15 Smart Women Who Are Modern Icons

Let these amazing women define what smart really means.
by Melanie Santiago   |  Jun 18, 2016
Image: Tyler Feder via Pinterest
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  1. J.K. Rowling

We're all familiar with the author of the Harry Potter series which launched a huge movie enterprise among other creative avenues to bring the magic to life, but did you know her novel was rejected several times before it was published? Get a preview of her brilliance from this pin.

  1. Margaret Hamilton

A computer scientist and systems engineer, Hamilton was part of the team who lead the on-board flight software for Apollo 11 which launched the first man on the moon in 1969. Read more about her story and breaking gender barriers from the site.

  1. Dilma Rousseff

Taking office is never an easy task, but leading a nation and going against stereotypes at the same time, is a challenge that Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff takes on daily.

  1. Aung San Suu Kyi

"The Lady" of Burma spent 15 years under house arrest after winning her nation's elections only to have it nullified by their generals. Even after more than a decade of confinement, she's already quick to get back working on democracy and fighting for human rights.

  1. Lena Dunham

She's one of today's most honest and empowering voices for women. Director, producer, writer and actress for the HBO series Girls and author of Not That Kind of Girl, she has shown us that you have to respect, accept, and love yourself first.

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  1. Katheryn Bigelow

She is the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director for the film Hurt Locker. She then directed one of her more controversial movies such as Zero Dark Thirty. Learn more about her courage in the filmmaking industry here.

  1. Maya Angelou

She brought courage, strength and determination in the form of pen and paper, dance, and song in a time when skin color dictated who you were. Here are 17 amazing quotes from her to inspire you.

  1. Malala Yousafzai

The first Pakistani woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and guess what? She's only seventeen!

  1. Emma Watson

Known to many as the intellectual Hermione, her intelligence off screen makes her an empowering UN ambassador who fights for women's rights. A well-educated icon who is also an avid book reader so be sure check out her book recommendations here.

  1. Sheryl Sandberg

The current COO of Facebook also held the title of VP for Google and Chief of Staff of the US Secretary of Treasury. No wonder people look up to her for leadership and secrets to success! She also plays an important example of women in top positions. Check out this piece of breaking gender status quo from this pin.

  1. Marissa Mayer

Previously an executive at Google, she's now the CEO of Yahoo. She's a powerful force to be dealt with and she shares 4 life lessons in the workplace.

  1. Iris Apfel

A fashion icon who, at the age of 93 is busier than ever with her collab with MAC, a fashion and accessories line, and a recent documentary on her life Iris. She's the embodiment of never letting your passion die. Get to know more about that here.

  1. Frida Kahlo

A Mexican artist whose biographical work embodied true depictions of the female form, her views in life are mixed with sorrow and love, and provide real insight in life.

  1. Sophia Amoruso

You might recognize her name beside the phrase #GIRLBOSS of which she is the author of aside from being the CEO of Nasty Gal. But we know that success never comes easy, this interview reveals her struggles and success tips for being the woman on top that she is.

  1. YOU

Yes, Candy Girl, you are on this list and for the simple reason that you are one smart young lady. Don't let women on this list intimidate you, instead let their story inspire you to follow you own passion in whatever field it might be because you can.

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About the author
Melanie Santiago
Intern, Contributing Writer
Frustrated painter and writer, Melanie also takes time to drop by candymag.com and share the stories she comes across.
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