* Joan of Arc was a French peasant girl who heard the voice of God instructing her to expel the hated English from France. According to her [[WordOfGod own words]] (which nobody ever bothers to consult), she actually [[ThouShaltNotKill never killed]] ''[[ThouShaltNotKill anybody]]'', though she did [[TechnicalPacifist courageously lead armies into battle]]. Eventually she was betrayed and burned at the stake, but her legend lives on.
* Artemisia of Caria was one of Xerxes' allies and chief commanders during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Herodotus speaks highly of her intelligence and decisiveness; if Xerxes had listened to her advice to avoid fighting at Salamis, he might have won the war. She fought at the Battle of Salamis herself, commanding five Persian ships against the Greeks; when her ship was nearly captured by the Greek navy, she turned and rammed one of her own fleet's ships, convincing them she was on their side so she could escape. Nevertheless, she was ''praised'' by Xerxes for her ruthless ingenuity.
** The poetic quote from Xerxes: "My men have become women and my women have become men."
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_snipers Female Soviet snipers]] achieved some of the highest individual kill counts of the Second World War; [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyudmila_Pavlichenko Lyudmila Pavlichenko]] is generally regarded as the deadliest, with 309 confirmed kills.
* Two Soviet female fighter aces of World War 2: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilya_Litvyak Lydia Litvyak]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katya_Budanova Katya Budanova]]. The whole of the 586th Fighter Regiment who were all female pilots.
** The top-scoring female fighter pilot of the war was Olga Yamshchikova (17 kills), a former flight instructor.
** Then there was the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, who made use of obsolete and generally pacific but nimble wooden biplanes Po-2 to fly under the veil of night and drop bombs. And since the carrying capacity of the planes was rather poor girls would ''leave the parachutes'' to take some more bombs aboard. Germans called them "night witches".
*** Not having parachutes wasn't really an issue. They were generally operating at too low an altitude to be able to use parachutes effectively. They also were almost immune to most types of air defense due to their low speed, almost entirely wooden aircraft, and tactics like shutting down their engines and gliding in on nearly silent attack runs.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenobia Zenobia of Palmyra]].
* Fights between female gladiators was a standard gimmick in the games of ancient Rome, and female gladiators nearly always fought topless. {{Fanservice}} is older than we think...
* Japanese has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onna_bugeisha Onna-bugeisha]], girls who embrace {{samurai}} tropes.
** The Kunoichi, the general term for the other side of the spectrum, the female {{Ninja}}.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomoe_Gozen Tomoe Gozen]].
** Many YamatoNadeshiko of samurai extraction were expected to ''at least'' know the basics of self defense in case their households were under attack when the samurai and guards were out in the war. The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naginata naginata]] was considered especially [[NaginatasAreFeminine well-suited for women]]: its length allowed the Yamato Nadeshiko to keep attackers at bay easily then stab/slash them with the pointy tip.
*** As a bonus, whenever a girl of a samurai family left her home to work in the city, she was given a ''[[KnifeNut tanto]]'' [[KnifeNut dagger]] before her departure. She was expected to use it to commit {{seppuku}} (or better said, ''jigai'') if her honor demanded it, or self-defense.
* Milunka Savić was beside Flora Sandes only female that took role as active soldier in WW1. She joined Serbian Army posing as a man fought in many battles without fear, and was wounded couple of times. In one battle she capture 23 Bulgarian soldiers singlehandedly. She was friend of General De Gole and most decorated female of all times. More abut her here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milunka_Savi%C4%87
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yim_Wing-chun Yim Wing Chun]]. You know someone's an Action Girl when she has a martial arts style named after her.
* [[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/chingshih.html Ching Shih was one of the most badass pirates of all time]]. Best of all, she was able to get away with everything, keep all of her loot and avoid suffering the indignity of a death by hanging.
** As pirates go, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
* [[http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/wake.html The White Mouse, Nancy Wake]]. The leading figure of LaResistance, top of the Gestapo's most wanted list, coordinated and lead numerous attacks, and [[{{Badass}} once killed an SS sentry with her bare hands]] to keep him from raising an alarm. After the war, this {{Badass}} lady [[http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/nancy-wake-white-mouse-of-world-war-ii-dies-at-98/2011/08/08/gIQABvPT5I_story.html lived to the age of 98]]. Rest in peace, Ms. Wake, you are an inspiration to us all.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica Boudica]], queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Garibaldi Anita Garibaldi]], [[BattleCouple partner and wife]] of the famous Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi.
* [[http://www.helpthechildbrides.com/stories/florajessop.htm Flora Jessop]] was born and raised in the polygamist FLDS cult. When faced with an arranged marriage and after years of horrific abuse, she escaped from the cult and is now an advocate for women and children trying to escape as well. [[CrazyAwesome She is ]] BadAss. She's a good marksman and always carries a gun (or two) to fend off the many cultist enemies she has made and [[MamaBear to protect the innocent women and children]] she saves from the desert compounds. She risks her life on a regular basis to save these kids and put their abusers behind bars. Also, she has a [[HellbentForLeather very nice leather]] [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes jacket]]. And she's beautiful to boot!
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rani_Lakshmibai Lakshimibai, Rani of Jhansi]]. Queen of a small Indian principality, the British tried to disinherit her and take over, invoking the "Doctrine of Lapse" allowing them to do this in case of a female heir. She fought back, and to the death. Now often seen in statue form in cities around India.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Malachowski Lieutenant Colonel Nicole "FiFi" Malachowski]] is an F-15 pilot in the US Air Force, and the first woman to serve as a pilot in the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team.
* Really, any woman in the military is an ActionGirl by default. YOU probably know one or two!
* [[OldMaster Bushi Matsumura]], one of the founders of modern karate, was married to a woman named Yonamine Chiru, who had set up a real-life EngagementChallenge that any man asking for her hand had to defeat her in hand-to-hand combat. Matsumura, one of the most feared fighters in Okinawan history, only just managed it. After they were married, he would sometimes send her to deal with bandits around the island.
* [[RedChina Mao Zedong's]] third wife, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_Zizhen He Zishen]], is said to have been one of these.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenau_Simonsdochter_Hasselaer Kenau Hasselaer]], a widowed saleswoman of wood, who fiercely fought the Spaniards at the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Haarlem Siege of Haarlem]]. During the seige, she led [[AmazonBrigade a band of three hundred women]] in battle armed with [[KillItWithFire burning hay]] and [[MakingASplash boiling water]], and provided wood for Dutch ships. She wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty herself; historical accounts often speak of how "[[TheLadette manly]]" she would behave in battle, wielding spears, swords and guns. She had a reputation of being fierce out of battle as well (she had a habit of suing everyone, including the very city she helped defend), and her name "Kenau" has become a slang term for either a [[JerkAss bitchy]] or [[TheLadette manly]] woman in Dutch.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mademoiselle_Maupin Julie d'Aubigny aka "Mademoiselle Maupin]].
* Trude "[[http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan/sf/filk/seeyrsix.htm I'll see your six, and raise you thirty-five]]" Lacklandia, the first female knight of the SocietyForCreativeAnachronism.
** That's ''Sir'' Trude to you.
* Grace O'Malley, "The Pirate Queen of Connaught". She got her own page on BadassOfTheWeek.
* Nusaybah bint Kaab, 7th century Muslim warrior who fought beside the Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Uhud and saved his life by acting as a human shield. And in case that wasn't badass enough, while lying at death's doorstep after the battle, she heard Muhammad call for volunteers to pursue the retreating enemy and got up to answer, whereupon she passed out from blood loss due to the approximately 12 wounds she had sustained the day before. She survived.
* In Bolivia, there's [[http://www.quimsacruz.com/Site/ESP/eframes.html Cholita wrestling]]. Young and not-so-young Bolivian women get into the wrestling rings, all dolled up with [[BraidsOfAction their hair in long braids]] and colorful outfits, and then both [[HilarityEnsues hilarity]] and CrazyAwesome ensue.
* Though the Mongols have a history of [[LadyofWar badass lady empresses]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandukhai_Khatun Mandukhai Khatun]] is perhaps better known. Freshly widowed, she had the choice of marrying her well-beloved general or a rival Muslim warlord, and [[TakeAThirdOption chose to rule in her own right]] until her adopted heir came of age. In that time, she reunited her people, reconquered chunks of their lost territory, and fought off both encroaching tribes and the Ming. She frequently went into battle with her men, most notably on one occasion while pregnant.
* This article [[http://www.timesofoman.com/innercat.asp?detail=48965 mentions a talented female Nigeran sniper captured in Libya]].
* Archeologists have uncovered a number of Scythian/Sarmatian tombs of armed women; these have been speculated to have inspired the legend of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazons#Scythians_and_Sarmatians Amazons]].
** Hippocrates wrote that Sarmatian/Scythian women could not give up their virginity until they had killed at least three enemies. He also wrote that they would burn their right breast in childhood to prevent its growth to better be able to use a bow. Pretty hardcore, if true.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countess_Markievicz Countess Markievicz]] was a politician, suffragette and freedom fighter. Having fought during the 1916 rising, she was captured and sentenced to death, but had it commuted due to her being a woman. Her response? "I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me".
* All the women of the Special Operations Executive. They were sent into occupied France during World War II as radio operators to help the Resistance. Several of them were captured. None of them talked. Noor Inayat Khan, in particular, fought so fiercely when the Nazis caught up with her that they were ''afraid'' of her and she was classified as "highly dangerous"!
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qiu_Jin Qiu Jin]], Chinese feminist and martial artist who ran a girls' athletic school secretly dedicated to anti-imperialist military training. That's right, she ran a whole school full of Action Girls!
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannie_Schaft Hannie Schaft]], nicknamed "the girl with the red hair", was a member of the [[LaResistance communist resistance]] during the [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi]] occupation of the Netherlands. She killed many [[LesCollaborateurs informants]] and [[StateSec (secret) policemen]] who worked for the Nazis. Fluent in German, she even [[FemmeFatale maintained relations]] with some soldiers. When one chapter of the communist Council of Resistance [[YouHaveFailedMe murdered a farmer without authorization]] from the higher-ups she [[EvenEvilHasStandards provided the Nazis with files on the killers]], who were [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment arrested, tortured and killed]]. She was captured shortly before the end of the war, and despite an understanding between the occupation forces and the resistance not to kill women, she was executed by firing squad. When the executioner missed, she was said to have replied [[FacingTheBulletsOneLiner "I shoot better than you"]], after which another soldier [[NoKillLikeOverkill sprayed her with bullets]] from his [[MoreDakka submachinegun]].
* Scandinavian Shieldmaidens, whose strength and fierceness in battle later inspired Creator/JRRTolkien to incorporate them into his most famous fantasy novel, ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''.
* [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8279929.stm Rukhsana Kauser, age 18, managed to disarm several militants who invaded her family's home in Kashmir, and fought them off with the help of her brother, killing one with his own AK-47 and injuring the other two.]]
-->Ms Kauser said she grabbed one of the militants by the hair and banged his head against the wall. When he fell down she hit him with an axe, before snatching his rifle.\\
"I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one. But I had seen heroes firing in films on TV and I tried the same way. Somehow I gathered courage - I fired and fought till dead tired."
* Louise Michel, a prominent feminist and socialist active in the Paris Commune of 1871, a failed attempt by the city of Paris to secede and form a leftist republic after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. During the war, she organized the women's complement to the Eighteenth Arrondissement Vigilance Committee, essentially a citizen militia. During the Commune, she fought on the barricades defending the Commune from the French army's attempts to retake Paris; she [[CombatMedic combined this with serving duty as an ambulance nurse]], and those who fought with her were impressed by her energy and ferocity. She proposed assassinating the prime minister of France, but her fellow Communards considered this too rash and extreme. After the defeat of the Commune and the execution of her lover Theophile Ferre, one of its leaders, [[DeathSeeker she confessed]] to arson and the assassination of two generals and [[PleaseKillMeIfItSatisfiesYou specifically asked for the death penalty.]] (It's not clear whether she wanted to [[TogetherInDeath join her lover in death]], [[TakingTheHeat take blame so that other people wouldn't be punished]], or become a [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning martyr for the revolution]].) The court exiled her to the colony of New Caledonia instead...where she supported a rebellion against the French colonial authorities by the indigenous Kanak people.
* A HookerWithAHeartOfGold named Miljuschka once whored herself into a Nazi camp during World War II, and then blew the whole thing up. Most. {{Badass}}. Prostitute. Ever.
* Policewomen, by default.
* Basically, all sportswomen can be considered that, especially soccer, basketball, volleyball, and American football players, particularly if they get very aggressive while playing any of those games.