The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash.

By Sam Cohen

April 2, 2024

Zodiac signs can tell you a lot about someone’s personality. Whether they’re an earth, water, air, or fire sign, these 12 categories (which are determined by birth date) highlight specific qualities in everyone.

Fire signs are known for being outgoing and assertive. Water signs are known for being thoughtful and sensitive. Earth signs are known to be grounded and committed, and air signs are known to be progressive and unique.

To celebrate these celestial elements, we’re highlighting one iconic woman for each of the 12 zodiac signs. From Maya Angelou to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, these powerhouse women made a significant impact on history.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) – Dr. Maya Angelou

The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

Portrait of author Maya Angelou, London, 4th June 1999 (Photo by Martin Godwin/Getty Images)

Poet, memoirist, Civil Rights activist, and “Queen of Aries,” Dr. Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. Though she predominantly became known as a prolific writer, Dr. Angelou held a variety of careers throughout her life, including actress, dancer, composer, “Hollywood’s first Black female director.” She also served on two presidential committees (Gerald Ford in 1975 and Jimmy Carter in 1977).

Angelou also worked alongside Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her most notable work, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” details her childhood. Much of her writing was autobiographical, and she never shied away from any topic, no matter how difficult—a clear sign of an Aries, who never back down from challenging situations.

Click here to read the Poetry Foundation’s biography of Angelou’s life, career, and notable works.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) – Coretta Scott King

Civil Rights leader and author Coretta Scott King was born on April 27, 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama. She was known for her marriage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1953 until his assassination in 1968. Following his death, Coretta continued to help lead the Civil Rights movement and became an active participant in the Women’s Movement as well.

Coretta also established the King Center in memory of her late husband, and fought to have his birthday commemorated as a national holiday. Known as the “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement,” Coretta dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights for members of the Black community, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and beyond.

As Allure put it, “Taureans aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves” and do the hard work, and Coretta’s life was a testament to that. To learn more about her life and leadership, click here to read The King Center’s biography of Coretta Scott King.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811. Stowe is best known for her 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. According to History.com, Stowe’s novel “brought unprecedented light to the plight of enslaved people and, many historians believe, helped incite the American Civil War.”

Communication is essential to Gemini, and Stowe spent many years touring both nationally and internationally following her book’s release to help petition an end to slavery. The National Women’s History Museum notes that Stowe even donated some of her earnings to support the antislavery cause.

Stowe also continued to pen anti-slavery books. “A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp” were published in 1853 and 1856, respectively. For more information on Stowe’s writing and accomplishments, click here to read History.com’s biography and here for the National Women’s History Museum biography.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) – Malala Yousafzai

The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 12: Malala Yousafzai attends the Kering Caring For Women Dinner at The Pool on September 12, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Joy Malone/Getty Images)

Malala Yousafzai is an activist—and the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history—who was born on July 12, 1997. Her compassion—a characteristic of the Cancer sign—is clear in the work that she does through the Malala Fund, which helps girls around the world receive formal education.

Malala’s story is both distressing and inspirational. In 2012, she publicly spoke out about how girls in her home country of Pakistan, had a right to learn. Four years earlier, the Taliban had taken control of her village and prohibited girls from attending school. Shortly after Malala made a speech in October of 2012, she was shot in the head. Miraculously, she survived.

Since that fateful day, Malala has remained committed to championing female education. To learn more about her incredible life and the work, click here to read her story.

Leo (July 23 – August 22) – Amelia Earhart

Record-breaking aviator Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, making her a Leo. Leos are known for being passionate and driven, both of which are clear through Earhart’s trailblazing aviation career. After attending Columbia University and the University of Southern California, Earhart took her first plane ride in 1920, realizing almost immediately that flying was her passion.

Earhart took flying lessons from Neta Snook, another groundbreaking female aviator. Two years after her first plane ride, Earhart set the record for women’s altitude, flying at 14,000 feet. In 1928, she was chosen by publisher George Putnam to become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane, which she did successfully as a passenger. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic as a pilot, and set her sights on becoming the first woman to fly around the world in 1937.

Unfortunately, with only 7,000 miles left on her trip, her plane lost contact somewhere near the Howland Islands, and Earhart was never seen again. The mystery of what happened to her still remains. For a deeper look into her life, career, and achievements, click here to learn more through her official website.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22) – Ruby Bridges

The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

(Original Caption) Twenty years ago Ruby Bridges appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the country when as a 6 year old, she integrated public schools. Today, she sends her children to private schools. (Photo via Getty Images).

American Civil Rights activist Ruby Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, making her a Virgo. Virgos are known for being kind and practical.

In 1960, six-year old Bridges became the first Black student to integrate into a formerly segregated whites-only elementary school in Louisiana. Photos of her being escorted by US Deputy Marshals to and from school are firmly cemented in history books. As Bridges explained to The Guardian, despite the terrifying situation, she wasn’t afraid of what was happening at the time.

“I was really not aware that I was going into a white school,” she said. Bridges added, “My parents never explained it to me. I stumbled into crowds of people, and living here in New Orleans, being accustomed to Mardi Gras, the huge celebration that takes place in the city every year, I really thought that’s what it was that day. There was no need for me to be afraid of that.”

Since this pivotal event, Bridges has devoted her life to racial equality, establishing the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999. To learn more about her, click here to read The Guardian’s in-depth look at her life and career, and here to read her National Women’s History Museum biography.

Libra (September 23 – October 22) – Maria Bueno

Brazilian tennis player and Libra Maria Bueno was born on October 11, 1939. Throughout her tennis career—which spanned just over a decade—Bueno won 19 major titles. So far, she’s the only South American female player to win a singles title at Wimbledon, and is one of only eight women to win at least three championships in the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon.

Bueno also became the first woman to win the Grand Slam doubles in 1960. In Bueno’s 2018 obituary, The Washington Post describes how fellow tennis icon Billie Jean King once described Bueno as “the reigning queen of tennis in her day.”Bueno also spoke five languages and went on to work as a commentator after her playing career ended in 1977.

To learn more about this well-balanced Libra’s life and career, click here for her International Tennis Hall of Fame biography.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) – Sylvia Plath

The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

(Original Caption) Photo shows author Sylvia Plath seated in front of a bookshelf. (Via Getty Images).

Poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, who was born on October 27, 1932, reflected the mysterious and emotional elements of a Scorpio during her lifetime. Plath used her writing to examine her complicated emotions. Her best known works, “The Bell Jar” and “The Colossus,” offer insight into her experience with clinical depression.

A Massachusetts native, Plath published her first poem when she was just eight years old. She started keeping a journal when she turned 11, and it was from this practice that Plath honed her writing skills. Though she died by suicide in 1963, shortly after the release of her pivotal novel, “The Bell Jar,” Plath’s work transcends time and she remains one of the most prolific writers in American history.

To learn more about her and her work, click here to read Britannica’s biography and here for an in-depth look in her life by the New York Times.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) – Florence Griffith Joyner

American track and field athlete Florence Griffith Joyner was born on December 21, 1959. She was known for being the fastest woman to run both the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints. “Flo-Jo,” as she was commonly known, was the epitome of Sagittarius’ fiery nature.

During her first Olympic appearance in 1984, Flo-Jo took home a silver medal at the 200 meter sprint, but she gained even more attention for her eclectic fingernail polish and style, which became part of her signature style throughout her career. She went on to break the world record for the 100 meter during her appearance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, completing the sprint at an impressive 10.49 seconds, according to NPR.

Joyner abruptly retired in 1989 and unexpectedly died of an epileptic seizure in 1998, but her athletic and fashion-forward legacy lives on. To learn more about Flo-Jo’s epic running prowess (and to see pictures of her iconic nails), click here to read NPR’s remembrance article and here for Olympic biography.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) – Rigoberta Menchú

Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchú was born on January 9, 1959, making her a Capricorn. Menchú embodies several of Capricorn’s key characteristics, including patience, resilience, and optimism.

Menchú became involved in social reform at an early age, and worked passionately to publicize the rights of the Indigenous people of Guatemala, both during and after the Guatemalan Civil War. She received the Nobel Prize in 1992

After having spent over a decade in exile due to the death threats for her work to establish equality, Menchú went on to create Guatemala’s first Indigenous political party, Winaq, and ran for president in the country in 2007 and 2011. To learn more about her life, legacy, and continued work, click here for her Britannica biography and here for her Nobel Prize biography.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) – Maria Tallchief

The zodiac signs of 12 iconic women offer insight into their historic accomplishments

American ballerina Maria Tallchief (1925 – 2013), prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet, in ‘Swan Lake’ ballet costume, US, 19th November 1952. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Native American ballerina and Aquarius Maria Tallchief was born on January 24, 1925. Considered America’s first prima ballerina, Tallchief was also the first Native American (Osage Nation) woman to hold that title. Fittingly, Aquarius signs are known for being revolutionary.

She began dancing at a very young age, and moved to New York at the age of 17 to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. She joined the Ballet Russe Monte Carlo in 1942 and became the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet in 1947.

Tallchief was proud of her Native American heritage, and often spoke out against discrimination and injustices against her community. To learn more about Tallchief, click here to read her Washington Post obituary, and here for a detailed look at her life from the School of American Ballet.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20) – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Notorious R.B.G, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was born on March 15, 1933, making her a Pisces. Pisces are often praised for being empathetic and grounded, which are two traits (of many) the lawyer and Supreme Court justice maintained throughout her trailblazing life.

Ginsburg served as a Supreme Court justice from 1993 until her death in 2020, but even before that, she was dedicated to championing important causes. She co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) in 1972 to help fight against discrimination on the basis of sex, and went on to advocate on behalf of the Equal Pay Act.

RBG was also known for being the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex marriage. To learn more about her life and accomplishments, click here to read her National Women’s History Museum biography, and here for NPR’s obituary of the revered justice.

  • Sam Cohen

    Sam is the Editorial Product Manager in the Community Department at COURIER Newsroom. Prior to joining the organization, Sam worked as a writer and editor covering topics ranging from literature, health & wellness, and astrology to the British royal family and profiles of notable actors and musicians.

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