Two things I'll say up front:
1. The chances that I'll be talking about any female actress is probably slim. While I do not deny that there are a plethora of women (and particularly WoC - HELLO Rita Hayworth - worth discussing), my focus is on woman in technical fields. These are the same fields where sexism is not only prevalent, but tolerated and encouraged.
2. I have little patience for anyone who thinks that women don't belong in the technical fields on film. Are you a filmmaker? Do you have a background in production and on set experience? Then I'm totally here to have a debate regarding those particular fields. Just bear in mind that I could schlep 90+ pounds of a 16mm SR3 with 30+ pounds of accessories of film, and 20+ pounds of equipment by myself over the ice of the St. Mary's bridge in Boston. When my husband went up to a blizzard in Big Bear while I was in the hospital, who was it who told him how to pack his lenses and director's finder?
So, knowing those two disclaimers, let's talk about some of the very first women inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). A cinematographer (or a Director of Photography/DP as it's colloquially termed on set) such as Debbie Schrieber, Sharon Calahan, or Anna Foerster.
Starting on Wednesday, I'll begin writing in depth profiles on women in film and television who truly made a feminist difference in how we live our lives now, and surprising though it may seem, 75% of it has nothing to do with the actresses.
If you can't wait until then, I highly suggest watching any of the Star Trek series, or reading Women Behind The Camera, an excellent overview of what women have done for the genre, without having to use their looks in front of the camera.