self.

 6 
Alice Roberts
(Anthropologist)

Alice Roberts
6
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.

 7 
Katharine Gun
(Linguist)

Katharine Gun
8
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Taiwan, Taiwan
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 8 
Mary Beard
(Professor)

Mary Beard
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Much Wenlock, United Kingdom

Known as the most famous classicist in the world, Mary Beard is a Cambridge professor who is also quite popular for her controversial blog A Don's Life. A DBE and OBE, she also contributes to BBC radio and TV shows and has been an editor for The Times Literary Supplement.

 9 
Iris Murdoch
(Novelist)

Iris Murdoch
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

One of the most popular Irish-born British novelists, Iris Murdoch is remembered for her psychological novels, which had a good dose of sexuality, philosophy, morality, and comic elements. While she won the Booker Prize for The Sea, the Sea, the Oxford alumnus had also worked for the HM Treasury and the UN.

 10 

Suzannah Lipscomb
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

Apart from being a historian and an award-winning professor, Suzannah Lipscomb is also a popular author and broadcaster. Known for presenting documentary series such as Walking Tudor England and Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, she also pens columns for History Today and other publications and is a public speaker, too.

 11 
Harriet Martineau
(First female sociologist)

Harriet Martineau
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England
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.

 12 
Cherie Blair
(Barrister)

Cherie Blair
8
Birthdate: September 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bury, England

Apart from being the wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Cherie Blair is also a successful attorney in her own right. The daughter of actor Tony Booth, she is has also taught at the University of Westminster. She is associated with charitable campaigns on breast cancer and other causes, too.

 13 
Bettany Hughes
(Historian)

Bettany Hughes
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1954, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

The daughter of English actor Peter Hughes, art historian Bettany Hughes is also a popular TV personality and an author. Best known for presenting and writing documentaries and shows such as Ancient Discoveries and The Spartans, she also supports The Iris Project, which promotes Latin and Greek languages.

 14 
Marie Stopes
(Paleobotanist & Women’s Rights Activists)

Marie Stopes
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: October 2, 1958

Apart from being a successful botanist, Marie Stopes was also a popular activist, known for her contribution to the feminist cause. A leading supporter of birth control, she established the UK’s first clinic for family planning. She was also known for her books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.

 15 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)

Mary Somerville
4
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.

 16 
Elisabeth Maxwell
(Researcher)

Elisabeth Maxwell
4
Birthdate: March 11, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: La Grive, France
Died: August 7, 2013

 17 
Joy Adamson
(Naturalist)

Joy Adamson
3
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.

 18 
Joan Robinson
(Economist)

Joan Robinson
3
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.

 19 
Karen Armstrong
(Theologian, Writer, University teacher)

Karen Armstrong
5
Birthdate: November 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Worcestershire

Karen Armstrong is a British commentator and author best known for writing books on comparative religion. Her work emphasizes the commonalities of major world religions like the Golden Rule and the importance of compassion. Karen Armstrong has received several prestigious awards, such as the Freedom of Worship Award and the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

 20 
Emma Georgina Rothschild
(Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist)

Emma Georgina Rothschild
3
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.

 21 
Philippa Foot
(Philosopher, University teacher)

Philippa Foot
3
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
(Anthropologist)

Mary Douglas
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sanremo, Italy
Died: May 16, 2007

Best known for her book Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas specialized in human culture and comparative religion. Initially employed with the British Colonial Office, she later worked with the matrilineal community of the Lele people of Kasai. She was known to be a devout Catholic.

 23 
Laura Mulvey
(Art historian, Film director)

Laura Mulvey
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: England

 24 
Melanie Klein
(Psychanalyst)

Melanie Klein
3
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. 

 25 
Mary Leakey
(Paleoanthropologist)

Mary Leakey
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 9, 1996

British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey had exhibited her interest in drawing and archaeology as a kid. Most of her career was spent working alongside her husband, Louis Leakey. She was in charge of many excavation projects in Kenya. Her discoveries include the first Proconsul skull fossil and 15 new animal species.

 26 
Margaret Murray
(Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Egyptologist)

Margaret Murray
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1863
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: November 13, 1963

British Egyptologist and anthropologist Margaret Murray was also a scholar of witchcraft. Her best-known work is her 1921 book The Witch Cult in Western Europe, which inspired later witchcraft scholars such as Gerald B. Gardner. The University College London professor had worked in places such as Egypt, Malta, and Petra.

 27 
Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
(philosopher, scientist, poet, science fiction writer)

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
3
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.

 28 
Gitta Sereny
(Biographer and Investigative Journalist Known for Her Interviews and Profiles of Infamous Figures, Including 'Mary Bell')

Gitta Sereny
3
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.  

 29 
Alison Weir
(historian, biographer)

Alison Weir
3
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth

 30 

Margaret Forster
3
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.

 31 
G. E. M. Anscombe
(Philosopher)

G. E. M. Anscombe
3
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.

 32 
Mary Midgley
(Philosopher, Author, University teacher, Writer)

Mary Midgley
3
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.   

 33 
Lisa Jardine
(Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer)

Lisa Jardine
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: October 25, 2015

 34 
Anne Treisman
(Psychologist, University teacher)

Anne Treisman
3
Birthdate: February 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wakefield

 35 
Brenda Milner
(Neuroscientist, Psychologist, University teacher)

Brenda Milner
3
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.

 36 
Christina Pagel
(Researcher)

Christina Pagel
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: London, England

 37 

Anita Brookner
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 10, 2016

 38 
Frances Yates
(Historian)

Frances Yates
2
Birthdate: November 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southsea, Hampshire, England
Died: September 29, 1981

 39 
Mary Astell
(Writer, Philosopher, Feminist)

Mary Astell
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1666
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: May 11, 1731

 40 
Frances Wright
(Writer, Philosopher)

Frances Wright
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1795
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: December 13, 1852

 41 
Doreen Massey
(Scientist)

Doreen Massey
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 11, 2016

Doreen Massey was a British geographer and social scientist. A multi-talented personality, Massey specialized in feminist geography, Marxist geography, and cultural geography among several other topics. For many years, she served at the UK's Open University as a professor of Geography. Over the course of her career, Doreen Massey was honored with many prestigious awards like the Presidential Achievement Award.

 42 

Miatta Fahnbulleh
0
Birthdate: November 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liberia

 43 
Noreena Hertz
(Economist, Journalist)

Noreena Hertz
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

English academic, economist, author and broadcaster Noreena Hertz serves as Economics Editor of ITV News, chief Europe correspondent of Sirius XM and Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity. She hosts the MegaHertz: London Calling show on Sirius XM Insight channel. She launched the Mayday for Nurses campaign and penned books like The Silent Takeover and Generation K.

 44 

Lesley Blanch
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 6, 2007

 45 
Dame Kathleen Kenyon
(Archaeologist)

Dame Kathleen Kenyon
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 24, 1978

 46 
Meave Leakey
(Paleoanthropologist)

Meave Leakey
2
Birthdate: July 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

British paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey discovered a new branch of the human species, the Kenyanthropus platyops, or the flat-faced man of Kenya. Initially a zoologist in Nairobi, she studied modern monkeys as part of her doctoral research. She is the first Kenyan to be a National Academy of Sciences member.

 47 

Charlotte Mary Yonge
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1823
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Otterbourne, Hampshire, England
Died: May 24, 1901

 48 
Dorothy Garrod
(Archaeologist)

Dorothy Garrod
2
Birthdate: May 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 18, 1968

 49 

Kathleen Raine
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ilford, England
Died: July 6, 2003

 50 
Claire Barratt
(Archaeologist, Mechanical Engineer)

Claire Barratt
0
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: England

While she initially studied engineering, Claire Barratt later gained fame as an industrial archaeologist. She has a degree in conservation of industrial heritage. She also has a parallel career as a TV presenter and has been part of shows such as Salvage Squad and Britain's Secret Treasures.