Experts finally reveal most ­influential woman

THE master politician. A civil rights activist. A scientist who took on cancer. And an enduring novelist.

Experts have finally narrowed down who they ­believe has been the most ­influential woman of all time.

They say Marie Curie is the female who did the most to change the world.

The scientist, whose discoveries in the field of radiation helped develop X-rays and cancer treatments, beat Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana and Jane Austen in a poll by BBC History Magazine.

 

Marie Curie is the female who did the most to change the world.
Marie Curie is the female who did the most to change the world.

 

Princess Diana
Princess Diana

In second place was Rosa Parks, the civil rights movement activist who protested against racial segregation in the US by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.

British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst came third. Curie was the first to win two Nobel prizes - one in physics and one in chemistry - and coined the word "radiation".

She had a tough childhood in her native Poland, then under oppressive Russian rule.

Her mother died when she was 10 and she had to work as a young governess for six years.

Scientist Marie Curie works in a laboratory in the 19th century photo.
Scientist Marie Curie works in a laboratory in the 19th century photo.

Going on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, she met fellow physicist Pierre Curie, and the pair dedicated their lives to science.

She started cracking the secrets of radioactivity in their primitive laboratory in a shed. Curie helped fit X-ray machines to ambulances in the First World War while working for the Red Cross, and suffered leukaemia from long-term exposure to radiation.

She died in 1934 aged 66.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks

Readers were given a list of 100 women to choose from, selected by experts in 10 different fields of human endeavour.

Some of the less familiar names include computer programmer Ada Lovelace, 19th-century philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts and crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, who helped crack DNA.

Other figures in the top 20 include early feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, women's rights activist Josephine Butler and queen Eleanor of Aquitaine - one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages.

World War 1914-1918 Adela Pankhurst, daughter of British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
World War 1914-1918 Adela Pankhurst, daughter of British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
British politician former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher
British politician former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher


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