Adventurous aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart won the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Although she disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world, she still serves as an intrepid role model for girls to this day.
Don’t let her outward appearance scare you. This plucky protagonist fights on the side of good. Her photographic memory, computer skills, and excellent sense of observation make her terrific at bringing corrupt individuals to justice.
Queen Elizabeth I
It must’ve been tough being a female monarch in patriarchal sixteenth century England, but Queen Elizabeth I successfully ruled for 44 years. Her reign became known as a “golden age” because drama, music, literature, architecture, and exploration flourished during that time.
Forget Bratz dolls and ponies—this 11-year-old fictional crime fighter prefers butterfly knives. Any other kid would probably be afraid to fight just one hardcore criminal, but Hit Girl takes on several at a time and makes it look easy.
Joan of Arc
Yevdokiya Nikolayevna Zavaliy
When this 17-year-old WWII nurse was mistaken for a man on the field, she didn’t protest. Instead, she fought in several battles and was appointed as the leader of a reconnaissance squad. Even after being wounded four times and her gender was discovered, her platoon continued to fight. She received more than 40 medals of Honor for her act of valor.
This heroic abolitionist escaped from slavery herself at the age of 29 and helped others obtain their freedom by leading 13 Underground Railroad missions. She was later employed by the Union Army, becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war and liberating more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.