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.
Charlotte Corday was an important figure of the French Revolution. She is remembered for murdering Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, for which she was executed by guillotine. Her action changed the political position and role of women at the time. She was also considered a hero by those who opposed the teachings of Jean-Paul Marat.
Jiang Qing was a Chinese actress, communist revolutionary and major political figure who played an important role during the Cultural Revolution in China. She is also remembered for forming a Maoist political faction called the Gang of Four. Jiang Qing married Mao Zedong and played a prominent role in propagating Mao's brand of Communist ideology.
Part of Irish folklore, Grace O'Malley was known as The Pirate Queen. Born into a seafaring family and was known for her unrelenting attitude toward the English. Known for her exploits in the Nine Years' War, she refused to bow down to Queen Elizabeth, as she herself was a queen.
Irish revolutionary political leader and suffragist Constance Markievicz scripted history by becoming the first woman to be elected as a cabinet minister in Europe and also the first female to be elected to the British Parliament. Sentenced to death for her role in the Easter Rising, she was later granted amnesty.
Manuela Sáenz was an Ecuadorian revolutionary who supported women's rights. She received the Order of the Sun, honoring her services in the revolution. Today, she is widely regarded as a feminist symbol of the 19th century. In 2007, the Ecuadorian government honored her with the rank of General.
Born to a militia officer, Sybil Ludington later made history with her fearless resistance to the British during the American Revolutionary War. Most of her statues today find her perched on a horse, in a tribute to her night-long horseback ride to inform American soldiers of an impending British attack.
Alexandra Kollontai was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and diplomat. She served as the People's Commissar for Welfare in Lenin’s government. A powerful figure, she became the first woman in history to become an official member of a governing cabinet. She was also one of the few women to play a prominent role during the Russian Revolution.
Also known as Begum of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal was the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. She is remembered for rebelling against the British East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Following her husband’s exile, she took over affairs in the state of Awadh. However, she was forced by the British to abandon Awadh.
A significant figure of the Paris Commune, Louise Michel was born as an illegitimate child of a maid. She had initially been trained to be a teacher but later began developing an interest in revolutionary socialist ideas. She was also once sent behind bars for inciting riots.
The wife of Jean-Marie Roland, Madame Roland was a leading French revolutionary and often hosted significant political meets at her salon. She often directed her husband’s political actions and was responsible for creating a rift between the Jacobin and Girondin factions. She was later arrested and guillotined.
Mary Ludwig Hays, an American brave heart who is considered to have fought at the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778 during the American War of Independence, is mostly identified as the woman behind the legend of Molly Pitcher. She reportedly took her husband's place working a gun after he was wounded and brought water to troops at the battle
Maud Gonne not just co-founded the Sinn Féin party but also participated in the theater movement of W.B Yeats, who made her his muse and proposed to her many times, only to be rejected. An Irish nationalist, she also formed the Daughters of Ireland and acted in Yeats’s first play Cathleen ni Houlihan.
Vilma Espín Guillois was a Cuban revolutionary, chemical engineer, and feminist. She is best remembered as an adamant feminist who helped organize a vanguard revolutionary organization called 26th of July Movement, which later became a political party. Vilma Espín also helped establish the Federation of Cuban Women. She also advocated equal rights for women in all aspects of life.
Lucie Samuel was a French history-teacher and member of French Resistance during Second World War. She obtained an agrégation of history, an uncommon feat for a woman of her time. Her husband Raymond Aubrac, a leader of French Resistance, was given death-sentence. Lucie helped in organising his escape from prison. The couple later joined Charles de Gaulle’s government in exile.
Tamara Bunke was an Argentine-born East German spy and revolutionary. She played an important role in the Cuban government and in various revolutionary movements across Latin America. She also fought during the Bolivian insurgency and was killed in an ambush by Bolivian Army Rangers while fighting alongside communist guerrillas led by Che Guevara.
Celia Sánchez was a Cuban revolutionary, researcher, politician, and archivist. A close colleague of Fidel Castro, Sánchez played an important role in the Cuban Revolution. She was one of the founders of a revolutionary organization called 26th of July Movement. She was also the first woman to become a part of the guerilla. Sánchez is considered a heroine in Cuba.
Helene Rytmann was a French sociologist and revolutionary who played an important role in the French Resistance. Widely regarded as a historically important Jewish woman, Helene Rytmann was murdered by her husband Louis Althusser. The case was never properly investigated and the scandal of Rytmann's murder inspired the 2002 novel Shroud which was written by Irish novelist William John Banville.
Emilia Plater was a Polish-Lithuanian revolutionary and noblewoman. Often compared with France's Joan of Arc, Plater is seen as a national heroine in Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. Emilia Plater's story has inspired numerous works of art and literature and she is often seen as a symbol of women empowerment in Lithuania.
Russian revolutionary Vera Figner was a major figure of the Populist (Narodnik) movement. Initially a medical student, she later left her studies midway to devote herself to politics. She also left her husband for her revolutionary cause and became associated with the Zemlya i Volya party.
Libertas Schulze-Boysen was a German aristocrat who fought against the Nazi regime. Libertas, who had contact with important people in different strata of society, started documenting the atrocities carried out by the Nazis during the early 1940s. She also played an important role in the formation of the Red Orchestra. Libertas Schulze-Boysen was executed by the Nazis, at the age of 29.
Doria Shafik was an Egyptian poet, editor, and feminist. One of the most important and influential leaders of the famous women's liberation movement in Egypt, Doria Shafik is best remembered for her work in the mid-1940s that led to a change in the Egyptian constitution, granting Egyptian women the right to vote.
Haydée Santamaría was a Cuban politician and revolutionary who is considered a heroine in post-revolutionary Cuba. She was among a small group of people who took part in the attack on Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953, in Santiago de Cuba. Haydée Santamaría was also one of the first women to become a part of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Elise Hampel was a German domestic servant best remembered for creating postcards against Hitler's government and leaving them in public places during World War II. Elise and her husband, Otto Hampel, were caught and beheaded in Plötzensee Prison in 1943. Their bravery inspired Hans Fallada to write a novel, which was later adapted into a film named Alone in Berlin.
A legend during the American Revolutionary War, Ann Bailey was a British-born American woman, who took up arms to become a frontier scout, messenger and spy. She became a heroine when during the seize of Fort Lee, she made a hundred miles single-person ride through host of besiegers and forestland to get powder supply and thus saved the Clendenin's Settlement.
Felice Schragenheim was a German Jewish resistance fighter who fought against the Nazi regime during the Second World War. She is best remembered for her relationship with Lilly Wust; the tragic love story inspired the 1999 German drama film Aimée & Jaguar. Schragenheim was killed at the age of 22, when she was part of a death march from Poland to Germany.
Ana Maria was a Salvadoran political figure who was second in command of a guerrilla military and political organization called the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación Farabundo Martí (FPL). An intellectual, Ana Maria was regarded as an icon among revolutionary women. She was assassinated on April 6, 1983 by her own comrades in Managua, Nicaragua.
Born into a poverty-stricken family of farmers, Fanny Kaplan was home-schooled. Later, while working as a milliner, she joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party and thus became part of radical politics. She developed anti-Bolshevik sentiments and attempted to assassinate Lenin. Though Lenin recovered, Kaplan was later executed.
Arlen Siu gained fame in Nicaragua as singer-songwriter and guitarist by the time she joined the Sandinistas. Killed by the soldiers of National Guard at just 20 years of age, Siu is counted among the first female martyrs of Sandinista revolution. Her works on Marxism and feminism remained a source of inspiration for the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan women's movement.
Melba Hernández was a Cuban diplomat and politician. She is best remembered for her service as the Ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam during the Fidel Castro regime in the 1980s. Melba Hernández was also an active participant in the Cuban Revolution; she was among the best-known women that fought in the Revolutionary war against Fulgencio Batista alongside Fidel Castro.