Five unsung heroines

Published 12:54 PM ET, Fri March 8, 2013
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Constance Spry was a florist, educator and author. She dedicated much of her time during World War I and II to teaching women skills that would empower them, such as first aid, cookery and dressmaking. Courtesy George Konig/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah was a Pakistani politician, diplomat and author who was one of very few Muslim women to be involved in the Pakistan movement at the fall of the British empire. Courtesy Oxford University Press
Born in the U.S., Anna Jarvis is the founder of Mother's Day. She successfully campaigned to have a national celebration of motherhood recognized in 1914. FPG/Getty Images
Empress Dowager Cixi is the most powerful woman to ever rule China. She went from childless concubine to Empress and ruled for 47 years until her death in 1908.
Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan is the fourth and last wife of Aga Khan III. Born Yvette Blanche Labrousse in France, she became an unlikely mother figure for India's Ismaili community. Keystone/Getty Images