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Billie Jean King

In 1973, the question on everyone's mind was, "Can a woman really beat a man at tennis?" When Billie Jean King took on Bobby Riggs in the The Tennis Battle of the Sexes, 50 million people tuned in to find out.

By the time the match was over, Billie Jean had easily defeated Bobby and redefined what was perceived to be possible for all women.

While she's won a record 20 Wimbledon titles and became the first female athlete to win $100,000 in a single season, Billie Jean has earned tremendous success off the court too. She has always been a tireless crusader for equality—having created the first-ever female professional tennis tour—and fought to ensure women earn the same prize money as men.

Ivelise Markovits

In 1962, Ivelise Markovits was working as a probation officer, finding homes for troubled and abandoned girls. Seeing that there were many programs for boys but almost nothing for girls, she opened Penny Lane, a safe haven where these girls could get counseling, medical care and support.

Watch Ivelise's inspiring story. Watch  

"I want these girls to know that they can have strength, hope, and that they can be good mothers, good wives, good professionals, and that they can be successful," Ivelise says.

Penny Lane began taking in boys in the '80s and has given more than 50,000 children and families and second chance.

Gloria Steinem

In 1968, Gloria Steinem was a young journalist whose agent sent her on a job for Life magazine. "They sent me home," she says. "They said they wanted a writer, not a girl"

Gloria eventually got a big investigative writing job...going undercover as a Playboy bunny. Her article exposed the treatment of women at the Playboy Club. Over the years, she became a well-known writer, best-selling author, women's rights activist and co-founder of the groundbreaking Ms. magazine. The same idea led to the creation of the Ms. Foundation, the group responsible for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
FROM: Women Who Changed the World
Published on October 16, 2008

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