Famous Women in History Under 30

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When you don't feel like you can really help anybody or make a difference because you're too young or inexperienced, think of these women, all of whom accomplished great things before they turned 30. Think of what your progenitors will think of you 50 or 100 years down the road. For more information and examples, go to the 30 Women Under 30 in 30 Days link at America Comes Alive.

Young and Inspirational Women


Wilma Rudolph

At the age of 20, she was the first American woman to win 3 Olympic gold medals in track and field in 1960. This is particularly amazing due to the face that she contracted contracted polio at the age of 4. After doctors said that Wilma would never walk again, her mother took her to a black medical college 50 miles away twice a week and learned a special massage technique. Determination on the part of Wilma's mother and her siblings made it so that she could walk without her leg brace by the time she was 12. Her determination carried her the rest of the way to the Olympics.


Kitty O’Neil

O’Neil was the first woman to be accepted into Stunts Unlimited (1976),  an organization of Hollywood’s top stunt people, at the age of 29. She was an athlete who would have competed in the Olympics had it not been for spinal meningitis. She went on to race boats, cars, and motorcycles, and set many speed records. In 1977, she completed the longest fall for a woman and the highest attempted fall while afire in a protective suit. O’Neil accomplished all this despite being totally deaf.


Sarah Emma Edmonds

To avoid being found by an abusive father from whom she had escaped, she began dressing as a man when she was about 15. Seeking adventure, she served during the Civil War using the alias Franklin Thompson. Dressed as a man, Edmonds enlisted in the Second Michigan Regiment of Volunteer Infantry with the Union Army and fought at the first Battle of Bull Run. Dressed sometimes as a black man and others as a white Irish peddler woman, she served as a spy behind Confederate lines. A few of her fellow soldiers realized she was a female, but they kept her secret.

Past or present, who are women under 30 that you admire most?

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