30 Baby Names Inspired by Historical Female Figures

In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, we rounded up thirty historical female figures who are worth naming future generations after. Naming your child after a woman of history is not only commemorating their story but also encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

1. Joan of Arc

This iconic French heroine stands for strength and loyalty. Consider naming your little one “Joan” or even using the French spelling, “Jeanne.”

2. Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa became the first Latina person in space! Logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit across four space missions, inspire exploration by naming your little girl after her.

3. Gertrude Stein

American author and poet, Gertrude Stein, was best known for her modernist writings, art collecting and influence on 1920’s literature.

4. Aretha Franklin

Also known as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Named as one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” this name is a great option for your future musician.

5. Sandra Day O'Connor

The first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Sandra was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1981 and served until her retirement in 2006. Regarded as one of the most powerful women in the world during her time on the court, Sandra is a terrific name to consider for you baby girl.

6. Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman escaped and conducted the famous Underground Railroad, leading 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. Read her story of bravery to your little one in this children’s book.

7. Ida B. Wells

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American journalist, educator, prominent leader in the civil rights movement and compelling supporter of women’s voting rights. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization pursuing the advancement of justice for African Americans.

8. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist who directed pioneering research on radioactivity. She is remembered for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge part to finding treatments for cancer.

9. Rosa Parks

Best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott, Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an amazing American activist in the civil rights movement. Honored as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” from the United States Congress, Rosa Parks is a name that will forever be synonymous with courage.

10. Dolores Huerta

Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta is the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers. She is an American labor leader and civil rights activist.

11. Patsy Mink

Patsy Matsu Mink was an American attorney and politician from the U.S. state of Hawaii. In 1964, Mink was the first woman of color and the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress, and the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii. Read more about Mink’s life work here.

12. Maya Angelou

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou was an American author, poet and civil rights activist. If you’re considering naming your daughter after this amazing woman, you could also consider her original name, Marguerite Ann Johnson. Teach your little one more about Maya Angelou with this baby board book.

13. Frida Khalo

Celebrated for her many self-portraits that deal with such themes as individuality, the human body, and mortality. Spark creativity by naming your little one after this famous artist.

14. Emily Kauiomakawelinalaniokamanookalanipo

Emily Kauiomakawelinalaniokamanookalanipo, also known as Emily Kaua'I or Aunty Kau'I, is a Hula Master who was recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission, and a winner of the National Heritage Fellowship in 1989.

15. Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was an English political activist best remembered for organizing the UK suffragette movement and advocating that women gain the right to vote.

16. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

Known as the "Queen of Tejano music,” her influences on music and fashion made her one of the most admired Mexican-American performers of the late 20th century.

17. Coretta Scott King

Leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King continued her husband’s work even after his passing advocating for African Americans' rights and became a leader in the women's rights.

18. Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee Nation, and she fought for the rights of women and Native Americans. She led Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in 1998.

19. Malala Yousafazi

An education activist from Pakistan, Malala started the Malala Fund, a charity to give every girl an opportunity for the future. In 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize becoming the youngest Nobel laureate.

20. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama holds many titles: lawyer, writer, mom, wife and the first African-American First Lady of the United States. She is a graduate of both Harvard Law School and Princeton University. Her memoir “Becoming” was one of the bestselling books of the decade. She won the 2020 Grammy award for best spoken word album. She was also named 2008 TIME Woman of the year.

21. LaDonna Harris

LaDonna Vita Tabbytite Harris is a Comanche Native American social activist and politician from Oklahoma. As the founder and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, Harris was a vice presidential candidate for the Citizens Party in the 1980 United States presidential election alongside Barry Commoner.

22. Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones was an activist and journalist born in Trinidad and Tobago. She fought for equality for black people and the underprivileged. She also helped to organize the first West Indian Carnival in London, England. The carnival is now known as the Notting Hill Carnival, a summer street festival featuring Caribbean dance, food and dress.

23. Jane Cooke Wright

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright studied a comprehensive range of anti-cancer agents, explored the relationship between patient and tissue culture response, and established new techniques for administering cancer chemotherapy. By 1967, she was the highest ranking African American woman in a United States medical institution.

24. Ami Vitale

As an American photojournalist, documentary filmmaker, educator and speaker, Ami Vitale shares her personal pilgrimages from over 100 different countries through visual storytelling.

25. Dolly Parton

While known for her singing and acting career, Dolly Parton’s philanthropic efforts span throughout her long career, focusing mainly on child literacy. Her Imagination Library is now a worldwide program that delivers high-quality books to children in need. With nearly two million children registered and over a hundred and seventy-five million books gifted, the Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five. Learn more about it here.

26. Kim Ng

As Assistant General Manager with the New York Yankees, she had a role in constructing three World Series winning teams (1998-2000). In 2020, she became the first woman to be named a GM in the Big Four leagues and the first GM of Asian-American descent of an MLB team.

27. Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani is an American lawyer, politician, civil servant, and the founder of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.

28. Judith Heumann

After contracting polio at 18 months old, Judith spent much of her life in a wheel chair, tirelessly advocating for equal access and rights for disabled people. Known as the "Mother of the Disability Rights Movement", she had a crucial role in writing the legislation that became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

29. Allyson Felix

Allyson is the most decorated track and field athlete. She was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for the years 2020 and 2021. In 2021, she launched her own footwear company, Saysh.

30. Ketanji Brown Jackson

Graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University and cum laude from Harvard Law School as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She became the first Black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation.

The list goes on and on of inspirational women who impacted history (and continue to do so!). Let us know the meaning of your little ones’ names with us on social media by tagging us in your posts @gerberchildrenswear.

Shop New Arrivals