Sobekneferu was an Egyptian king who ruled between 1806 and 1802 BC. She is widely credited with being the first woman to take the title of king, and to rule the kingdom alone.
Franziska Scanagatta was a Lieutenant in the Austrian army, serving between 1797 and 1800. She was able to enlist after disguising herself as a boy and taking her brother's place at the military school. She maintained her assumed identity throughout her military career, receiving promotions and medals along the way. Despite being forced to resign her position after the authorities were alerted to her gender, Franziska left the army with a military pension, and more importantly with the respect of her peers and superiors.
Author Murasaki Shikibu is widely credited with writing the world's first novel. The Tale of Genji (源氏物語) was first published in or around 1000. The Japanese noblewoman and lady-in-waiting to the Imperial Court was a talented poet and writer with a flair for story-telling, and her works are still studied by literary scholars and Japanese students more than a millennium later.