Women Educators

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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.
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 1 
Savitribai Phule
(Social Reformer, Poet)
Savitribai Phule
13
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
14
Birthdate: April 14, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Agawam, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 20, 1936
 3 
Maria Montessori
(Italian Educator and Founder of the 'Montessori Method of Education')
Maria Montessori
14
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 
Margaret Sanger
(Birth Control Activist Who Opened the First Birth Control Clinic in the United States)
Margaret Sanger
6
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.

 5 
Brigitte Macron
(Former Educator and Wife of Emmanuel Macron, President of France)
Brigitte Macron
6
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 
Christa McAuliffe
(American Astronaut Who was Killed on the Space Shuttle 'Challenger' on Mission STS-51-L)
Christa McAuliffe
5
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.

 7 
Sonya Curry
(American Educator and Mother of Basketball Players ‘Stephen Curry’ and ‘Seth Curry’)
Sonya Curry
9
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.

 8 
Betty Shabazz
(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African-American Activist Malcolm X)
Betty Shabazz
11
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.

 9 
Jane Elliott
(Educator Known for Her ‘Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes’ Exercise)
Jane Elliott
8
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.  

 10 
Ruth Westheimer
(German-American Sex Therapist, Media Personality and Holocaust Survivor)
Ruth Westheimer
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
German-American sex therapist Ruth Westheimer, also known as Dr. Ruth, soared to fame with the radio show Sexually Speaking and later hosted many sexuality-related shows and wrote many books, too. She is also an ethnographer and a Holocaust survivor. Her life inspired the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth.
 11 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
5
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 
Erin Murphy
(Actress)
Erin Murphy
6
Birthdate: June 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Encino, California, USA
 13 
Cheng Yen
(Buddhist nun, Philanthropist)
Cheng Yen
6
Birthdate: May 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Taichung City, Taiwan
 14 
Helen Keller
(American Author and First Deaf-Blind Person to Earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree)
Helen Keller
28
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.

 15 
Mamie Till
(American Civil Rights Activist, Who Lost Her Son 'Emmett Till' to a Racist Attack)
Mamie Till
5
Birthdate: November 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Webb, Mississippi, United States
Died: January 6, 2003

Following the violent lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till by a group of white men, his mother Mamie Till-Mobley made a marked contribution to the fight against racism. She became a prominent civil rights activist and established the Emmett Till Players, a group that lectured on hope and unity.

 16 
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.

 17 
Marilyn Milian
(Judge, TV personality)
Marilyn Milian
7
Birthdate: May 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States
 18 
Pamela Des Barres
6
Birthdate: September 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reseda, California, USA
 19 
Mary McLeod Bethune
(American Civil Rights Activist and Founder of the 'National Council of Negro Women')
Mary McLeod Bethune
4
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina, United States
Died: May 18, 1955

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American civil rights activist, educator, womanist, humanitarian, and philanthropist. She is credited with founding the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune also played a key role in the creation of the Black Cabinet while serving as an adviser to Franklin Roosevelt. In 1973, Bethune was made an indutee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 20 
Louise Lasser
(Actress)
Louise Lasser
7
Birthdate: April 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
 21 
Lauren Lane
(Actress)
Lauren Lane
5
Birthdate: February 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
 22 
Mary Beard
(British Scholar of Ancient Rome)
Mary Beard
5
Birthdate: January 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England

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.

 23 
Shirley Ballas
(English Dance Teacher, Ballroom Dancer, and Dance Adjudicator)
Shirley Ballas
12
Birthdate: September 6, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wallasey, Cheshire, England

Shirley Ballas is an English dance teacher, ballroom dancer, and dance adjudicator. Nicknamed The Queen of Latin, Ballas is best known for her achievements in the International Latin division. Shirley Ballas' popularity increased in 2017, when she started appearing as the head judge on the popular TV dance show, Strictly Come Dancing.

Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele
5
Birthdate: March 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador
 25 
Anna Leonowens
(British Travel Writer, Educator, and Social Activist)
Anna Leonowens
5
Birthdate: November 5, 1834
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.

 26 
Marva Collins
(American educator)
Marva Collins
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Died: June 24, 2015
 27 
Essie Mae Washington-Williams
(American Educator Best Known as the Daughter of Former Governor of South Carolina, Strom Thurmond)
Essie Mae Washington-Williams
5
Birthdate: October 12, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aiken, South Carolina, United States
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.

 28 
Uta Hagen
(Actress)
Uta Hagen
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Göttingen, Germany
Died: January 14, 2004
 29 
Lacey Schwimmer
(Ballroom Dancer)
Lacey Schwimmer
6
Birthdate: June 28, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redlands, California, United States
 30 
T'Keyah Crystal Keymah
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 31 
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.

 32 
Ruby Wax
(Actress)
Ruby Wax
5
Birthdate: April 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States
 33 
Emma Willard
(American activist)
Emma Willard
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1787
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 15, 1870
 34 
Diane Baker
(Actress)
Diane Baker
4
Birthdate: February 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
 35 
Erin Gruwell
(Teacher)
Erin Gruwell
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: California
 36 
Regina S Peruggi
4
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: United States

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.

 37 
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
 38 
Sister Nivedita
(Irish Teacher, Author, Social Activist, School Founder and Disciple of 'Swami Vivekananda')
Sister Nivedita
5
Birthdate: October 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Died: October 13, 1911

Born in Ireland, schoolteacher Margaret Elizabeth Noble met Indian spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda in London and, inspired by his ideals, went to Calcutta, where she was renamed Sister Nivedita and began following Brahmacharya. She not only founded a girls’ school in Kolkata but also worked for social upliftment of Indians.

 39 
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.

 40 
Nadia Boulanger
(One of the Most Influential Teachers of Musical Composition of the 20th Century)
Nadia Boulanger
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 22, 1979

Born to a music instructor father, French composer and conductor Nadia Boulanger was no stranger to music as a kid. The first woman to conduct prime orchestras, she had the who’s who of the music industry, such as Elliott Carter, Roy Harris, and Quincy Jones, on her list of students.

 41 
Deborah Sampson
(Military woman)
Deborah Sampson
4
Birthdate: December 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plympton, Massachusetts, USA
Died: April 29, 1827
 42 
Mary Whitehouse
(British Teacher and Conservative Activist)
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.

 43 
Mary Harris Jones
(Irish-born American Schoolteacher and Activist)
Mary Harris Jones
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1830
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1930

After losing her husband and children in a yellow fever epidemic and her dress shop in the great Chicago fire, schoolteacher and dressmaker Mary Harris Jones became an activist, earning the nickname Mother Jones. A prominent unionist for coal miners and other workers, she also co-founded the Social Democratic Party.

 44 
Amber Nash
(Actress)
Amber Nash
7
Birthdate: June 6, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 45 
Jesmyn Ward
(Novelist)
Jesmyn Ward
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: DeLisle, Mississippi, US
 46 
Karen Pence
(Wife of Former US Vice-President Mike Pence)
Karen Pence
40
Birthdate: January 1, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kansas, United States
Former second lady of the United States, Karen Pence is the wife of Mike Pence who served as American President from 2017 to 2021. Karen also served as the first lady of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 during her husband's term as governor of the state. In 2019, she returned as a part-time art teacher for Immanuel Christian School.
 47 
Fei-Fei Li
(Computer scientist)
Fei-Fei Li
4
Birthdate: 1976 AD
Birthplace: Beijing
 48 
Jean Harris
(Author)
Jean Harris
6
Birthdate: April 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: December 23, 2012
 49 
Lisa Kelly
(Singer, Pianist)
Lisa Kelly
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 50 
Joyce Maynard
(Novelists)
Joyce Maynard
6
Birthdate: November 5, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Exeter, New Hampshire, USA