Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.
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.
Stella Immanuel is a Cameroonian-American pastor and physician. She is best known for her fringe claims about medical conditions. She achieved notoriety in 2020, when she claimed that hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19. Stella Immanuel has also endorsed numerous conspiracy theories concerning the Illuminati and aliens. She is also credited with founding a religious organization named Fire Power Ministries.
Mary Edwards Walker, or Dr. Mary Walker, was the only female surgeon who served injured soldiers during the American Civil War. A dress reform supporter, she believed women should value comfort more than tradition when it came to clothes. She was also the first and only Medal of Honor winner.
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.
Nina Kraviz is a Russian DJ, singer, and music producer. She studied dentistry and even practiced for some time while performing gigs as a side hustle. She then proceeded to study at the Red Bull Music Academy. She released her self-titled debut album in 2012 and then went on to launch her own record label.
Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.
Sabina Spielrein was a Russian physician who also worked as a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and teacher during an illustrious professional career that spanned 30 years. A pioneer of psychoanalysis, Spielrein was the first person to bring in and popularize the concept of the death instinct. Sabina Spielrein was also one of the earliest psychoanalysts to study schizophrenia in detail.
Fe del Mundo was a Filipina paediatrician who achieved international recognition in 1977 when she was honored with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 1980, she was named National Scientist of the Philippines, becoming the first woman to be named so. Del Mundo is credited with founding Philippines' first pediatric hospital.
Rita Levi-Montalcini was an Italian neurologist whose discovery of nerve growth factor earned her the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Throughout her life, Levi-Montalcini's work in neurobiology earned her several other honors and awards, including the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement and the European Academy of Sciences' Leonardo da Vinci Award.
Doctor and diplomat Deborah Birx was the Trump administration’s coronavirus response co-ordinator. The renowned HIV/AIDS researcher, however, quit the virus team after reports suggested she had attended a Thanksgiving family gathering, breaching COVID-19 protocol. She later joined the air-cleaning company ActivePure, amid reports of it using banned technology.
Best known for her pathbreaking bestseller On Death and Dying, Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross also made pioneering research in areas such as near-death studies. Her five stages of grief, or the Kübler-Ross model, has been adopted by corporates to help employees deal with loss and change.
Maria Belon is a Spanish motivational speaker and physician. She achieved popularity after surviving the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004. Belón was badly injured and nearly died. The story inspired the 2012 disaster drama film The Impossible, in which Maria Belon was played by Naomi Watts. Belon has also appeared in many TV shows.
Though she was married off at age 9 and had had a baby by 14, Anandi Gopal Joshi rose to become one of the first female doctors in India and the first Indian-origin woman to graduate with a medical degree in the US. Unfortunately, she died of tuberculosis shortly before her 22nd birthday.
Mehriban Aliyeva is an Azerbaijani physician and politician. She is the current Vice President of Azerbaijan. The wife of Ilham Aliyev, Aliyeva is also the current First Lady of Azerbaijan. Mehriban Aliyeva is also the current Deputy Leader of the New Azerbaijan Party.
Eva Andersson-Dubin is a Swedish physician and former model. She is best known for founding the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital's Tisch Cancer Institute in New York City. Prior to her medical career, Eva Andersson-Dubin worked as a model. In 1980, she won the Miss Sweden contest.
Chilean politician Michelle Bachelet serves as 7th United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She became the first female politician in Chilean history who was elected as the country’s President and the first elected female leader in South America. She served as the 33rd and 35th President of Chile and held several other prominent positions during her expansive political career.
The first female doctor and surgeon of Britain, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was initially denied admission to medical schools because of her gender and had thus started studying privately. Soon after joining the Marylebone Dispensary as an attendant, she contributed to the formation of the New Hospital for Women.
Australian author Colleen McCullough soared to fame with her bestselling novel The Thorn Birds, which was also made into a hit miniseries. Fans also lover her Masters of Rome and Carmine Delmonico series of novels. A former neuropsychologist, she has previously taught at the Yale School of Medicine.
Canadian neurologist, educator, scientist, astronaut and photographer Roberta Bondar CC OOnt FRCPC FRSC is noted as the first female astronaut and the first neurologist of Canada to travel into space. She flew as part of the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-42 and performed over forty experiments in Spacelab. She later served as head of an international team of researchers at NASA.
The second female U.S. surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders is a renowned pediatrician and one of the first Black women to reach the pinnacle of the medical field in the U.S. She has been dragged into multiple controversies, one of them being a result of her support for sex education and masturbation.
Gianna Beretta Molla was a Roman Catholic pediatrician, canonized as a saint for saving her unborn child’s life at the expense of her own. Although she knew that the removal of only the fibroma would endanger her life, she refused have an abortion, thus upholding the Roman Catholic doctrine that even an unborn child has a fundamental right to life.
Reita Faria is an Indian physician and former beauty queen. She is best known for winning the Miss World pageant in 1966 and thereby becoming the first woman of Asian origin to win the contest. Reita Faria is also the first qualified physician to win the Miss World title. Reita Faria declined several acting offers to focus on her career as a physician.
Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath is remembered for her pathbreaking invention of the Laserphaco Probe, which made laser cataract surgery possible. The first Black female surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center and the first female faculty staff of the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, she dedicated her life to curing blindness.
Antonia Novello became the first female and the first person of Hispanic origin to become the U.S. surgeon general. Initially a pediatric nephrologist, she later switched to Public Health Service, after realizing she was too emotional to be a pediatrician. The Puerto Rican physician was also a UNICEF representative.
Known for winning more Olympic medals than any other female in the swimming category, Jenny Thompson had started swimming at age 7. She grew up to win swimming medals for Stanford University. She is also a qualified doctor and has practiced as an anaesthesiologist and surgeon.
Apart from being the first female university graduate in the Netherlands, the first Dutch female physician, and the first female to get a medical doctorate in her country, Aletta Jacobs was also a pioneering women’s suffrage activist. She traveled the world for her feminist mission with fellow suffragette Carrie Chapman.