Qurrat al-'Ayn

African Women Warriors


Matilda Joslyn Gage

Qiu Jin

Dolores Jimenez y Muro

Lesbian Shamans

Louise Michel

Cécile Fatiman was a Vodunsi priestess who played a key role in sparking the 1791 revolution against slavery in Haiti.

Abla Pokou led a group of refugees out of the Ashanti empire into Ivory Coast, where she founded the Baulé nation.

Serafina Spicella was "the heroine of the Cilento riots" of Italy 1828. She was defiant under torture and got a 25-year sentence.

Maria Stewart first American woman public speaker, for African-American and women's rights, in 1832-34

Anna Ipatescu, heroine of the 1848 rising of Romania against Russian and Turkish domination

Harriet Tubman is famous as the woman who led hundreds of people out of slavery and as military strategist in the civil war. She said, "There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death. If I could not have one I should have the other, for no man should take me alive."






In 1858 Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, led a major insurrection against the British empire in India.


"My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women who bow their heads and become concubines."

-- Trieu Thi Trinh, Vietnam, 248 CE









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  The Trung Sisters led a revolt against Chinese rule in Vietnam around the year 40 CE. They commanded over 80,000 fighters, many of them women, including 36 of their generals. They fought the Chinese army for three years, seizing 65 fortresses and forcing the mandarin to flee. They died in battle. Temples were built in their honor over a thousand years later.

Dahia al-Kahina was a Berber (some say Jewish) priestess who led the resistance to the Arab invasion of north Africa in the 7th century.

Gudit Isat (Judith the Fire) led Ethiopians to overthrow the Axumite empire in the 10th century. Some say she was Jewish, others pagan. What is clear is that she challenged Christian state power.

María Candelaria founded a temple that the Spanish destroyed in 1712. She responded by organizing a Maya rebellion that united dozens of villages that spoke different dialects. Outgunned by the colonizers, the Maya insurrection was crushed, but never fully defeated. The people refused to give Maria Candelaria up to the Spanish, in spite of reprisals, bribes, and torture.

Gabriela Silang led Filipinos in the Ilocos rebellion against Spanish colonization, 1762-63.. First she fought beside her husband Diego, then became the generala after he was assassinated. She recruited over 2000 fighters and masterminded many successful attacks on Spanish garrisons, using little more than bamboo spears, blowguns and clubs. Captured after the battle of Vigain, she calmly went to her execution.

Policarpa Salvarrieta fought in the Colombian revolution for independence from Spain. She was an orphaned seamstress who became an important strategist and spy. The Spanish put her to death in 1827, but Colombia did get its freedom.

Sarrouania of Azna was a queen of a pagan group of eastern Hausa who stopped a group of French freebooters who had ravaged villages across the Sahel, killing, raping and taking slaves as they went. They met their end in Azna. Sarrouania simply means queen; the lady's personal name has been lost.

Lozen was a seeress and warrior of the Aguas Calientes band of the Apache nation during the terrible years when the U.S. army was forcing her people off their lands. Her gift of second-sight enabled her to know where the troops were approaching and what direction to flee.

Nehanda Nyakasikana was a Shona diviner who became a revolutionary leader in the fight against Rhodesian colonization of Zimbabwe. The British eventually captured her and her ally Kagube, and executed them.

Niuta Teiltelboim was a daring strategist in the Jewish resistance in Nazi-occupied Poland. She once walked into the office of a Gestapo chief disguised as a call girl, executed him in the privacy of his office, and walked out. She was killed during one of her many courageous maneuvers.

Mala Zimetbaum was known as the Runner of Auschwitz. She was a key figure in the resistance inside the concentration camp. Eventually she managed to escape in a men's uniform to tell the outside world about the genocide occuring at Auschwitz. She was recaptured two weeks later and tortured mercilessly, but did not betray any names or information. The Nazis then cremated her alive in August, 1944.

.Meena founded RAWA, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, in 1977. They worked for restoration of the vote (taken away in 1964) and for a secular government, in opposition to religious extremists and the Soviet regime. RAWA set up schools, workshops, orphanages and a hospital. Meena was disappeared and assassinated in February of 1987, but is still honored today.