I always considered them somewhat similar to the prophets of Monotheism, uttering inspired sayings and teachings that were preserved, passed on, and commented on. If I'm wrong in this understanding, I'm happy to learn!
Similarly, the Buddha or Mahavira, while not prophets in the Biblical sense, are presented to have been in touch with fundamental truths and able to express them, and their teachings and discourses were preserved and passed on...
Anything can inspire one, it could be something said by Bertrand Russell or Einstein. They were not prophets of any God. Rishis also were wise people. None claimed that he/she had been dispatched by Allah (there were females also among the wise, Rishikas; Maitreyi, Gargi and Lopamudra for example).
Even I am spouting fundamental truths. I do not care if people do not understand or accept them. Mahavira and even Buddha talked about heavens, hells and devas. In my (not so humble) opinion, they were wrong there. But I can see that what they said was 2,600 years ago. We know better now, and do not need to resort to such explanations.
"Female Rishis (Rishikas) of about 30 of
them are named in the Rig Veda. Lopamudra was the wife of Agasthya. The meaning of the word 'Lopamudhra' is one, who is totally absorbed in herself, i.e., she is one of the Brahmavadhini Rishi-patnis.
The Rig Veda mentions Romasa, Lopamudra, Apala, Kadru, Visvavara, Ghosha, Juhu, Vagambhrini, Paulomi, Yami, Indrani, Savitri, and Devajami.
The Sama Veda adds Nodha, Akrishtabhasha, Sikatanivavari and Gaupayana.
When it comes to talking about significant female figures of the Vedic period Ghosha, Lopamudra, Sulabha Maitreyi, Gargi Kakshivati, Dakshina Prajapathya, Vishvavara, Atreyi, Godha, Apala, Yami Vivasvathi, Lopamudra, Romasha Svanya, Aditi Dakshayeni, Ratri Bharadwaja, Vasukra Pathni, Surya Savitri, Indrani, Sarma Devasuni, Urvashi, Shashwati, Angirasi, Sri Laksha."
This page mentions the verse/hymn of RigVeda and its female author (Rishika).