Marie Curie, who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, has been voted the woman who has made the biggest impact on world history.
The Polish born naturalised French scientist topped a poll ahead of US race activist Rosa Parks.
Curie was the first person who won two Nobel prizes and her work led to effective treatments for cancer and the development of X-rays.
The Polish-born French scientist was chosen in a reader poll for BBC History Magazine.
Speaking to The Sun, her nominator, science historian Dr Patricia Fara, said that Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize in physics, first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person to win a second Nobel prize.
She further added, “The odds were always stacked against her. In Poland her patriotic family suffered under a Russian regime. In France she was regarded with suspicion as a foreigner - and of course, wherever she went, she was discriminated against as a woman.”
The list also had Emmeline Pankhurst, computer pioneer Ada Lovelace and crystallographer Rosalind Franklin.
Also in the top 20 were Margaret Thatcher, Diana, Princess of Wales, Boudicca and the Virgin Mary.
Speaking about the poll, BBC History Magazine deputy editor Charlotte Hodgman said, "The poll has shone a light on some truly extraordinary women from history, many of whose achievements and talents were overlooked in their own lifetimes.”
She further added that it was fitting for the list to appear on the 100th anniversary of the parliamentary Act that gave the vote to many British women.