20 Baby Names Inspired By Strong Women

Jess Richardson | Jul 8, 2019 Pregnancy
20 Baby Names Inspired By Strong Women
Image: iStock

Baby Names Inspired By Strong Women
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There's nothing better than naming kids after our heroes, is there? We love the idea of starting a child's life off with a little boost in the right direction, and one way to do that is to give him or her a name that evokes someone we deeply admire. Some people may say that naming a kid after someone great -- one of our heroes -- is "saddling" a kid with responsibilities early. But we don't have to choose to see it that way. Sure, not every kid named after a great mathematician is going to be good at math, and that may cause a few family jokes here and there, but that kid is also going to be brave and capable in her own ways -- and isn't that even better? When she ends up pursuing her own path, but with the knowledge that she is inheriting a name and a legacy that has helped guide her, setting a positive intention for her life?

We love names that set the bar high -- as long as we bear in mind that the kids are going to choose their own way as they get older. But we also just love learning about interesting names! For example baby girl names trending around the world give a more global take on which names are popular. We also love powerful baby names for strong girls, which is so the kind of kid we want to raise, right? Or, take inspiration from beautiful places across the globe for names that are more unusual but still recognizable!  

  • KATHERINE

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    Katherine Johnson
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    Katherine Johnson is an African American mathematician, and her calculations made manned spaceflights possible. She even worked on planned missions to Mars. She was portrayed in the film Hidden Figures by Taraji P. Henson. 

  • ELIZABETH

    2
    Elizabeth
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    Queen Elizabeth I of England was the last monarch of the House of Tudor. She was celebrated in her time for being a moderate and just ruler, creating stability in the kingdom that had not been enjoyed under the rule of her father. 

  • SHIRLEY

    3
    Shirley
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    Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress. Her slogan was “Fighting Shirley Chisholm -- Unbought and Unbossed." Eventually, Shirley retired from the House of Representatives after serving for seven years.

  • KOMAKO 

    4
    Komako
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    Komako Kimura was a Japanese activist for women's suffrage. At the age of 14, she escaped from her parents, who had set up an arranged marriage. She became a suffragist, and helped shift perspectives both in the US and Japan.
  • FATIMA

    5
    Fatima
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    Fatima al-Fihri is known for having established the world's oldest still-existing, continually operating educational institution. She used her inheritance after her father died to establish The University of Al Qarawiynn in Morocco. She died in 880, after her university had been operating for more than two decades. 

  • LAKSHMI

    6
    Lakshmi
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    In 1953, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly. She was also the aunt of Indira Gandhi, the first female prime minister of India (Indira is a great name too, by the way). 

  • MARIE

    7
    Marie
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    Marie Curie was a Polish scientist, and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, as well as the first woman to teach as a professor at the University of Paris. She became naturalized as a French citizen and is celebrated in both countries. 

  • MICHELLE

    8
    Michelle
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    Former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama is an author, lawyer, and example of grace and intelligence to us all. As first lady, she pioneered the Let's Move campaign, encouraging our nation's children to eat healthily and exercise. We think that naming a baby after her is a wonderful idea. 

  • FLANNERY

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    Flannery
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    American novelist and short story writer Flannery O'Connor wrote in a style that came to be recognized as the Southern Gothic; she was one of the pioneers of this style. She is considered one of the greatest American authors, and was known for her ability to transform pain and difficulty into works of great beauty. 

  • BILLIE

    10
    Billie
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    Not all strength is shown the same way. When singer Billie Holiday first performed the song "Strange Fruit," which is about lynchings in the American South, she said she feared retaliation. However, she later said that the song reminded her of her father, who was denied medical treatment because of his race. Her art was an act of resistance that echoes still today. 

  • SERENA

    11
    Serena Williams
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    Serena Williams is arguably the greatest athlete in the history of the world, and is regarded generally as the greatest women's tennis player. She was also the highest paid female athlete in 2016, and is amazing all around. 

  • MARY

    12
    Mary
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    Mary Wollstonecraft was the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which was published in 1792, and argued that women were not lesser than men -- a surprising idea in the day, but which was well-received. Her daughter was Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. 

  • LILI

    13
    Lili
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    Queen Lili'uokalani was the first and last queen of Hawaii. Although she only ruled for two years, she is beloved for having fought fiercely to keep Hawaiian independence, and protesting its annexation by the US, despite the long uphill battle. We think the name Lili is a beautiful tribute to her love and ferocity. 

  • BIBI

    14
    Bibi
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    Taramon Bibi was a freedom fighter in Bangladesh, and only one of two female freedom fighters to be honored with the Bir Protik award. She was a remarkable and brave woman, and considered a hero for her work in the war effort. 

  • IRENA

    15
    Irena
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    Irena Sendler was a Polish humanitarian who defied the Nazis and managed to rescue 2,500 Jewish children, smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto and into safe hiding places and to homes where non-Jewish people adopted them. We think naming a baby after her and her bravery is a lovely idea.

  • ADA

    16
    Ada
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    Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace -- known popularly as Ada Lovelace -- was a mathematician who worked on the first concept of the computer, and was perhaps the first computer programmer, seeing more in the system than its originator had. 

  • RACHEL

    17
    Rachel
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    Rachel Carson was a marine biologist who can be credited with spearheading a global interest in environmental conservation with her book, Silent Spring, which brought environmental concerns into the greater American consciousness.  

  • RADEN

    18
    Raden
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    Raden Adjeng Kartini was an Indonesian heroine, and a native of Java. She established schools for girls in Indonesia, and argued for their education. She also helped change the tide of how the colonizing Dutch saw Indonesian people, and especially women, and provided inspiration for the fight for independence. 

  • EVA

    19
    Eva
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    Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, known by her stage name Hedy Lamarr, was a famous film actress in Hollywood. However, she was also an inventor, and developed technology for the US during WWII that prevented torpedoes from being jammed. 

  • WINNIE

    20
    Winnie
    iStock

    Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, known as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was an anti-apartheid activist, politician, and member of the South African house of Parliament. She had a complicated history in government, but earned many awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. We think Winnie is a great name for a baby girl. 

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