How Much Do You Know About History's Most Badass Females?
About This Quiz
History has largely been written by men, leaving women sitting on the sidelines. Throughout the centuries, however, some badass females refused to be ignored, managing to get their stories told despite the odds. Take our quiz to see how much you know about these renegade women who changed the world.
Joan of Arc relied on her faith as she fought to protect which country from England during the 100 Years War?
Joan of Arc was just a teen, living in rural France, when she started having divine visions. Her faith helped her to lead her people to defend France against England. She was burned at the stake at the age of 19, but her name lives on, thanks to her bravery in life.
Which of these modern conveniences do we have, thanks to Margaret Sanger?
In a time when women weren't even allowed to vote -- much less control their own reproductive health -- Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in 1916. You may know her organization today as Planned Parenthood.
Which of these elements did Marie Curie discover?
At the start of the 20th century, when most women were barred from science labs, Marie Curie discovered both radium and polonium -- and went on to win two Nobel Prizes, in 1903 and 1911.
What skill was Amelia Earhart known for?
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman -- and the second person ever -- to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was lost in 1937 while attempting a solo trip around the world.
Jeannette Rankin was the first U.S. woman to accomplish what feat?
Running on a pro-suffrage platform, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to get elected to the U.S. Congress in 1917. She bravely stood up to many of her fellow politicians by voting against U.S. involvement in WWI, and ended up serving a second term from 1941 to 1942.
Nakano Takeko is remembered for her participation in the Boshin War, which took place in which country?
Nakano Takeko was a brave female warrior who fought in the Boshin War, a civil battle within Japan. When she was fatally shot, she asked her sister to cut off her head and bury it so her enemies couldn't claim it as a trophy.
Where were you most likely to meet Anne Bonny back in the 18th century?
Anne Bonny was a ruthless Irish pirate. She ditched her sailor hubby to take off with pirate Jack Rackham, then sailed the seas with him, plundering and killing. When she was done with life at sea, she settled in Charleston and lived happily ever after, managing to get off pretty much scot-free despite her life of crime.
Cleopatra was a badass Queen from which empire?
Cleopatra took over the Egyptian throne in 51 B.C. at the age of 18. She was known as a great leader and wasn't afraid to get friendly with other world leaders to advance her kingdom -- hence her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.
Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever do this in 2014.
Malala Yousafzi grew up in Pakistan under the Taliban and spent her youth campaigning for education. She survived a shot to the head in 2012 and went on to win the Nobel Peace prize in 2014 -- making her the youngest person to ever receive the honor.
Valentina Tereshkova is known for her work in what field?
Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963, when she orbited the Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6.
Hedy Lamarr not only conquered Hollywood, but also invented an early version of what technology?
Not content to just be gorgeous and famous, Hedy Lamarr came up with an early version of Wi-Fi, which allowed the military to control weapons and prevent the enemy from intercepting their signals.
What year did Victoria Woodhull become the first U.S. woman to run for president?
Running under the Equal Rights Party, Woodhull ran for the nation's top office in 1872. She didn't win, but it was still an awfully badass thing to do at a time when women weren't even allowed to vote.
What tough lady, born Phoebe Ann Moses, was known for her sharp-shooting skills?
Annie Oakley could shoot a target over her shoulder, using only the reflection in a hand mirror as her guide. She toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to the delight of fans.
Which war transformed Florence Nightingale into a nursing legend?
The Crimean War raged from 1853 to 1856. During those brutal years, a British nurse named Florence Nightingale worked tirelessly to improve sanitation on medical sites around the battlefield. Known as the Lady with the Lamp, she later started a school for nursing.
Which of these was a bad place to tangle with Ms. Rosa Parks?
Rosa Parks became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement when she refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white man, back in 1955. Her brave action spurred a bus boycott that helped bring an end to segregation.
Which daughter of Henry VIII ruled England for a whopping 44 years in the 16th century?
Elizabeth I got a rough start in life; her father, Henry VIII, had her mother Anne Boleyn beheaded when Elizabeth was only two years old. The tough young girl went on to become Queen of England, leading her country through a Golden Age of prosperity and culture.
What war made Edith Cavell a legend in the world of medicine?
British nurse Edith Cavell worked to help injured soldiers in German-occupied Belgium during WWI. Unfortunately, the Germans saw her willingness to treat anyone in need as treason and executed her in 1915. Her name lives on, thanks to her brave contributions to her field.
Which of these is used to describe Harriet Tubman's escape network for slaves?
Harriet Tubman escaped a brutal life as a slave in Maryland, only to return to the south more than 19 times to help other slaves make it safely to freedom. The network of escape routes she used is now known as the Underground Railroad. Fun fact -- Tubman never lost a fugitive on any of her attempts, giving her a 100 percent success rate, even with a hefty bounty on her head.
What made Helen Keller's 1904 college degree so remarkable?
Helen Keller became the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college in 1904. While this is pretty badass in itself, her tutor Anne Sullivan was pretty tough herself, developing her own methods for teaching an isolated deaf-blind girl to communicate with the outside world.
Indian warrior Khutulun warned that any man who wished to marry her had to do what?
Khutulun was the daughter of Indian ruler Kaidu -- cousin to Kublai Khan -- and was such a fierce warrior that even Marco Polo took note of her in his writings. This 13th-century warrior princess declared that any man who wished to marry her had to beat her at wrestling, and many who took on the challenge lost in the attempt.
What did Kathrine Switzer do to get her name in the record books?
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. People were so outraged that a spectator physically pushed her off the course. She's finished the race numerous times since then, including a run in 2017 at the age of 70.
Queen Boudicca led the Iceni people in a battle against Roman rule, to protect what region?
Celtic Queen Boudicca helped her people resist Roman rule in what is now eastern England, back in 60 A.D. As part of her strategy to keep the Romans out of power, she recruited an army and burned London to the ground.
In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first U.S. woman to do what?
Despite massive resistance from her fellow students, Elizabeth Blackwell earned her degree from Geneva Medical College in 1849, becoming America's first female doctor. Her sister Emily became the third U.S. woman to graduate medical school a few years later. Looks like badassery runs in the family.
Clara Barton helped to found what agency back in the 19th century?
Known as the Angel of the Battlefield, nurse Clara Barton founded the Red Cross back in 1881.
Hatshepsut was the longest-reigning female ruler of what country?
Hatshepsut ruled Egypt starting in 1473 B.C., and went on to become the country's longest-reigning female leader. She is known for having artists and historians depict her as a male, so there are few accurate representations of this brave ruler.
Which field is Mary Ann Bickerdyke associated with?
At a time when wartime medical care was crude and deadly, Mary Ann Bickerdyke helped establish more than 300 field hospitals during the Civil War. She fought for improved sanitation and care standards. She later became known for her tireless fight for veterans' rights.
What did Madam C.J. Walker sell to become America's first black female millionaire?
By creating a line of hair care products made for women of color, Madame C.J. Walker became America's first black female millionaire. She used much of her money to fund scholarships and donate to organizations that fought for equality.
Which country did Catherine the Great rule?
Catherine II, known as "the Great," ruled Russia for 34 years during the 18th century. She was the country's longest-reigning female leader, and led the country through a Golden Age of culture and modernization.
What did the Night Witches do that made them so badass?
The Soviet Union's 588th Night Bomber Bridgade, aka the Night Witches, dropped bombs on the Nazis during WWII. The Soviets were the first to allow women to not only fly planes in wartime but also participate in combat.
Which country did mighty pirate Ching Shih hail from?
Ching Shih and her husband led swashbuckling crews of up to 80,000 pirates in the 19th century, striking terror in people around the China Sea. When she was finally stopped by the Portuguese Navy, she managed to stay out of trouble and went on to open up a gambling house.
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!