Women in History Display

Choices finalised for big display outside H33 about 'Women throughout History'. 

Painting of Saint Joan of Arc (c1412–1431) who led the French Army to several victories in the Hundred Years' War

Here is the list of women throughout History that the St. Mary's Menston community have chosen. We would like to thank the hundreds of historians at St. Mary's who took part in discussing (and sometimes suggesting) who should be included!

Women in History, chosen by St. Mary's Menston


Ada Lovelace 1815–1852

World's first computer programmer.


Alice Walker, 1944–

American Author The Colour Purple.


Amelia Earhart, 1897–1937

The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


Anne Devlin, 1780-1851

Irish republican who refused to inform despite brutal treatment and her entire family being jailed in an effort to break her.


Anita Roddick, 1942–2007

Shaped ethical consumerism, founder of The Body Shop.


Anna Pavlova 1881–1931

Ballerina who created the role of The Dying Swan.


Anna Wintour 1949–

American Vogue magazine editor.


Anne Frank 1929–1945

Holocaust victim who documented her experiences in a diary.


Audrey Hepburn 1929–1993

Film and fashion icon, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday.


Aung San Suu Kyi 1945–

Burmese opposition politician, political prisoner.


Benazir Bhutto 1953–2007

Prime Minister of Pakistan.


Saint Bernadette Soubirous 1844-1879

Our Blessed Lady appeared to the young Bernadette at Lourdes in 18 apparitions.


Boadicea c61 AD

Queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Roman Empire.


Catherine McAuley 1778–1841

Irish nun, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831.


Catherine the Great 1729–1796

Most renowned female leader of Russia.


Christina Rossetti 1830-1894

English poet In the Bleak Midwinter, Goblin Market.


Saint Clare, 1194-1253

Founded the Order of Poor Ladies commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.


Cleopatra 69 BC–30 BC

The last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.


Edith Cavell 1865–1915

British nurse and patriot.


Eileen Gray 1878-1976

Influential Irish born furniture designer and architect.


Eleanor of Aquitaine c1122–1204

Powerful ruler in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.


Eleanor Roosevelt 1884–1962

Nicknamed her the 'First Lady of the World' in tribute to her human rights achievements.


Elizabeth ‘Nellie Bly’ Cochrane 1864–1962

American journalist who faked insanity.


Elizabeth Fry 1780–1845

English prison reformer, the "angel of prisons."


Elizabeth I 1533–1603

The last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.


Elizabeth II 1926–

Current Queen.


Emmeline Pankhurst 1858–1928

Led the suffragette movement that helped women win the right to vote.


Empress Wu Zetian c625–705

Wu Zetian was the only female emperor in Chinese history who actually ruled the whole country for almost half a century.


Eva Peró 1919–1952

Served as the First Lady of Argentina.


Florence Nightingale 1820–1910

Statistician and the founder of modern nursing.


Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel 1883–1971

French fashion designer.


Georgia O'Keeffe 1887–1986

American Artist.


Georgiana Cavendish 1757–1806

Socialite and political campaigner.


Golda Mei 1898–1978

Prime Minister of Israel.

Grace Darling 1815-1842

Heroic rescue of nine people shipwrecked off the Northumberland coast in 1838.


Hatshepsut 1508BC–1458BC

One of the most successful Pharaohs of Egypt, "the first great woman in history."


Helen Joseph 1905-1922

South African anti-apartheid activist.


Helen Keller 1880–1968

The first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Hillary Rodham Clinton 1947–

American politician.


Indira Gandhi 1917–1984

Indian Prime Minister.


Irena Sendler 1910-2008

Smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II and saved them during the Holocaust.


Jane Austen 1775–1817

English novelist. Pride and Prejudice.


Jeanne de Valois 1756–1791

Notorious French adventuress and thief.


Joan of Arc c1412–1431

Catholic Saint who led the French army to several victories in the Hundred Years' War.


Josephine Baker 1906–1975

Dancer, Singer, Actress who was asked to lead the American Civil Rights Movement after Martin Luther King was assassinated.


Lillian Ngoyi 1911-1980

South African anti-apartheid activist. The first woman elected to the executive committee of the ANC.


Livia Druscilla 58BC–29AD

Political mastermind who has great influence in the Roman Empire.


Lucrezia Borgia 1480–1519

Part of a powerful family in Italy.


Margaret Mead 1901–1978



Maya Angelou, 1928–

American writer.


Marie Antoinette 1755–1793

Last Queen of France.


Marie Curie 1867–1934

First female Scientist to win a Nobel Prize and the only person to win it in multiple sciences.


Marilyn Monroe 1926–1962

America Actress, Model, Singer.


Marthe Bibesc 1886–1973

Writer voted the most influential Romanian woman of the Millennium.


Saint Mary Biblical Times

Mother of Jesus.

Saint Mary Magdalene Biblical Times

Traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and supported him in his final moments.


Mary Robinson 1944-

First female President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Mary Quant, 1934-

British fasion designer. 1960s mod and youth fashion movements.


Mary Seacole 1805-1881

Provided help for women soldiers on the battlefield. Voted greatest Black Briton.

Mary Shelley 1819-1901

English writer, Frankenstein.


Mary Wollenstonecraft 1757-1797

British writer, philosopher and advocate of women's rights.


Mata Hari 1876–1917

Dancer and Spy during World War I.

Maya Angelou 1928-

American authour and poet.


Mother Teresa 1910–1997

Nun who served "the poorest of the poor".


Nancy Astor 1879-1964

The first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.


Nicola Adams 1982–

Boxer from Leeds, won Gold medal in 2012 Olympics.


Odette Sansom Hallowes 1912-1995

Allied heroine of World War II.


Pocahonta 1595–1617

Virginia Indian notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, USA.


Queen Emma c985-1052

Queen consort of England.


Queen Victoria 1819–1901

Longest serving British Monarch.


Rachel Beer 1858–1927

First female editor of a national newspaper.


Rachel Carson, 1907–1964

Environmentalist who launched the Environmental 'green' movement.


Rosa Parks 1913–2005

American Civil Rights Activist.


Rosalind Franklin 1920–1958

British scientist who contributed to the model of DNA.


Sister Sarah Clarke  1919-2002

Irish nun who campaigned to clear miscarriages of justice, such as the Guilford Four.


Sofonisba Anguissola 1532–1625

Italian Renaissance painter


Slyvia Wright, 1938-

Sylvia sold her home and possessions in Leeds to work among the sick and disabled in India.


Tanni Grey-Thompson, 1969–

Wheelchair athlete and parliamentarian.


Violette Szabo, 1921–1945

World War II French-British secret agent.


Vivienne Westwoo 1941–

British fashion designer, largely responsible for Punk and New Wave fashions.


Wu Zetia, c625-705

Wu Zetian was the only female emperor in Chinese history.