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50 of the world’s most admired female figures

50 of the world’s most admired female figures
Reader's Digest

We recently asked our readers to nominate their most admired female figures, past and present – and as usual they did not disappoint. From scientists to war heroes, activists, Nobel Prize-winners, entertainers, leaders and more, these are just a few of the most beloved and inspirational women in the world – who lead by example and have motivated countless people to strive for better in their everyday lives.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana
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“With her unique combination of vulnerability and power, Princess Diana was a movie star who didn’t have to appear in a movie, as her whole life WAS a movie. She became the patron saint of victims, the sick, the discriminated and the homeless. All ethnic, sexual and social outsiders of one type or another identified with her.” – Peggy Anderson

“Princess Diana always held her head high and proud and stood by what she was passionate about. She was the People’s Princess for a reason.” – Jayne Jeacocke

“Princess Diana is a woman I admire. A woman who had gone into a marriage where it may have been doomed from the beginning. A person who was known and loved the world over.” – Shelley Garebarski

To dive deeper, check out these 12 “facts” about Princess Diana that just aren’t true.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey
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“Oprah Winfrey, an empathetic, street-smart woman who brings an unmatched range of people and information into people’s lives. From pop-culture icons to unknown activists from half a world away, from childhood abuse survivors, Oprah defeated poverty, bias and self-doubt by taking orders from no-one and talking to all, as equals.” – Frances Ferguson

“Oprah, because she genuinely cares about people and our world.” –Ann Burden-Smith

“Oprah Winfrey, for embracing life to the fullest regardless of race, gender, generation, opinion or belief.” – Margaret Moore

“’Turn your wounds to Wisdom’… in one sentence, Oprah Winfrey inspires minds and changes lives!” – Amanda Gorton

“Cliché, but Oprah. To come from such a background, to be so driven, so intelligent, so charismatic, so simply amazing, I find her energy, her passion, everything about her admirable and inspiring.” – Julie Vulin

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa
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“Mother Teresa devoted her whole life to caring for the poor and the ill. Never did she put her own needs first. Always she put their needs before her own, devoting to charities and hospitals. She was an incredibly humble, caring, loving woman.” – Debra Moody

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
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“Marilyn Monroe was beautiful and didn’t care what others thought or said.” – Nicola Potter

Fatou Bensouda

Fatou Bensouda
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Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. Every day she fights for justice for victims of genocide and crimes against humanity.” – Natalie Hodgson

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Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II
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“The Queen has been quietly working hard with her charities and still keeping her family together and we always see her in public keeping a smile on her face. It must be hard sometimes, taking the criticism that comes with living in a slightly different type of world from the rest of us. There is strength within in all of us as females, in all walks of life, to strive to be strong but still have time to care.” – Rachel Daly

“Queen Elizabeth II is my most admired figure as she always acts ladylike. She dresses smartly, still works, never seems like she is sick to death of meeting people, and has never had any scandals about herself over all her years – and she is still married to the same man. What an amazing lady she is!” – Shirley Mastropasqua

Want to know more? Here are 16 things that will happen once Queen Elizabeth II dies, and 9 foods she would never, ever eat.

Princess Mary of Denmark

Princess Mary of Denmark
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“Worker for a wide variety of charities and causes, excellent mum to four, has used her royal status for good, fundraises for UNICEF, which was struggling to feed millions of starving Somalis.” – Andreea Nicolescu

Bette Davis

Bette Davis
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“How beautiful was Bette? And a fabulous actress. And those eyes! R.I.P.” – Michele Roe

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria
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“Queen Victoria oversaw so many positive changes for general life and did it when women were rated as second class. She rose above all of that and became admired by all. Easily one of the most admired women in history.” – Andrew Hicks

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