American Women Activists

Throughout history, there have been many American women activists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great American female activists such as Angelina Jolie, Betty White, Hillary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Shailene Woodley.

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 American Women Activists

 1 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman.
10
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: February 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 2 Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley.
18
Famous As: Actress, Activist
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

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 3 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer & Activist
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

 4 Helen Keller

Helen Keller.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

 5 Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks.
18
Famous As: Activist
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.

 6 Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony.
8
Famous As: Women’s Rights Activist
Birthdate: February 15, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Adams, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 13, 1906

Susan B. Anthony's vital role in the women's suffrage movement changed the course of history. She led one of the two national suffrage organizations, which later became the National American Woman Suffrage Association, with Susan as its leading force. She also played an instrumental role in publishing The Revolution, a women's rights newspaper.

 7 Joan Chandos Baez

Joan Chandos Baez.
8
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States

Singer, songwriter, musician, and activist Joan Baez has been active in the music world for over six decades. She emerged as a major musical figure in the counterculture era of the 1960s. Her music encompasses various genres like pop, folk-rock, country, and gospel music. She is involved in civil rights, human rights, and environmental activism as well.

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 8 Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky.
7
Famous As: American Television Personality
Birthdate: July 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Activist and TV personality, Monica Lewinsky, is a former White House intern who was involved in an affair with Bill Clinton, an incident that later became known as the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The scandal brought her international publicity and she eventually became a successful businesswoman. She is also a social activist who speaks against cyberbullying.

 9 Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

 10 Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich.
6
Famous As: Environmental Activist
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.

 11 Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur.
5
Famous As: Actress, Activist
Birthdate: May 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: April 25, 2009

American actress Bea Arthur worked extensively in television and was hailed for her comic timing. All in the Family, Maude and The Golden Girls are some of her acclaimed series. In her long career, she also worked in films like Lovers and Other Strangers, History of the World 1 and For Better or Worse. She won many accolades, including two Emmy awards.

 12 Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette.
19
Famous As: Television Actress, Activist, Singer
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.

 13 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kew Gardens, 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.

 14 Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd.
4
Famous As: Actress, Political activist
Birthdate: April 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Granada Hills, 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.

 15 Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth.
4
Famous As: American women's rights activist
Birthdate: December 1, 1797
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Swartekill, New York
Died: November 26, 1883

Sojourner Truth was an American women's rights activist and abolitionist. Born into slavery, Truth escaped to freedom in 1826. She then approached the court to recover her son, subsequently becoming the first black woman to emerge successful against a white man in such a case. In 2014, she was named in Smithsonian's 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time list.

 16 Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States
Kate Walsh is best known as Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Fans also loved her as Mrs. Baker from the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Kate is also known for her political activism. She has also launched a beauty and lifestyle brand named Boyfriend LLC.

 17 Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin
6
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: July 24, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buderim, Australia

Daughter of legendary Australian wildlife expert The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Bindi Irwin has followed in her father’s footsteps and is now a renowned conservationist and TV personality. Her stint on Bindi the Jungle Girl made her the youngest Daytime Emmy winner. She is also associated with the Australia Zoo.

 18 Angela Davis

Angela Davis.
17
Famous As: Political Activist
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.

 19 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie.
13
Famous As: Actress, Filmmaker, Activist
Birthdate: June 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S

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.

 20 Linda McCartney

Linda McCartney.
4
Famous As: Photographer, Musician
Birthdate: September 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: April 17, 1998
Linda McCartney, the first wife of Paul McCartney, formed the band Wings with her husband, after the Beatles disbanded. An animal rights activist, she wrote several vegetarian cookbooks, apart from launching Linda McCartney Foods. She was also a skilled photographer and published a photo book. She died of breast cancer.  

 21 Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart.
11
Famous As: Activist
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.

 22 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt.
9
Famous As: Singer
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.

 23 Betty White

Betty White.
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States

Betty White, American actress and comedian, is considered as the pioneer of television and has had the longest television career of any entertainer, straddling more than 80 years. She’s known for her award-winning performances in shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland

 24 Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pound Ridge, New York

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.

 25 Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges.
8
Famous As: Philanthropist
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.

 26 Indya Moore

Indya Moore
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 17, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 27 Patti Smith

Patti Smith.
4
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: December 30, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter. Referred to as the punk poet laureate, Smith became an influential figure of the punk rock movement with the release of her album Horses. Many world-renowned musicians, such as Madonna and Michael Stipe, have cited Smith as their inspiration. Even actresses like Ellen Page and Maria Doyle Kennedy have called Smith a major influence.

 28 Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: April 17, 2016

Five-time Emmy Award-winning actor Doris Roberts is best remembered as Marie Barone from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and as Mildred Krebs from Remington Steele. She also appeared on various talk/game shows and in films such as The Honeymoon Killers. She was a prominent animal rights activist, too.

 29 Geena Davis

Geena Davis.
4
Famous As: Actress, Producer, Model
Birthdate: January 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wareham

An Academy Award-winning actress, Geena Davis is also known for her work to fight gender bias, for which she was presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. An ardent archer, who vied for a semifinals spot in the U.S. Olympic archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics, Geena supports the Women's Sports Foundation among other initiatives that support women.

 30 Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings.
5
Famous As: LGBTQ Rights Activist, Internet Personality, Spokesmodel
Birthdate: October 6, 2000
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Florida

 31 Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger.
4
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: September 14, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corning, New York, United States
Died: September 6, 1966

Margaret Sanger was an American writer and sex educator. She is credited with popularizing the term birth control. A birth control activist, Sanger established the first birth control clinic in America. She also set up organizations that later became the well-known non-profit organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also played a key role in legalizing contraception in the US.

 32 Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 8, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Alfre Woodard is an American actress. Considered one of the most accomplished and versatile actresses of her generation, Woodard was named in The New York Times' The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century list in 2020. Also a political activist, Woodard is credited with founding Artists for a New South Africa, which aims at advancing equality in South Africa.

 33 Cybill Lynne Shepherd

Cybill Lynne Shepherd.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Cybill Shepherd is best known for her roles in films such as The Heartbreak Kid, Taxi Driver, and Alice. Fans also loved her for her Golden Globe-winning portrayals of Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes in the series Moonlighting and Cybill Sheridan in the sitcom Cybill. She is a follower of goddess-worshipping Paganism.

 34 Anita Hill

Anita Hill
6
Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Morns, Oklahoma, USA

 35 Marlo Thomas

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

 36 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou.
3
Famous As: Poet
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.

 37 Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Ulm, Minnesota, United States

Known as a typical Hitchcock Blonde, Tippi Hedren soared to fame with her roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie. An animal rights activist, too, she set up the Roar Foundation and the Shambala Preserve, after witnessing the plight of the animals that are used for shoots.

 38 Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush
5
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dallas, United States

 39 Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Suffern, New York
Valerie Harper is best remembered as Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, with the role winning her four Emmys. She also hosted Nova and was seen as Valerie Hogan in the sitcom Valerie. She also earned a Tony nomination for the play Looped.

 40 Torrey DeVitto

Torrey DeVitto.
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Huntington, New York
Torrey DeVitto is best known as Melissa Hastings from Pretty Little Liars, Dr. Natalie Manning in Chicago Med, and Carrie in One Tree Hill. Fans also loved her in The Vampire Diaries and Army Wives. She is a Hospice ambassador and has supported campaigns for mental-health awareness and animal rights.

 41 Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King.
10
Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Author
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heiberger
Died: January 30, 2006

The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women's Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilising African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre, a not-for-profit organization.

 42 Afeni Shakur

Afeni Shakur.
7
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: January 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lumberton, North Carolina
Died: May 2, 2016

Afeni Shakur was a political activist best known as the mother of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. Afeni Shakur was an important member of the popular political organization Black Panther Party where she mentored new members like Jamal Joseph, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, and Cleo Silvers.

 43 Lena Horne

Lena Horne.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant
Died: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.

 44 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
3
Famous As: Women’s Rights Activist
Birthdate: November 12, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstown
Died: October 26, 1902

 45 Cara Buono

Cara Buono.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
Cara Buono is best known for her Emmy-nominated role of Faye Miller in Mad Men and as Karen Wheeler from Netflix’s Stranger Things. Fans also loved her as Kelli Moltisanti in The Sopranos. She has also appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway productions and in movies such as Let Me In.

 46 Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells.
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 16, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 25, 1931
Civil rights and women's rights activist Ida B. Wells is remembered for speaking up against the lynching of Blacks in the U.S. She was born a slave and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. She later co-founded the NAACP. She also co-owned and wrote for Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.

 47 Alice Paul

Alice Paul.
3
Famous As: Women's rights activist
Birthdate: January 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey, United States
Died: July 9, 1977

 48 Jill Stein

Jill Stein.
5
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Jill Stein is a physician who later became the presidential nominee for the Green Party in the 2012 and 2016 elections. She has also been the Green-Rainbow Party's candidate for the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010. She believed in the Green New Deal, including climate change reforms.

 49 Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin.
4
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: August 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston

Temple Grandin is an American activist and scientist. An outspoken proponent of the neurodiversity and autism rights movements, Grandin is one of the first individuals to document the insights gained from her own experience of autism. She has also authored over 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. Her life and work inspired the 2010 biographical drama film Temple Grandin.

 50 Alice Walker

Alice Walker.
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eatonton
Author Alice Walker is best known for her National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. She is credited with coining the term womanist, to mean feminist of color. Her marriage with Melvyn Roseman Leventhal was the first official interracial marriage in the state of Mississippi.