Women Educators

Throughout history, there have been many women educators who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great female educators such as Maria Montessori, Anne Sullivan, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Mary Lyon, Abigail Fillmore.The women educators featured in this list are from United States, United Kingdom, Canada & Australia and many more countries.

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

Vote for Your Favourite Women Educators

 1 
Savitribai Phule
(Social Reformer, Poet)

Savitribai Phule
8
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

 2 
Anne Sullivan
(Educator)

Anne Sullivan
9
Birthdate: April 14, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Agawam, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 20, 1936

 3 
Maria Montessori
(Founder of the Montessori method of education)

Maria Montessori
9
Birthdate: August 1, 1870
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chiaravalle, Italy
Died: April 30, 1952

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator and physician best known for developing the Montessori method of education, a student-friendly method, which is being used in several public and private schools around the world. In 2020, she was nominated by Time magazine as one of their Top 100 Women of the year.

 4 
Helen Keller
(Author, First Deafblind Person to Earn a B.A. Degree)

Helen Keller
21
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

 5 
Brigitte Macron
(Spouse of the President of France (Since 2017))

Brigitte Macron
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amiens, France

Wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron was, interestingly, her husband’s literature and theater teacher at Lycée la Providence. She was the chief strategist during Macron’s 2016-2017 election. Twenty-four years Macron’s senior, Brigitte, was to be the official “First Lady” of France, until a signature campaign thwarted such plans. 

 6 
Margaret Sanger
(Birth Control Activist Who Opened the First Birth Control Clinic in the United States)

Margaret Sanger
4
Birthdate: September 14, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corning, New York, United States
Died: September 6, 1966

Margaret Sanger was an American writer and sex educator. She is credited with popularizing the term birth control. A birth control activist, Sanger established the first birth control clinic in America. She also set up organizations that later became the well-known non-profit organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also played a key role in legalizing contraception in the US.

 7 
Christa McAuliffe
(Former Astronaut who was chosen for the STS-51-L mission from among 11,000 applications)

Christa McAuliffe
4
Birthdate: September 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 28, 1986

Christa McAuliffe was an American astronaut and teacher who died while serving as a payload specialist on board Space Shuttle Challenger, which exploded during STS-51-L. McAuliffe was all set to become the first teacher in space as she was part of the NASA Teacher in Space Project. In 2004, she was posthumously honored with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

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 8 
Sonya Curry
(Dell Curry's Wife)

Sonya Curry
6
Birthdate: May 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radford, Virginia, United States

The wife of NBA star Dell Curry and the mother of basketball players Seth and Stephen Curry, Sonya Curry grew up amid poverty and often had racist encounters with the Ku Klux Klan. Once a star volleyball player at Virginia Tech, she now heads the Christian Montessori School founded by her.

 9 
Katie Porter
(Politician)

Katie Porter
7
Birthdate: January 3, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.

Currently a member of the House of Representative from the 45th Congressional District in Orange County, California, American politician Katie Porter practiced law before taking up teaching as her full time profession. Eventually she won the 2018 election to the House and is now a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

 10 
Betty Shabazz
(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African American Activist Malcolm X)

Betty Shabazz
9
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pinehurst, Georgia, United States
Died: June 23, 1997

Civil rights activist and educator Betty Shabazz, or Betty X, was the wife of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Raised by her adoptive parents in Detroit, she met Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam event in Harlem. She died when her apartment was set on fire set by her grandson.

 11 
Jane Elliott
(Educator Known for Her ‘Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes’ Exercise)

Jane Elliott
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Riceville, Iowa, United States

Jane Elliott is an American schoolteacher best known for inventing and popularizing the Blue eyes/Brown eyes exercise. The exercise, which was first conducted on April 5, 1968, with her third-grade class, aims at helping people understand the ill-effects of racial discrimination. The classroom exercise has inspired a couple of documentaries namely The Eye of the Storm and The Angry Eye.  

 12 

Yalitza Aparicio
7
Birthdate: December 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexican actor Yalitza Aparicio is best known for her Academy Award-nominated debut performance as Cleo in the film Roma. Though initially aspiring to be a school teacher, she later switched to acting. She is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and has graced the cover of Vogue México.

 13 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historians)

Lola Van Wagenen
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1993, 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.

 14 
Marilyn Milian
(Judge, TV personality)

Marilyn Milian
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States

 15 
Erin Murphy
(Actress)

Erin Murphy
6
Birthdate: June 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Encino, California, USA

 16 
Sylvia Earle
(Marine biologist)

Sylvia Earle
7
Birthdate: August 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gibbstown, New Jersey, U.S.
Sylvia Earle is known for her research on marine algae and she was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earle held the world record for the deepest untethered dive and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet, in 1998. She also featured in Netflix Original documentary Seaspiracy.

 17 
Cheng Yen
(Buddhist nun, Philanthropist)

Cheng Yen
5
Birthdate: May 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Taichung City, Taiwan

 18 
Linda Lee Cadwell
(Teacher & Bruce Lee's Widow)

Linda Lee Cadwell
4
Birthdate: March 21, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Everett, Washington, United States
Linda Lee Cadwell, former wife of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, is a teacher and author who met Bruce at a Kung Fu workshop in Seattle. Her memoir Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew inspired Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. She was a trustee of the Bruce Lee Foundation.

 19 
Cherie Blair
(Barrister)

Cherie Blair
5
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.

 20 
Alison Balsom
(Musician)

Alison Balsom
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Royston, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Born to a builder father, Alison Balsom showed an early interest in the trumpet and played regularly with the Royston Town Band. A Guildhall alumna, she is now a 3-time Brit Award winner and has also won the 2013 Gramophone Artist of the Year. She is also a fan of yachting.

 21 
Mary Beard
(Professor)

Mary Beard
5
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.

 22 
Graça Machel
(First Lady of Mozambique (1975-1986), First Lady of South Africa (1998-1999))

Graça Machel
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gaza Province, Mozambique

Graça Machel is known for her association with Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and has been the country’s first education minister. She has also been married to both former Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through The Elders, she is devoted to working for women’s and children’s rights.

 23 
Mamie Till
(Activist)

Mamie Till
5
Birthdate: November 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: near Webb, Mississippi, USA
Died: January 6, 2003

 24 

Mary McLeod Bethune
4
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina, United States
Died: May 18, 1955

 25 

Pamela Des Barres
6
Birthdate: September 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reseda, California, USA

 26 
Maya Soetoro-Ng
(Educator, Maternal half-sister to Barack Obama)

Maya Soetoro-Ng
5
Birthdate: August 15, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Indonesia

Maya Soetoro-Ng is the maternal half-sister of former American President Barack Obama. She is currently working as a consultant for the Obama Foundation and is credited with working towards the development of the Asia-Pacific Leaders Program. She is also credited with co-founding nonprofit organizations, such as Institute for Climate and Peace and The Peace Studio.

 27 
Lauren Lane
(Actress)

Lauren Lane
5
Birthdate: February 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

 28 
Louise Lasser
(Actress)

Louise Lasser
7
Birthdate: April 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele
5
Birthdate: March 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador

 30 
Ruby Wax
(Actress)

Ruby Wax
5
Birthdate: April 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States

 31 
Anna Leonowens
(Writer, Educator)

Anna Leonowens
5
Birthdate: November 5, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, India
Died: January 19, 1915

Indian-born British author Anna Leonowens is best remembered for her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court, which related her experience as a governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam. The musical The King and I and the novel Anna and the King of Siam were inspired by her life.

 32 

Shirley Ballas
12
Birthdate: September 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wallasey, Cheshire, England, UK

Essie Mae Washington-Williams
5
Birthdate: October 12, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aiken, South Carolina, USA
Died: February 4, 2013

In 2003, Essie Mae Washington-Williams made headlines when she announced that she was the illegitimate, bi-racial child of senator Strom Thurmond and his Black maid. It is believed Essie’s mother was 16 when she had her, and that Thurmond didn’t accept her, as he was politically pro-segregation.

 34 
Donna Strickland
(Optical physicist)

Donna Strickland
6
Birthdate: May 27, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Guelph, Canada

Donna Strickland is a Canadian optical physicist who is considered a pioneer in the field of pulsed lasers. In recognition of her research on the practical implementation of chirped pulse amplification, she was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, together with Gérard Mourou. She is currently a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. 

 35 
Marva Collins
(American educator)

Marva Collins
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Died: June 24, 2015

 36 
Carol S. Dweck
(Best Known for Her Work on The 'Mindset' of Psychological Traits)

Carol S. Dweck
4
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.

 37 
Uta Hagen
(Actress)

Uta Hagen
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Göttingen, Germany
Died: January 14, 2004

 38 
Emma Willard
(American activist)

Emma Willard
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1787
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 15, 1870

 39 
Margaret MacMillan
(Historian and professor at the University of Oxford)

Margaret MacMillan
4
Birthdate: December 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Canadian historian and Oxford professor Margaret MacMillan is the great-granddaughter of former British prime minister David Lloyd George. Best known for her works such as Peacemakers and Women of the Raj, she is also a Royal Society of Literature fellow and has earned several honorary degrees.

 40 
Amy Chua
(Lawyer)

Amy Chua
5
Birthdate: October 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Champaign, Illinois Champaign, Illinois, U.S.

 41 
Virginia Johnson
(Sexologist)

Virginia Johnson
5
Birthdate: February 11, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Missouri, United States
Died: July 24, 2013

 42 
Lacey Schwimmer
(Ballroom Dancer)

Lacey Schwimmer
6
Birthdate: June 28, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redlands, California, United States

 43 

T'Keyah Crystal Keymah
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

 44 

Regina S Peruggi
4
Birthdate: 1947 AD

Regina S Peruggi is an educator, who became the first woman to become president of Kingsborough Community College. Prior to this, she served as president of Marymount Manhattan College. She has been on the board of directors of many educational institutions. She was honored as a New York State Senate Woman of Distinction in 2006.

 45 
Lis Wiehl
(Author of fiction and nonfiction books, and a legal analyst)

Lis Wiehl
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yakima, Washington, United States

 46 
Erin Gruwell
(Teacher)

Erin Gruwell
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: California

 47 
Deborah Sampson
(Military woman)

Deborah Sampson
4
Birthdate: December 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plympton, Massachusetts, USA
Died: April 29, 1827

 48 
Mary Whitehouse
(Educator)

Mary Whitehouse
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: November 23, 2001

While she was initially a schoolteacher, who specialized in sex education, Mary Whitehouse later began a campaign against the moral standards of the media in Britain, particularly the BBC. She launched the Clean Up TV campaign, vocalizing her opposition toward content such as war and child pornography.

 49 
Gabriela Mistral
(Chilean poet)

Gabriela Mistral
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vicuña, Chile
Died: January 10, 1957

Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet and educator Lucila Godoy Alcayaga was better known by her pseudonym, Gabriela Mistral. The suicide of her first love inspired her poem Dolor. Her diplomatic assignments later took her to places such as Madrid and Lisbon. She is remembered for her emotional verses and her feminism.

 50 
Amber Nash
(Actress)

Amber Nash
7
Birthdate: June 6, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States