Women Who Changed the World
Their Lives, Challenges, and Accomplishments through History
by Candice Goucher, Editor
January 2022, 1312pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6824-5
$471, £363, 410€, A646
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6825-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Ignoring and silencing the contributions of women to world history has created bias in the historical record, but women across the ages and around the globe have made valuable contributions to politics, science, the arts, and more.

This indispensable reference work provides readers with the tools to reimagine world history through the lens of women's lived experiences. Learning how women changed the world will change the ways the world looks at the past.

Women Who Changed the World: Their Lives, Challenges, and Accomplishments through History features 200 biographies of notable women and offers readers an opportunity to explore the global past from a gendered perspective. The women featured in this four-volume set cover the full sweep of history, from our ancestral forbearer “Lucy” to today’s tennis phenoms Venus and Serena Williams.

Every walk of life is represented in these pages, from powerful monarchs and politicians to talented artists and writers, from inquisitive scientists to outspoken activists. Each biography follows a standardized format, recounting the woman’s life and accomplishments, discussing the challenges she faced within her particular time and place in history, and exploring the lasting legacy she left. A chronological listing of biographies makes it easy for readers to zero in on particular time periods, while a further reading list at the end of each essay serves as a gateway to further exploration and study. High-interest sidebars accompany many of the biographies, offering more nuanced glimpses into the lives of these fascinating women.


  • Provides full global coverage of women in world history, from earliest to contemporary times
  • Covers the lives of famous and less-familiar women
  • Presents each woman's life within the larger context of the era and region in which she lived
  • Employs the conventional written sources of historians as well as the latest archeological and genetic research tools provided by science
  • Includes numerous sidebars that highlight additional information of particular interest to readers
Candice Goucher, PhD, is Professor Emerita of History at Washington State University. She is co-author of three world histories and co-editor of The Cambridge World History, Volume II: A World with Agriculture, 12,000 BCE–500 CE and Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths. Her book Congotay! Congotay!: A Global History of Caribbean Food won the Gourmand Award for Best Book on the Caribbean. She received the Pioneer in World History Award for lifetime achievement from the World History Association in 2015.


Top 10 Reference List of 2022—Booklist, May 15, 2022


"The overall tone is professional and engaging, the work is browseable, and the stories are fascinating. The set—and the women—deserve a wide audience."—Booklist, April 15, 2022

"For high school and university students and general readers, this encyclopedia adds balance to history collections."—Library Journal, April 1, 2022
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