The first woman, or I guess I should say girl, the author Cokie Roberts introduces is Eliza Pinckney. Around 1734, her father had to leave to join his regiment in Antigua in fighting the war against Spain. So he left her, a 16 year old girl, in charge of their 3 South Carolina plantations, her sick mother, and all the children.
Phew! That's a lot for a teenager to handle! But she proved that she was up for the challenge.
"I have the business of three plantations to transact, which requires much writing and more business and fatigue of other sorts than you can imagine. But least you should imagine it too burdensome to a girl at my early time of life, give me leave to answer you: I assure you I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father, and by rising very early I find I can go through much business."
Man, I admire her already! But not only did she just run three plantations, she did a heck of a job at it too. She realized that rice was basically the only cash crop making South Carolina money, and she was determined to find another way to make the colony prosperous. She predicted (and was eventually right!) that growing indigo would become a lucrative business.
It took a lot of hard work, trial and error, and years until her indigo experiment worked. She was finally able to harvest enough plants and distributed the seeds to other planters so that indigo would make South Carolina an exclusive hub for indigo and thereby an important colony with more power. England snatched up the indigo and paid South Carolinians in bounty for it.
So here is a girl who not only had an extreme amount of responsibility for her age, but she went above and beyond the call of duty, for herself and her colony, and showed wisdom beyond her years.
And that's my two cents.