Famous 21st Century Activists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Activists

 1 
Malala Yousafzai
(Women's Rights Activist, World's Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate)

Malala Yousafzai
28
Birthdate: July 12, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mingora, Pakistan

Named to Time 100 thrice, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai exhibits phenomenal grit and inspires young girls everywhere. An assassination attempt by Islamic fundamentalists could not dampen her spirit, and she fought back with a bestselling memoir and won the Nobel Peace Prize as its youngest recipient, at 17.

 2 
Rosa Parks
(The First Lady of Civil Rights)

Rosa Parks
23
Birthdate: February 4, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tuskegee, Alabama, United States
Died: October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks, “the first lady of civil rights,” was a pioneer in the American revolution against color segregation and racism. Her refusal to leave her bus seat to a white passenger gave rise to the iconic Montgomery Bus Boycott, which also led her to work with Martin Luther King Jr.

 3 
Desmond Tutu
(First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)

Desmond Tutu
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 4 
Steve Irwin
(Television Celebrity & Wildlife Conservationist Who Died After Getting Stung by a Stingray Barb)

Steve Irwin
15
Birthdate: February 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Victoria, Australia
Died: September 4, 2006

Australian Steve Irwin was a world famous, high-spirited, lively host of The Crocodile Hunter television series. A conservationist, he was also part of other shows and documentaries on wildlife and environment. He was known for close encounters with some of the most dangerous and endangered animals in various jungles. He died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

 5 

Hunter Schafer
9
Birthdate: 1999 AD
Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina

A promising young actress, model and LGBT rights activist, Hunter Schafer found fame with her debut role - Jules - in the HBO series Euphoria. Before this, she made a name for herself in the modelling industry working for famous designers and brands. A proud transgender woman, she has been fighting for the rights of LGBTQ since a long time.

 6 
Greta Thunberg
(Environmental Activist)

Greta Thunberg
65
Birthdate: January 3, 2003
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is known for her straightforward speaking manner in which she addresses world leaders for failing to take sufficient action regarding the climate change issue. She is considered a youth icon for starting the movement Fridays for Future. She has been included in Time magazine's 100 most influential people list.

 7 
Edward Snowden
(Whistleblower, Writer)

Edward Snowden
5
Birthdate: June 21, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Elizabeth City, North Carolina, United States

A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who came into the limelight after leaking confidential information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, Edward Snowden has been variously called a “hero", “whistle-blower", and “traitor". A controversial figure in USA, he was granted asylum in Russia, where he now lives with his wife.

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 8 
Noam Chomsky
(The Father of Modern Linguistics)

Noam Chomsky
6
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Regarded by many as the father of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky has authored over 100 books on varied topics, such as politics, linguistics, and war. A multi-talented personality, Noam Chomsky is considered a popular figure in analytic philosophy. Apart from influencing a wide array of academic fields, he has also contributed to the development of cognitivism.

 9 
Julian Assange
(Computer programmer)

Julian Assange
5
Birthdate: July 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Townsville, Australia

Julian Assange made headlines all over the world in 2010 when WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization founded by him, gained international attention after publishing leaks, such as the Afghanistan war logs and Iraq war logs. After dodging arrest for several years, he was finally arrested in 2019 and is currently imprisoned in HM Prison Belmarsh.

 10 
Ashley Judd
(Best Known for Her Role in the Movie 'Double Jeopardy')

Ashley Judd
4
Birthdate: April 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ashley Judd is a popular American actress who is vocal about topics, such as sexual assault. As a three-time rape survivor—as claimed by her—Ashley serves as an inspiration to rape survivors around the world. Known for her humanitarian work, Ashley has worked on gender equality for over a decade. She is also famous for her political activities.

 11 
Alyssa Milano
(Actress and Political Activist Known for Her Role in the 'MeToo Movement')

Alyssa Milano
4
Birthdate: December 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bensonhurst, New York, United States
An unexpected audition led a young Alyssa Milano to her role in touring musical Annie. She became a teen star with sitcom Who's the Boss?. A bit of struggle later, she finally bagged her big break as an adult in the television show Charmed. Alyssa Milano is also a political activist and UNICEF Ambassador.

 12 
Laverne Cox
(First Transgender Person To Appear on Cover of 'Time' Magazine)

Laverne Cox
16
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

 13 
Muhammad Ali
(The Greatest Heavyweight Boxer of All Time)

Muhammad Ali
38
Birthdate: January 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: June 3, 2016

Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was a major figure of the 20th century. He was an inspirational figure for African-Americans during the civil rights movement. Because of his opposition to Vietnam War and his refusal to be drafted into military, Muhammad Ali became an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

 14 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

 15 
Angelina Jolie
(Hollywood's Highest-Paid Actress In Her Hey Days)

Angelina Jolie
18
Birthdate: June 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

A fashion icon, acclaimed actress, influential humanitarian and Special Envoy for the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie is a highly noted celebrity in Hollywood. She has been hailed for her philanthropic efforts around the globe and praised for her power packed performances. Mother of six, of whom three are adopted, Angelina Jolie is a role model for the women of this generation.

 16 
Forest Whitaker
(Best Known for His Role in 'The Last King of Scotland')

Forest Whitaker
5
Birthdate: July 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Longview, Texas, United States
Forest Whitaker is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as real-life dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Fans also loved him in Rogue One and Ghost Dog. He is an advocate of the UN’s Global Goals and supports peace-building initiatives and programs that help war victims.

 17 
Kailash Satyarthi
(Child Rights Activist)

Kailash Satyarthi
10
Birthdate: January 11, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vidisha, India

Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian social reformer who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi is best known for his campaign against child labor in India. Kailash Satyarthi is credited with founding several social activist organizations like Global March Against Child Labour, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, and Global Campaign for Education.

 18 
Leah Remini
(Actress)

Leah Remini
5
Birthdate: September 16, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Leah Remini is best known as Carrie Heffernan from The King of Queens and Vanessa from Kevin Can Wait. She also appeared in Dancing with the Stars. She was raised a Scientologist, but turned against the faith later, releasing an explanatory memoir and an Emmy-winning documentary series on the same.

 19 
Daryl Hannah
(Actress Best Known for Her Role in the Films: 'Kill Bill', 'Blade Runner' and 'Splash')

Daryl Hannah
5
Birthdate: December 3, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Daryl Hannah is best known for her Saturn Award-winning performances as Madison in Splash and Elle Driver in the Kill Bill movies. In 2017, she claimed she had been sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein in the past. Hannah is a vegan and has struggled with autism in childhood.

 20 
Fran Drescher
(Actress, Comedian)

Fran Drescher
6
Birthdate: October 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Flushing, New York, United States

Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.

 21 
Amal Clooney
(Barrister, Human rights activist)

Amal Clooney
14
Birthdate: February 3, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Amal Clooney is a Lebanese-British barrister, specializing in human rights and international law. Her clients include popular and influential personalities like Yulia Tymoshenko, Nadia Murad, and Julian Assange. Her work and philanthropic activities gained media coverage after her wedding to actor George Clooney. The Clooneys are well-known philanthropists and are founders of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

 22 
Erin Brockovich
(Environmental Activist)

Erin Brockovich
6
Birthdate: June 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lawrence, Kansas

Legal consultant, environmental activist, and consumer activist Erin Brockovich is known for suing California-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company, alleging them of contamination of water with hexavelent chromium, in 1993. Her story inspired the Julia Roberts-starrer 2000 movie Erin Brockovich. She has written two books and hosted TV shows, too.

 23 
Jameela Jamil
(Actress)

Jameela Jamil
7
Birthdate: February 25, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England

Jameela Jamil, who works as an actress, model, writer, and radio presenter, is a fighter in every sense of the word; she fought conditions like hearing loss, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, coeliac disease, and anorexia nervosa before establishing herself as an entertainer. Not to mention a car accident that damaged her spine when she was 17 years old!

 24 
Margaret Atwood
(Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic & Environmental Activist)

Margaret Atwood
8
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 25 
Common
(Rapper)

Common
8
Birthdate: March 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Side, Chicago, Illinois, United States

 26 
Pauley Perrette
(Television Actress, Activist, Singer)

Pauley Perrette
21
Birthdate: March 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Pauley Perrette is a former actress, singer, and writer. Perrette is best known for portraying Abby Sciuto from 2003 to 2018 on the popular police procedural TV series NCIS. Also an activist, Pauley Perrette supports several animal rescue organizations, LGBT rights organizations, and civil rights organizations. Over the years, she has been an ardent supporter of the American Red Cross.

 27 

Marion Cotillard
6
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Marion Cotillard delivered an Academy Award-winning performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, becoming the first to win the award for a French-language film. She was appreciated for her iconic role of Joan of Arc on stage. She has promoted Lady Dior bags and Chanel No. 5 fragrance.

 28 
Johnnie Cochran
(American Lawyer and Civil Activist Best Known for Defending and Acquitting 'O. J. Simpson')

Johnnie Cochran
7
Birthdate: October 2, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Died: March 29, 2005
Johnnie Cochran was an American civil activist and lawyer. Cochran played an important role in the acquittal of former football player O. J. Simpson in connection with the murder of the latter's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. Cochran had also represented other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Sean Combs, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Riddick Bowe, and Jim Brown to name a few.

 29 

Woody Harrelson
1
Birthdate: July 23, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Midland, Texas, United States

Actor Woody Harrelson has been active in the entertainment world for over 40 years now. The son of a convicted hit-man, he had a difficult childhood and grew up in poverty. However, he was determined to build a good life for himself and earned a BFA in theater before venturing into acting. He is a vegan and an environmental activist.

 30 
Danny Glover
(Known for His Lead Role as Roger Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' Film Series)

Danny Glover
5
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Danny Glover is an American actor whose career has spanned more than four decades. Apart from being an actor, Danny Glover has had a major impact as an activist; he has made his presence felt as an activist in countries like Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Israel, and many African countries.

 31 
Shailene Woodley
(Actress & Environmental Activist)

Shailene Woodley
19
Birthdate: November 15, 1991
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Bernardino County, California, United States

A child model at four and a television actor at eight, Shailene Woodley began working early and found fame with The Descendants, The Spectacular Now and the Divergent film series. She later gained tremendous appreciation for her work in the movie The Fault in Our Stars and HBO series Big Little Lies. The award winning actress is also an environmentalist and activist

 32 
Angela Davis
(Political Activist)

Angela Davis
17
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 33 
Vanessa Redgrave
(Is an English Actress, Activist)

Vanessa Redgrave
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

 34 
Eartha Kitt
(Singer with a Distinctive Voice Known for her Hits "Let's Do It", and "C'est si bon")

Eartha Kitt
4
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

 35 
Margot Kidder
(Actress)

Margot Kidder
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yellowknife, Canada
Died: May 13, 2018

Margot Kidder is best remembered for her roles as Lois Lane in the Superman movie franchise and as Kathy Lutz in The Amityville Horror. Fans also loved her in the hit Broadway play The Vagina Monologues. She was a vocal anti-war and pro-environment activist. She eventually died by suicide.

 36 
Elizabeth Smart
(Child Safety Activist and Commentator for 'ABC News')

Elizabeth Smart
13
Birthdate: November 3, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Elizabeth Smart is a child safety activist who gained national attention when she was kidnapped from her home at the age of 14. She was held captive for nine months before she was rescued by the cops. Smart went on to become an activist and works against human trafficking and abduction. In 2011, she became the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.

 37 
Ali MacGraw
(Actress)

Ali MacGraw
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pound Ridge, New York, United States

A veteran actress with a career spanning over half a century, Ali MacGraw first came to prominence in the 1970s after acting in many popular action and romantic films. She was also active on the stage and in TV shows. Besides acting, she has been an animal rights advocate throughout her life.

 38 
George Takei
(Actor, Activist)

George Takei
6
Birthdate: April 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
George Takei is best known as Hikaru Sulu from the series Star Trek and later reprised the role in several Star Trek films. He initially did voice work for English-dubbed Japanese movies. A vocal LGBT rights activist, he himself is gay. His Facebook page has a huge fan base.

 39 
Evanna Lynch
(Actress)

Evanna Lynch
5
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Termonfeckin, Ireland
Evanna Lynch is best known as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Harry Potter-themed video games, and the musical A Very Potter Senior Year. An avid animal rights activist, she has launched a vegan-themed podcast titled The ChickPeeps and a cruelty-free make-up box named Kinder Beauty Box.

 40 

Maya Angelou
4
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 41 
Ruby Bridges
(Philanthropist)

Ruby Bridges
8
Birthdate: September 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tylertown
American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend an all-white educational institute when she joined the Louisiana-based William Frantz Elementary School in November 1960. She was the subject of Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With and the TV movie Ruby Bridges.

 42 
Marlo Thomas
(Actress)

Marlo Thomas
4
Birthdate: November 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA

 43 
Jazz Jennings
(LGBTQ Rights Activist, Internet Personality, Spokesmodel)

Jazz Jennings
6
Birthdate: October 6, 2000
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Florida

 44 
Zack de la Rocha
(Vocalist and Lyricist of the Rock Band 'Rage Against the Machine')

Zack de la Rocha
9
Birthdate: January 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

Rapper Zack de la Rocha, the vocalist for the rock band Rage Against the Machine, also formed the duo One Day as a Lion with drummer Jon Theodore. He supports vegetarianism and the Zapatista (EZLN) movement of Mexico. He also testified against the U.S.’s treatment of Abu-Jamal, at the U.N. 

 45 

Marcheline Bertrand
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blue Island, Illinois, United States
Died: January 27, 2007

Marcheline Bertrand was an American actress. The former wife of Jon Voight and the mother of Angelina Jolie, Marcheline Bertrand had a brief acting career. She had a greater impact as a humanitarian as she co-founded an organization called All Tribes Foundation in an attempt to provide economic and cultural benefits to Native Americans.

 46 
Rosalia
(Singer)

Rosalia
7
Birthdate: September 25, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Spain

Grammy-winning Spanish flamenco singer Rosalia is quite a sensation in Latin music and has often experimented with R&B, hip-hop, and electronic music, too. She gained global fame with the single Malamente and also scripted history as the first-ever Spanish-language artist to gain a Best New Artist nomination at the Grammys.

 47 
Alexei Navalny
(Russian Opposition Leader, Lawyer, and Anti-Corruption Activist)

Alexei Navalny
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Butyn', Russia

Described by The Wall Street Journal as the man Vladimir Putin fears most, Alexei Navalny is widely regarded as Russia's opposition leader. He is famous for his accusations of corruption in Russia and Putin's government. In 2011, he created the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was dissolved in 2020. In August 2020, there was an attempt to assassinate him, when he was poisoned during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow.

 48 
Russell Simmons
(Founder of the hip-hop music label Def Jam)

Russell Simmons
4
Birthdate: October 4, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

Russell Simmons is a controversial American businessman who co-founded the hip-hop music label, 'Def Jam Recordings', and established the clothing line 'Phat Fashions'. He is noted for Harriet Tubman Sex Tape which generated a lot of heat in 2013. Simmons who calls himself a Christian yogi is accused of sexual assaults on several women. He has adopted veganism and advocates non-violence.

 49 
Pia Wurtzbach
(Model, Actress)

Pia Wurtzbach
6
Birthdate: September 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany

Pia Wurtzbach is a Filipino-German beauty queen who participated in the 64th Miss Universe pageant where she was crowned Miss Universe 2015. Wurtzbach is also a model, actress, and TV personality; she had to quit her showbusiness career temporarily to participate in the beauty pageant. She is also an advocate for gender equality and works towards raising awareness of HIV.

 50 
Cynthia Nixon
(Actress)

Cynthia Nixon
5
Birthdate: April 9, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Apart from being one of the most popular American actresses, Cynthia Nixon is also a well-known activist. Being an openly bisexual actress, she also serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community. Cynthia is a cancer survivor and continues to inspire people affected with cancer.