Ruth Handler -- Barbie Doll
She has taken flack for her invention, accused of creating an unattainable female ideal for little girls everywhere. But no matter how you look at it, Ruth Handler was a top entrepreneur: Barbie is one of the greatest successes in toy history.
In the mid-1940s, Handler co-founded Mattel, and in 1959, she created Barbie. Named for Handler's daughter, Barbie was the first doll with breasts and, it seems, exactly what the little-girl world had been waiting for.
Handler is also responsible for Chatty Cathy.
Mattel ultimately went through some difficult legal times in the 1970s, and Handler had to resign as president. She then began a new business selling the first realistic-looking artificial breasts designed for breast-cancer survivors.
Up next: A woman who stepped up to help fuel an actual revolution.