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.

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 1 Helen Keller

Helen Keller
6
Famous As: Author
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.

 2 Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule
7
Famous As: Social Reformer, Poet
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.

 3 Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan
7
Famous As: American Teacher, Instructor
Birthdate: April 14, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Feeding Hills
Died: October 20, 1936

 4 Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori
7
Famous As: Founder of the Montessori method of education
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.

 5 Brigitte Macron

Brigitte Macron
4
Famous As: First Lady of France
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 Anita Hill

Anita Hill
19
Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Morns, Oklahoma, USA

 7 Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
4
Famous As: Activist
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.

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 8 Linda Lee Cadwell

Linda Lee Cadwell
4
Famous As: Teacher & Bruce Lee's Widow
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.

 9 Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe
4
Famous As: Astronaut, Teacher
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.

 10 Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Considered a progressive, American politician Elizabeth Warren has been an US senator from Massachusetts since 2013. She is known as a supporter of worker representation on board of corporations, harsher punishment for white-collar crimes and a higher minimum wage, among other things. She ran in the Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2020 elections, but later pulled out of the race.

 11 Mary Kay Letourneau

Mary Kay Letourneau
5
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: January 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tustin, California, United States
Died: July 6, 2020

American teacher Mary Kay Letourneau was pleaded guilty in 1997 to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child. She began a sexual relationship with her sixth-grade student Vili Fualaau and had two children with him. Letourneau served two prison sentences as their relationship was forbidden by law. The two got married in 2005 and got separated in 2019.

 12 Katie Porter

Katie Porter
6
Famous As: Politician
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.

 13 Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz
6
Famous As: Educator
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.

 14 Sonya Curry

Sonya Curry
5
Famous As: Dell Curry's Wife
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.

 15 Yalitza Aparicio

Yalitza Aparicio
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico

 16 Brene Brown

Brene Brown
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Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: November 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.

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 Maya Soetoro-Ng

Maya Soetoro-Ng
5
Famous As: Educator, Maternal half-sister to Barack Obama
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.

 18 Emma Walton Hamilton

Emma Walton Hamilton
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Being the daughter of actor-singer Julie Andrews and set designer Tony Walton, Emma Walton Hamilton was no stranger to the entertainment world as a child. While she began her career as an actor and then moved on to stage direction, she also excelled as a children’s author, with the Dumpy series.

 19 Emily Davison

Emily Davison
5
Famous As: Suffragist, Activist
Birthdate: October 11, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 8, 1913

Activist Emily Davison is remembered for her relentless fight for women’s suffrage. As part of her protest, at the 1913 Epsom Derby, she went in front of King George V’s horse, to attach suffragette flags to it, and was tragically trampled to death. Some regard her as a martyr for women’s causes.

 20 Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott
6
Famous As: Schoolteacher
Birthdate: May 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Riceville, Mitchell County, Iowa, USA

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.  

 21 Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
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Famous As: Marine biologist
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.

 22 Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

Roxane Gay is an American writer, editor, professor, and social commentator. She is credited with founding an Illinois-based small press called Tiny Hardcore Press as well as the now-defunct Gay Magazine, which was founded in association with Medium. Roxane Gay is the recipient of a couple of Lambda Literary Awards and an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.

 23 Cheng Yen

Cheng Yen
4
Famous As: Buddhist nun, Philanthropist
Birthdate: May 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Taichung City, Taiwan

 24 Pamela Des Barres

Pamela Des Barres
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reseda, California, USA

 25 Erin Murphy

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

 26 Alison Balsom

Alison Balsom
4
Famous As: Musician
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.

 27 Mary Beard

Mary Beard
4
Famous As: Professor
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.

 28 Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
4
Famous As: Barrister
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.

 29 Graça Machel

Graça Machel
4
Famous As: First Lady of Mozambique (1975-86), First Lady of South Africa (1998-99)
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.

 30 Louise Lasser

Louise Lasser
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 31 Amy Chua

Amy Chua
4
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: October 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Champaign, Illinois Champaign, Illinois, U.S.

 32 Lauren Lane

Lauren Lane
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

 33 Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas
11
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: September 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wallasey, Cheshire, England, UK

 34 Marva Collins

Marva Collins
3
Famous As: American educator
Birthdate: August 31, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Died: June 24, 2015

 35 Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States

 36 Zitkala-Sa

Zitkala-Sa
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yankton Reservation, South Dakota, United States
Died: January 26, 1938

 37 Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi
4
Famous As: Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer
Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

 38 Sister Nivedita

Sister Nivedita
4
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: October 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Died: October 13, 1911

 39 Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele

Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele
4
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: March 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador

 40 Anna Leonowens

Anna Leonowens
4
Famous As: Writer, Educator
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.

 41 Annie Sprinkle

Annie Sprinkle
4
Famous As: Sexologist
Birthdate: July 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Annie Sprinkle is an American sexologist who supports sex work and healthcare. Sprinkle, who identifies herself as ecosexual, works as a feminist stripper, sex educator, pornographic actress, and sex-positive feminist. She is credited with popularizing lesbian pornography and the post-porn movement.

 42 Margaret MacMillan

Margaret MacMillan
3
Famous As: Historian, Professor
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.

 43 Carol S. Dweck

Carol S. Dweck
4
Famous As: Physiologists
Birthdate: October 17, 1946
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.

 44 Mamie Till

Mamie Till
4
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: near Webb, Mississippi, USA
Died: January 6, 2003

 45 Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Essie Mae Washington-Williams
4
Famous As: Teacher
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.

 46 Amber Nash

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

 47 Emma Willard

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

 48 Laura Spelman Rockefeller

Laura Spelman Rockefeller
4
Famous As: Philanthropist
Birthdate: September 9, 1839
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wadsworth, Ohio, United States
Died: March 12, 1915

 49 Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson
4
Famous As: Sexologist
Birthdate: February 11, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Missouri, United States
Died: July 24, 2013

 50 Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland
6
Famous As: Optical physicist
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.