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Women's Day: Top 100 coolest women of all time

India | | March 8, 2011, 2:44 pm
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Famous English traveler, administrator in Arabia, and a writer of renown.

Famous English traveler, administrator in Arabia, and a writer of renown.

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The greatest French actress of the later 19th century.

The greatest French actress of the later 19th century.

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Myanmar opposition leader and winner in 1991 of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Myanmar opposition leader and winner in 1991 of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

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The first women to own her own talk show.

The first women to own her own talk show.

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Iconic comedy star of American television, best remembered for her classic television comedy series 'I Love Lucy'.

Iconic comedy star of American television, best remembered for her classic television comedy series 'I Love Lucy'.

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She served as US ambassador to the United Nations (1993–97) and was the first woman to hold the cabinet post of US secretary of state (1997–2001).

She served as US ambassador to the United Nations (1993–97) and was the first woman to hold the cabinet post of US secretary of state (1997–2001).

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Conductor, organist, and one of the most influential teachers of musical composition of the 20th century.

Conductor, organist, and one of the most influential teachers of musical composition of the 20th century.

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English novelist, noted for writing narratives of contemporary women in conflict with her natural desires and social condition.

English novelist, noted for writing narratives of contemporary women in conflict with her natural desires and social condition.

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American politician, the first African American woman to be elected to the US Congress.

American politician, the first African American woman to be elected to the US Congress.

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First female prime minister of India. She was in power from between 1966-77 and 1980-84.

First female prime minister of India. She was in power from between 1966-77 and 1980-84.

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Polish-born French physicist, famous for her work on radioactivity and winner of the Nobel Prize.

Polish-born French physicist, famous for her work on radioactivity and winner of the Nobel Prize.

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She devoted her life to the service of the poor and dispossessed.

She devoted her life to the service of the poor and dispossessed.

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Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1952.

Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1952.

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She was the first woman to pilot and, later, to command a US space shuttle.

She was the first woman to pilot and, later, to command a US space shuttle.

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A volatile American actress, whose unbridled intensity kept her at the top of her profession for 50 years.

A volatile American actress, whose unbridled intensity kept her at the top of her profession for 50 years.

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First woman to swim the English Channel.

First woman to swim the English Channel.

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International anarchist who conducted leftist activities in the United States from about 1890 to 1917.

International anarchist who conducted leftist activities in the United States from about 1890 to 1917.

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Indian political leader and diplomat, one of the world's leading women in public life in the 20th century.

Indian political leader and diplomat, one of the world's leading women in public life in the 20th century.

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One of the most glamorous and popular motion-picture stars of the 1920s and '30s who is best known for her portrayals of strong-willed heroines.

One of the most glamorous and popular motion-picture stars of the 1920s and '30s who is best known for her portrayals of strong-willed heroines.

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Australian swimmer, the first woman swimmer to win gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games (1956, 1960, 1964).

Australian swimmer, the first woman swimmer to win gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games (1956, 1960, 1964).

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She was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country.

She was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country.

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For becoming one of the most iconic film legends of all time.

For becoming one of the most iconic film legends of all time.

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Kenyan politician and environmental activist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace. She was the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Kenyan politician and environmental activist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace. She was the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize.

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For being the first woman to be elected as the Chief Minister of an Indian state.

For being the first woman to be elected as the Chief Minister of an Indian state.

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For being the commander of the Indian National Army's Rani of Jhansi Regiment and showing that Indian women can also lead from the front in the battlefield.

For being the commander of the Indian National Army's Rani of Jhansi Regiment and showing that Indian women can also lead from the front in the battlefield.

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American football (soccer) player, who became the first international star of the women's game.

American football (soccer) player, who became the first international star of the women's game.

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The author of the phenomenal best selling Harry Potter series.

The author of the phenomenal best selling Harry Potter series.

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South African novelist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.

South African novelist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.

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The most successful female musician of all time.

The most successful female musician of all time.

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For her resilience in testing times. Anne Frank's Diary is one of the most widely read books in the world.

For her resilience in testing times. Anne Frank's Diary is one of the most widely read books in the world.

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The first female Prime minister of Great Britain.

The first female Prime minister of Great Britain.

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For leading from the front for social causes and her relentless struggle for the rights of the people displaced by dams.

For leading from the front for social causes and her relentless struggle for the rights of the people displaced by dams.

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For being the first Indian woman IPS officer and her continious committment towards social causes.

For being the first Indian woman IPS officer and her continious committment towards social causes.

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She combined the appeal of a Royal princess with her humanitarian charity work. Best loved royal figure till date.

She combined the appeal of a Royal princess with her humanitarian charity work. Best loved royal figure till date.

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For going where no Indian woman had gone before, to the top of the Mount Everest.

For going where no Indian woman had gone before, to the top of the Mount Everest.

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Hindu mystic and poet whose lyrical songs of devotion to the god Krishna are widely popular in India.

Hindu mystic and poet whose lyrical songs of devotion to the god Krishna are widely popular in India.

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National heroine of France, a peasant girl who led the French army in a momentous victory at Orleans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years' War.

National heroine of France, a peasant girl who led the French army in a momentous victory at Orleans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years' War.

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Dancer and courtesan whose name has become a synonym for the seductive female spy.

Dancer and courtesan whose name has become a synonym for the seductive female spy.

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Foundational philosopher of modern nursing, statistician, and social reformer.

Foundational philosopher of modern nursing, statistician, and social reformer.

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For being one of the stalwarts of India's freedom movement and being the first woman president of the Indian National Congress and Governor of Uttar Pradesh. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

For being one of the stalwarts of India's freedom movement and being the first woman president of the Indian National Congress and Governor of Uttar Pradesh. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Soviet cosmonaut, the first woman to travel into space.

Soviet cosmonaut, the first woman to travel into space.

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A legal luminary and the first female judge of the Supreme Court of India.

A legal luminary and the first female judge of the Supreme Court of India.

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American author and educator who was blind and deaf.

American author and educator who was blind and deaf.

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Mexican painter noted for her intense, brilliantly coloured self-portraits.

Mexican painter noted for her intense, brilliantly coloured self-portraits.

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Italian educator and originator of the educational system that bears her name. The Montessori system is based on belief in the child's creative potential, his drive to learn, and his right to be treated as an individual.

Italian educator and originator of the educational system that bears her name. The Montessori system is based on belief in the child's creative potential, his drive to learn, and his right to be treated as an individual.

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American writer noted for her examination of the experience within the black community. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

American writer noted for her examination of the experience within the black community. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

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Influential English writer whose novels, through their approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre.

Influential English writer whose novels, through their approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre.

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African American civil rights activist whose refusal to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white man started the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, the precursor to the US civil rights movement.

African American civil rights activist whose refusal to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white man started the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, the precursor to the US civil rights movement.

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British scientist who contributed to the discovery of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

British scientist who contributed to the discovery of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

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The world's first woman prime minister. She left office in 1965 but returned to serve two more terms (1970–77, 1994–2000) as prime minister of Sri Lanka.

The world's first woman prime minister. She left office in 1965 but returned to serve two more terms (1970–77, 1994–2000) as prime minister of Sri Lanka.

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Italian fashion designer and founder of the Versace clothing brand.

Italian fashion designer and founder of the Versace clothing brand.

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American cooking expert, author, and television personality noted for her promotion of traditional French cuisine.

American cooking expert, author, and television personality noted for her promotion of traditional French cuisine.

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Russian-American novelist known for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.

Russian-American novelist known for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.

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The 'First Lady' of Indian cinema and pioneer in making cinema a socially acceptable career for Indian women.

The 'First Lady' of Indian cinema and pioneer in making cinema a socially acceptable career for Indian women.

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The first woman Air Vice Marshall of the Indian Air Force.

The first woman Air Vice Marshall of the Indian Air Force.

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The first Indian woman to be promoted as a three-star general in the Indian Army and then also became the Indian Navy's first female vice-admiral.

The first Indian woman to be promoted as a three-star general in the Indian Army and then also became the Indian Navy's first female vice-admiral.

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Outstanding French writer of the first half of the 20th century, whose best novels, are remarkable for their command of sensual description.

Outstanding French writer of the first half of the 20th century, whose best novels, are remarkable for their command of sensual description.

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Iranian lawyer, writer, and teacher, who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran.

Iranian lawyer, writer, and teacher, who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran.

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American aviator, and the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean.

American aviator, and the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean.

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A pioneer in Indian art who cleared the path for generations of woman artists to follow.

A pioneer in Indian art who cleared the path for generations of woman artists to follow.

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One of the doyennes of Indian literature.

One of the doyennes of Indian literature.

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The first Indian woman photojournalist.

The first Indian woman photojournalist.

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The first Indian woman IAS officer.

The first Indian woman IAS officer.

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For being the first Indian woman to win a major international beauty pageant. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

For being the first Indian woman to win a major international beauty pageant. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

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Bulgarian-born French psychoanalyst and educator, best known for her writings on philosophical feminism.

Bulgarian-born French psychoanalyst and educator, best known for her writings on philosophical feminism.

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South African social worker and activist considered by many black South Africans to be the 'Mother of the Nation.'

South African social worker and activist considered by many black South Africans to be the 'Mother of the Nation.'

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British ethologist, known for her exceptionally detailed and long-term research on the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.

British ethologist, known for her exceptionally detailed and long-term research on the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.

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The first and only reigning Hawaiian queen and the last Hawaiian sovereign to govern the islands.

The first and only reigning Hawaiian queen and the last Hawaiian sovereign to govern the islands.

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English author of children's books, who created Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, and other animal characters.

English author of children's books, who created Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, and other animal characters.

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The first woman president of the world's largest democracy. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The first woman president of the world's largest democracy. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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The first Indian woman to fly a plane, back in 1936.

The first Indian woman to fly a plane, back in 1936.

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She dedicated her life for the betterment of Indian women.

She dedicated her life for the betterment of Indian women.

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She is the golden voice of India. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

She is the golden voice of India. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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The first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal.

The first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal.

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One of the most respected costume designers in Indian cinema and the first Indian to win an Oscar.

One of the most respected costume designers in Indian cinema and the first Indian to win an Oscar.

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American pop singer-songwriter and iconic fashionista known for dressing bizzarely.

American pop singer-songwriter and iconic fashionista known for dressing bizzarely.

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Third wife of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and the most influential woman in the People's Republic of China for a while until her downfall in 1976, after Mao's death.

Third wife of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and the most influential woman in the People's Republic of China for a while until her downfall in 1976, after Mao's death.

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French tennis player and six-time Wimbledon champion in both singles and doubles competition. She changed the nature of women's tennis and positioned her as the dominant women's amateur player from 1919 until 1926, when she turned professional.

French tennis player and six-time Wimbledon champion in both singles and doubles competition. She changed the nature of women's tennis and positioned her as the dominant women's amateur player from 1919 until 1926, when she turned professional.

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English mathematician, an associate of Charles Babbage, for whose prototype of a digital computer she created a program. She has been called the first computer programmer.

English mathematician, an associate of Charles Babbage, for whose prototype of a digital computer she created a program. She has been called the first computer programmer.

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American lyric poet who lived in seclusion and commanded a singular brilliance of style and integrity of vision.

American lyric poet who lived in seclusion and commanded a singular brilliance of style and integrity of vision.

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American physician, anesthesiologist, and medical researcher who developed the Apgar Score System, a method of evaluating an infant shortly after birth to assess its well-being and to determine if any immediate medical intervention is required.

American physician, anesthesiologist, and medical researcher who developed the Apgar Score System, a method of evaluating an infant shortly after birth to assess its well-being and to determine if any immediate medical intervention is required.

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Hungarian-born American chess player who won the women's world championship in 1996 from Xie Jun of China.

Hungarian-born American chess player who won the women's world championship in 1996 from Xie Jun of China.

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German mathematician whose innovations in higher algebra gained her recognition as the most creative abstract algebraist of modern times.

German mathematician whose innovations in higher algebra gained her recognition as the most creative abstract algebraist of modern times.

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American first lady, the wife of Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States. She is the first African American first lady.

American first lady, the wife of Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States. She is the first African American first lady.

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American politician who became the first woman elected to the US Senate.

American politician who became the first woman elected to the US Senate.

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87/ 101
English Romantic novelist best known as the author of 'Frankenstein.'

English Romantic novelist best known as the author of 'Frankenstein.'

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American singer and one of the greatest of blues vocalists.

American singer and one of the greatest of blues vocalists.

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Polish poet whose intelligent and empathic explorations of philosophical, moral, and ethical issues won her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

Polish poet whose intelligent and empathic explorations of philosophical, moral, and ethical issues won her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

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American sportswoman, one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

American sportswoman, one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

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Unconventional American reformer, who at various times championed such diverse causes as woman suffrage, free love, mystical socialism, and the Greenback movement.

Unconventional American reformer, who at various times championed such diverse causes as woman suffrage, free love, mystical socialism, and the Greenback movement.

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Russian ballerina, the most celebrated dancer of her time.

Russian ballerina, the most celebrated dancer of her time.

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American dancer whose teaching and performances helped free ballet from its conservative restrictions and presaged the development of modern expressive dance.

American dancer whose teaching and performances helped free ballet from its conservative restrictions and presaged the development of modern expressive dance.

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Newspaper publisher and politician who served as president of Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997.

Newspaper publisher and politician who served as president of Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997.

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95/ 101
American athlete, considered by many to be the greatest female athlete ever.

American athlete, considered by many to be the greatest female athlete ever.

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French physical chemist, who along with her husband jointly won the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their discovery of new radioactive isotopes prepared artificially.

French physical chemist, who along with her husband jointly won the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their discovery of new radioactive isotopes prepared artificially.

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American first lady (1961–63), the wife of John F Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, who was noted for her style and elegance.

American first lady (1961–63), the wife of John F Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, who was noted for her style and elegance.

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Greek actress and political activist who was the minister of culture in her country's first socialist government (1981).

Greek actress and political activist who was the minister of culture in her country's first socialist government (1981).

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Chilean poet, who in 1945 became the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Chilean poet, who in 1945 became the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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They changed the way the world looked at women. They flew planes, swam across the English Channel, decoded the DNA, enthralled cinemagoers and commanded respect in every field traditionally dominated by men. On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, here's our top 100 coolest women of all time. The names are in no particular order. By: Ruchira Singh, Rituparna Chatterjee and Soumyadip Choudhury.

They changed the way the world looked at women. They flew planes, swam across the English Channel, decoded the DNA, enthralled cinemagoers and commanded respect in every field traditionally dominated by men. On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, here's our top 100 coolest women of all time. The names are in no particular order. By: Ruchira Singh, Rituparna Chatterjee and Soumyadip Choudhury.

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She was the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court.

She was the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court.

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