16 of History's Most Rebellious Women

Women Revolutionaries
Reuters / CORBIS

Corazon Aquino, the Philippines
A self-proclaimed "plain housewife," Corazon Aquino led the Philippines' 1986 "people power" revolution, toppling autocrat Ferdinand Marcos after 20 years of rule. Aquino's journey from Senator's wife to President of the Philippines began with the 1983 assassination of her husband Benigno Aquino Jr., who had returned from exile in the U.S. to run against Marcos. When the autocrat called a snap election, Corazon took up her husband's cause. Though Marcos claimed electoral victory, Aquino led a peaceful revolution across the nation of impoverished islands. Emotional supporters came out in droves during a two-week standoff, and eventually, the military reversed course and supported her. Aquino became President upon Marcos' resignation. Despite coup attempts and corruption charges, she took significant strides toward democracy, including ratifying a constitution that limits the power of the presidency. Long after stepping down in 1992, Aquino continued to advocate against policies she felt threatened the country's democratic ideals. Though she died in 2009, Aquino remains a symbol of the power of peaceful popular movements. —Zoe Fox

See Corazon Aquino's life in photos and TIME's 1987 Woman of the Year profile on her.

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