Eleanor Roosevelt

(b. Oct. 11, 1884, New York, N.Y., U.S.-d. Nov. 7, 1962, New York City) Eleanor Roosevelt was an American first lady (1933–45), the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, and a United Nations diplomat and humanitarian. She was, in her time, one of the world’s…

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Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

(b. Oct. 20, 1942, Magdeburg, Ger.) The German developmental geneticist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard was jointly awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with geneticists Eric F. Wieschaus and Edward B. Lewis for their research concerning the mechanisms of early embryonic development. Nüsslein-Volhard, working in tandem with Wieschaus, expanded upon…

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Coco Chanel

(b. Aug. 19, 1883, Saumur, France-d. Jan. 10, 1971, Paris) The French fashion designer Coco Chanel ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes-such as petticoats and corsets-that were prevalent in 19thcentury dress. Among her…

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Billie Jean King

(b. Nov. 22, 1943, Long Beach, Calif., U.S.) The American athlete and tennis player Billie Jean King (née Billie Jean Moffitt) is noteworthy for having elevated the status of women’s professional tennis through her influence and playing style, beginning in the late 1960s. In her career she won 39 major…

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Rosalind Franklin

(b. July 25, 1920, London, Eng.-d. April 16, 1958, London) The British scientist Rosalind Franklin was an unacknowledged contributor to the discovery of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a constituent of chromosomes that serves to encode genetic information. Rosalind Elsie Franklin attended St. Paul’s Girls’ School before studying…

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Nefertiti

(fl. 14th century BCE) Nefertiti, also called Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti. was the queen of Egypt and wife of King Akhenaton (formerly Amenhotep IV; reigned c. 1353–36 BCE ), and she played a prominent role in the cult of the sun god (Aton, or Aten) that he established. Nefertiti’s parentage is unrecorded, but,…

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Golda Meir

(b. May 3, 1898, Kiev [Ukraine]-d. Dec. 8, 1978, Jerusalem, Israel) Golda Meir was one of the founders of the State of Israel and its fourth prime minister (1969–74). Born Goldie Mabovitch, Meir and her family immigrated to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1906. She attended the Milwaukee Normal School (now the…

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Shirin Ebadi

(b. June 21, 1947, Hamadan, Iran) For her efforts to promote democracy and human rights, especially those of women and children in Iran, Shirin Ebadi received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003. She was the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the award. Ebadi was born…

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Violeta Barrios de Chamorro

(b. Oct. 18, 1929, Rivas, Nic.) Newspaper publisher and politician Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was Central America’s first woman president and served as leader of Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997. Violeta Barrios was born into a wealthy Nicaraguan family (her father was a cattle rancher). She received much of her…

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Martha Stewart

(b. Aug. 3, 1941, Jersey City, N.J., U.S.) Martha Stewart, an American entrepreneur and domestic lifestyle innovator, built a catering business into an international media and home furnishing corporation, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Raised in Nutley, N.J., Martha Helen Kostyra grew up in a Polish American household where the…

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