25 Great Romanian women who changed the world

There are many Romanian women who made history and made our lives better, either by making discoveries, by writing stories, by participating in politics or fighting for people’s rights.

Here is a list of great Romanian women


  1. The first female engineer in Europe was a Romanian woman- Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu. Born on 10th of November 1887, she tried to attend Bridges and Roads University in Bucharest but was rejected because she was a female. She went on to study in Germany at the Royal Technical Academy in Germany. She graduated and became the first female engineer in 1912.



  1. A well known female hero was Ecaterina Teodoroiu who fought in the First World War. She has fought as a soldier, was promoted and was congratulated by King Ferdinand.



  1. The first Romanian female aviator was Elena Caragiani Stoenescu. She was born in 1887, attended Aerial League School but was refused a licence because she was a female. She managed to get her pilot licence in France in 1914.



  1. The first female to receive a PhD in law in the world was Sarmiza Bilcescu. Born in 1867 she attended the Paris law school and graduated in 1890 becoming a doctor in law.



  1. The first female silviculturist engineer in the world was Aurora Gruescu, born in 1914. When she graduated the University of Silviculture in Bucharest she was the only female among male graduates.



  1. The first Romanian woman to be member of the French academy was Elena Vacarescu, born in 1864. She is well known for having a rich literary activity in Paris.Elena Vacarescu  was awarded by the French Academy for “Chants d’Aurore”. She became also a member of the Romanian Academy in 1925.




  1. The first Romanian female lawyer was Elena Negruzzi. She was allowed to join the Iasi Bar only after 6 years of systematically applying and being rejected due to the fact that she was a woman.



  1. The first female doctor to perform brain surgery was Romanian Sofia Ionescu. The successful surgery was done in 1944 on a child who was hit by a bomb during the war.



9.The first woman to climb the Swiss Alps was Elena Ghica. She came from a wealthy family and already at the age of 10 could speak 9 languages and at age 14 she translated into German language Homer’s Iliad.


HPB 1942

  1. Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu was a famous Romanian writer born in 1876. Her most famous novels were Bach music concert, Hidden road, Roots.



  1. The first female architect in Romania was Virginia Andreescu Haret. She was born in 1894. Orphan at the age of 9, she had to raise her three little brothers. This did not stop her to attend the University of Architecture, later on, becoming the first female architect and the 10th female architect in the world.



  1. Elisabeta Rizea was a woman of incredible strength. She fought against the communist regime. She has helped the resistance fighters group, helping them with communication, clothes and food, and for this she was jailed for 6 years. After being released she continued her fight and then she was again arrested and jailed for 25 years. She was released in 1964.



  1. Cella Serghi was an important writer, publicist and translator. She was born in 1907 and has published novels such as Mirona’s book, Parallel love, Barota’s girls, This sweet burden, youth.



  1. You might have used her face creams, body lotions or you might have taken her medicine. Ana Aslan, born in 1897 was a doctor, inventor and member of the Romanian academy. Her brand called Gerovital still lives on and is used by many people.



  1. The first female university art professor in Europe was Cecilia Cutescu Storck. Cecilia Cutescu-Storck was a painter that had a major influence over the arts in the period between the two world wars. She has taught at the Beautiful Arts Academy in Bucharest .



  1. The first gymnast to receive a ten in the history of gymnastics was Romanian Nadia Comaneci. She achieved this in 1976 at the Montreal Olympic games. Now she is one of the most well known gymnasts women in the world and is still admired for her performance.



  1. The first female pilot to fly across the Carpathians was Irina Burnaia (1909-1997)



  1. The first female aviator to break the World Record in 1931 for female parachute jumping at 6,000 metres altitude was Smaranda Braescu. She was also the first European pilot to get a pilot licence in the United States.



  1. The first female opera singer that had a lead role written for her was Hariclea Darclee. She sang the famous Tosca.



  1. Sofia Nadejde was a publicist, novelist and Female Rights activist. She was born in 1856 in Botosani. She has challenged Titu Maiorescu’s words, who stated that females have reduced intellectual capacity compared to men. She has thus undertaken research to prove the opposite.



  1. Florica Bagdasar (1901-1978)was a doctor and a researcher in infantile psychiatry. She was also the first female minister in Romania.



  1. Martha Bibescu was well known as a writer, publishing over 40 books ( Les Huit Paradis, At the ball with Marcel Proust). She has managed a hospital during the German occupation in 1917-1918 and has been council for Romanians for Charles de Gaulle.



  1. Eugenia Reuss-Ianculescu was a feminist activist in Romania and has founded the Female Emancipation organization in 1911. She has supported modifications in law to support women, she has supported equal pay for women and access for women to diverse professions to which they were forbidden  (such as being allowed to profess as a lawyer).



  1. Calypso Botez was a Female Rights activist. She was born in Bacau in 1880 and studied History and Philosophy at the Iasi University. She is the cofounder of The Romanian Women Association for Civic and Political Emancipation


25.Marina Stirbey was a pilot who participated in European flight raids and was the first female Romanian to fly in fog conditions over the Baltic Sea.





One response to “25 Great Romanian women who changed the world”

  1. […] You can read short stories about many more amazing Romanian women in this article. […]


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