Women Philosophers

Throughout history, there have been many women philosophers who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great female philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, Rosa Luxemburg, Peter Kropotkin, Edith Stein.The women philosophers 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 Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.

 2 Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Linden - Mitte, Hanover, Germany
Died: December 4, 1975

Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.

 3 Judith Butler

Judith Butler
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 24, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

 4 Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 6, 1982

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American philosopher and writer. Apart from publishing two best-selling novels, Ayn Rand is credited with developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Over the years, Ayn Rand has been a major influence among American conservatives and libertarians. Some of the famous personalities influenced by her include Amber Heard, Vince Vaughn, Jimmy Wales, Ayelet Shaked, and Mary Ruwart.

 5 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft
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.

 6 Hypatia

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0350 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: February 29, 0415
Hypatia was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer who lived during the 4th and 5th centuries. She also taught and served as a counselor. She is remembered for her commentary on Diophantus's Arithmetica. She was later murdered and became a symbol of feminism and of opposition to Catholic ideals.

 7 Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg
Famous As: Marxist economist
Birthdate: March 5, 1871
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zamosc, Poland
Died: January 15, 1919
Polish Marxist and socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg was a member of parties such as the SPD, the USPD, and the KPD. Luxemburg was an anti-war activist and taught economics and Marxism at SPD's Berlin training center. She was assassinated by the Freikorps troops during the German Revolution
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 8 Helena Blavatsky

Helena Blavatsky
Famous As: Writer, Co-founder of the Theosophical Society
Birthdate: August 12, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dnipro, Ukraine
Died: May 8, 1891

Russian philosopher Helena Blavatsky, or Madame Blavatsky, was one of the co-founders of the Theosophical Society. She popularized the slogan “There is no religion higher than truth.” She was inspired by the Arya Samaj and later converted to Buddhism. She also wrote books such as The Secret Doctrine.

 9 Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 28, 1820
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barmen, Germany
Died: August 4, 1895

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, political scientist, and revolutionary socialist. Along with Karl Marx, Engels helped develop Marxism, which has had a profound impact on fields like philosophy and anthropology. Engels is credited with helping Marx publish Das Kapital, a foundational theoretical work in politics, economics, and materialist philosophy. He also co-authored influential political documents like The Communist Manifesto.

 10 Juana Inés de la Cruz

Juana Inés de la Cruz
Famous As: Early feminist author and philosopher who studied everything around her and argued forcefully that all women should be allowed to do the same
Birthdate: November 12, 1648
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nepantla de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexico
Died: April 17, 1695

Mexican nun Juana Inés de la Cruz was one of the finest authors of the Latin American colonial era. Initially the lady-in-waiting of Mexico’s viceroy, she later took her vows. She built a huge library and penned masterpieces such as the poem Primero sueño and the religious drama El divino Narciso.

 11 Simone Weil

Simone Weil
Famous As: French philosopher, mystic and activist in the French Resistance during WWII.
Birthdate: February 3, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 24, 1943
Paris-born philosopher and activist Simone Weil could speak in Sanskrit and Greek as a student. Called The Martian by her classmates, due to her peculiar nature, she died of cardiac failure at 34, refusing to eat more than the people of German-occupied France, in spite of being diagnosed with tuberculosis. 

 12 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 13 Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers
Famous As: Author, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Petaluma, California, U.S.

 14 Edith Stein

Edith Stein
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: August 9, 1942

Edith Stein was a German Jewish philosopher who studied at the University of Freiburg and completed her dissertation on empathy. Always interested in Catholicism, she read the autobiography of the mystic Teresa of Ávila and converted to Christianity, and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She was killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp and is canonized as a martyr.

 15 Luce Irigaray

Luce Irigaray
Famous As: Philosopher, linguist, Feminist
Birthdate: May 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bernissart, Belgium

 16 Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

 17 Émilie du Châtelet

Émilie du Châtelet
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 10, 1749

 18 Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York (state) New York, United States

Pema Chodron is an American Tibetan Buddhist and an ordained nun. Born as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York, she began studying with Tibetan Buddhist Lama Chime Rinpoche as a young woman. She eventually became a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī. She is the author of several dozen books and audiobooks. She is the principal teacher at Gampo Abbey. 

 19 Charles Fourier

Charles Fourier
Famous As: Philosopher, an influential early socialist thinker and one of the founders of utopian socialism
Birthdate: April 7, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Besançon, France
Died: October 10, 1837

French social theorist Charles Fourier is regarded as one of the pioneers of utopian socialism. Apart from advocating social reconstruction based on phalanges, or Fourierism, he is also credited with coining the term feminism with respect to women’s rights. The Social Destiny of Man remains one of his notable works.

 20 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 21 Sophie Germain

Sophie Germain
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 1, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rue Saint-Denis, Paris, France
Died: June 27, 1831

French mathematician Sophie Germain had used the pseudonym M. Le Blanc to get hold of notes from the École Polytechnique, as being a woman, she was not allowed to attend the institute. She later contributed to the number theory and also pioneered the elasticity theory. She died of breast cancer.

 22 Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: November 30, 1098
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany
Died: September 17, 1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.

 23 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
Famous As: First female sociologist
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.

 24 Philippa Foot

Philippa Foot
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.

 25 Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.

 26 Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs
Famous As: Author, Social Activist, Philosopher, and Feminist
Birthdate: June 27, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 5, 2015

 27 Germaine de Staël

Germaine de Staël
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 22, 1766
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1817

Germaine de Staël was a French political theorist and woman of letters. She is best remembered for her collaboration with the popular  Swiss-French political thinker Benjamin Constant. Germaine, who was way ahead of her time, is widely regarded as a precursor of feminism.

 28 Héloïse

Famous As: French nun
Birthdate: 1101 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 16, 1164
French nun Héloïse was also a philosopher, writer, and abbess and was a renowned "woman of letters". She was noted as a  philosopher of love and friendship. In 1147, she was granted the rank of prelate nullius, approximately the level of a bishop. Her surviving letters are considered a foundation of French and European literature and inspiration for courtly love.

 29 Savitri Devi

Savitri Devi
Famous As: Writer, Poet
Birthdate: September 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 22, 1982

Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

 30 Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena
Famous As: Greek Princess & Scholar
Birthdate: December 1, 1083
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died: 1153 AD
Daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, Anna Komnene is best remembered for writing Alexiad, a genuine treatise of the life and times of her father. She had written the book while imprisoned at the Kecharitomene Monastery, after a failed attempt to depose her brother, John II Komnenos.

 31 Mary Parker Follett

Mary Parker Follett
Famous As: Social Woker
Birthdate: September 3, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 18, 1933

 32 Elena Cornaro Piscopia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 5, 1646
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: July 26, 1684

 33 Carol Gilligan

Carol Gilligan
Famous As: Psychologist, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, Sociologist, Feminist
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

Carol Gilligan is an American psychologist, ethicist, and feminist. She is renowned for her work on ethical relationships and ethical community. She also serves as a professor of Applied Psychology and Humanities at New York University. Considered the chief architect of the ethics of care, Gilligan was named in the 25 most influential people list by Time magazine in 1996.

 34 Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: May 16, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: January 9, 1799

Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.

 35 Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
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.

 36 Gayle Rubin

Gayle Rubin
Famous As: Cultural anthropologist best known as an activist and theorist of sex and gender politics
Birthdate: January 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: South Carolina, United States

Gayle Rubin is a cultural anthropologist known for writing on a wide range of topics, such as feminism, sadomasochism, prostitution, homosexuality, pedophilia, and pornography. She studied at the University of Michigan and was part of early feminist groups. After earning her Ph.D. in anthropology, she began her academic career. She is also associated with several feminist journals. 

 37 Mary Daly

Mary Daly
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Schenectady, New York, United States
Died: January 3, 2010

 38 Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marianowo, Mazovia, Poland
Died: June 7, 2014

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was a Polish American phenomenologist and philosopher. She is credited with founding the World Phenomenology Institute (WPI) where she remained as the president until her death in 2014. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka also contributed immensely to the popular book series Analecta Husserliana, serving as its editor since its inception in 1968.

 39 G. E. M. Anscombe

G. E. M. Anscombe
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.

 40 Alice Miller

Alice Miller
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: January 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Died: April 14, 2010

Apart from being a renowned psychologist, Alice Miller became an international sensation with her debut book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, a bestseller. A Holocaust survivor, who had lost her father in a Jewish ghetto, she analyzed child abuse, including education, violence, and parental abuse.

 41 Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper
Famous As: Conceptual Artist
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York

 42 Diotima of Mantinea

Diotima of Mantinea
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Mantineia, Greece

 43 Judith Jarvis Thomson

Judith Jarvis Thomson
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 4, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 20, 2020

 44 Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 28, 1515
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gotarrendura
Died: October 4, 1582

Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who later turned into a Carmelite nun. She was posthumously named a Doctor of the Church. She co-established the Discalced Carmelite Order. Her written works include The Interior Castle and her own autobiography.

 45 Iris Marion Young

Iris Marion Young
Famous As: Political scientist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: January 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City
Died: August 1, 2006

 46 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Famous As: Academic Scholar
Birthdate: May 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Died: April 12, 2009

 47 Akka Mahadevi

Akka Mahadevi
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Karnataka

 48 Mary Midgley

Mary Midgley
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.   

 49 Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins
Famous As: Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher, American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Book Award
Birthdate: May 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 50 Paul B. Preciado

Paul B. Preciado
Birthdate: 0000 AD

Born a woman, Paul B. Preciado initially identified himself as a lesbian and later announced his slow transition to being a man. A celebrated author and philosopher, he has penned books such as Testo Junkie, written columns on gender and sexuality, and taught subjects such as gender theory.