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Monday, August 20, 2018, 

Marie Curie named most influential woman in history by poll

Marie Curie named most influential woman in history by poll

London, 10 August 2018 (MIA) - Pioneering physicist and chemist Marie Curie has been named the most influential woman in history in a list of 100 female trailblazers.

The list was compiled by BBC History magazine after the publication conducted a poll among its readers.

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks came second in the list of 100 women who’ve changed the world, with other entrants including writer Mary Wollstonecraft, Celtic queen Boudica and Diana, Princess of Wales, The Independent reads.

Among Curie’s many achievements, she became the first person to win two Nobel prizes, coined the term radioactivity and discovered two elements, polonium and radium.

For the poll, BBC History asked for experts from 10 different fields to nominate 10 significant women each from the history books, before providing its readers with the list of 100 women to rank.

Curie was nominated by Patricia Fara, president of the British Society for the History of Science.

“She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize in physics, first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person - note the use of person there, not woman - to win a second Nobel prize,” Fara says.

“The odds were always stacked against her. In Poland her patriotic family suffered under a Russian regime. In France she was regarded with suspicion as a foreigner - and of course, wherever she went, she was discriminated against as a woman.”

The women who made it onto the list hailed from many different fields, including literature, politics and sport, many of which were deemed as being rebellious in their times.

Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female Prime Minister, placed sixth on the list, with suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst coming in third.

Charlotte Hodgman, deputy editor of BBC History magazine, explains the significance of the list coming out on the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

“The poll has shone a light on some truly extraordinary women from history, many of whose achievements and talents were overlooked in their own lifetimes,” she says.

“It is fitting that, in a year that has seen the 100th anniversary of the parliamentary Act that gave the vote to many British women, suffrage campaigners Emmeline Pankhurst and Josephine Butler have been voted into the top 20.

“Whilst it is unsurprising to see queens such as Victoria and Eleanor of Aquitaine place high, it is refreshing to see some more unfamiliar names make the top 20, such as 19th-Century philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts. I’m sure the full list will provoke conversation and debate.” 

Here are the top 20 entries from BBC History magazine’s '100 women who changed the world':

1. Marie Curie
2. Rosa Parks
3. Emmeline Pankhurst
4. Ada Lovelace
5. Rosalind Franklin
6. Margaret Thatcher
7. Angela Burdett-Coutts
8. Mary Wollstonecraft
9. Florence Nightingale
10. Marie Stopes
11. Eleanor of Aquitaine
12. The Virgin Mary
13. Jane Austen
14. Boudicca
15. Diana, Princess of Wales
16. Amelia Earhart
17. Queen Victoria
18. Josephine Butler
19. Mary Seacole
20. Mother Teresa sk/09:21

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