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16 of History's Most Rebellious Women - Photo Essays

In honor of International Women's Day, TIME looks at some unlikely revolutionaries, from Joan of Arc to Harriet Tubman and a modern-day mother of three who became a key democracy activist in Yemen
  • Claire O'Brien

    Phoolan Devi began a streak of violent robberies across northern and central India, targeting upper castes. In 1981 she led her gang of bandits to massacre more than 20 men in the high-caste village where her former lover was killed.

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Phoolan Devi, India's Bandit Queen, was elected to parliament after overcoming a life of poverty and crime.

harriet tubman, born a slave, made 19 missions to free slaves and started the underground railroad. First woman to lead a military expedition during the civil war and freed 700 slaves on that mission. Ended her career as a revolutionary firghting for women's rights in NYC.

susan b. anthony, early women's right advocate. Started the women's suffrage movement, which eventually led to women getting the right to vote.

No one embodied the expression "Well-behaved women rarely make history" quite like Emmeline Pankhurst. As the leader of Britain's women's-suffrage movement, Pankhurst was not only a pioneer of women's rights in the U.K. but also a staunch advocate of public revolt. Encouraged by her father, Pankhurst's interest in the suffrage movement began at a young age. At 20 she wed Richard Pankhurst, a lawyer who encouraged her endeavors with the Women's Franchise League....

tawakul karman, 32 year-old mother of 3, chairman of Women Journalists Without Chains, in Yemen. A leader in defending human rights and freedom of expression. Led the movement for Yemen president Saleh to step down.

Corazon Aquino, the Philippines A self-proclaimed "plain housewife," Corazon Aquino led the Philippines' 1986 "people power" revolution, toppling autocrat Ferdinand Marcos after 20 years of rule. Aquino's journey from Senator's wife to President of the Philippines began with the 1983 assassination of her husband Benigno Aquino Jr., who had returned from exile in the U.S. to run against Marcos.

golda meir, Israel's prime minister during the 1973 yom kippur war. During the 40's, primary negotiator and leader in movement for Israel's statehood.

The "Bandit Queen", was an Indian dacoit (bandit) and later a politician. After being gang-raped by some upper-caste members of her village, Phoolan Devi turned a bandit, and authorised the killing of 22 upper-caste villagers in 1981. Following this, she became notorious across India as a bandit. Most of her crimes were committed seeking justice for women's suffering, particularly those in the unfortunate lowest castes.

Also known as the Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi married at the age 11 to a man three times her age, but was abandoned by her husband and her family after the marriage broke down. In her 20s she was subjected to numerous sexual assaults and turned to a life of crime, wherein she murdered 22 men in revenge for being gang raped.

All hindus believe in the the three-in-one god, the caste system, karma, reincarnation and nirvana. To find salvation, hindus strive for Moksha which can be reached in 4 ways- The Way of Action, the Way of Knowledge, the Way of Devotion,and the Royal Road. To be accepted as a Hindu, you must absolutely believe in the nature of the Vedas to understand the unknown.

Queen Marie José, was the last Queen of Italy - Her 35-day tenure as queen earned her the affectionate nickname 'the May Queen'

Queen Victoria at Aston Hall. I have never seen a picture of Queen Victoria looking so much like her descendant Queen Elizabeth!