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
14
Famous As: Abolitionist and Political activist
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 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
5
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.

 3 Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley
21
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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 4 Helen Keller

Helen Keller
5
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 Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Jane Fonda is hailed as one of the best actresses ever and has won two Oscars. She has acted in popular and acclaimed films like Barefoot in the Park, Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, Julia, The Morning After, The China Syndrome and California Suite. She’s also known for her exercise videos and is famous for her opposition to the Vietnam War.

 7 Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony
9
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.

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 8 Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jackson Heights, New York, United States

Susan Sarandon is hailed as one of the best actresses of her time. She has starred in many acclaimed Hollywood films like Bull Durham, Thelma and Louise, Atlantic City and Lorenzo's Oil. In 1995 she won an Oscar for Dead Man Walking. She’s also a political activist and has often protested against issues like war, gun violence and migrant separation policy.

 9 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.

 10 Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox
8
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

 11 Leah Remini

Leah Remini
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 12 Geena Davis

Geena Davis
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wareham, Massachusetts, United States

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.

 13 Jessica Lange

Jessica Lange
6
Famous As: Actress & Producer
Birthdate: April 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cloquet, Minnesota, United States

Jessica Lange is a prominent actress with over four decades of experience in Hollywood. She is one of the few female performers to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting,” having won an Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award. She has appeared in many critically acclaimed films. Also a photographer, she has published four books.

 14 Daryl Hannah

Daryl Hannah
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 15 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher
5
Famous As: Actress, Comedian
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.

 16 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.

 17 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.

 18 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.

 19 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
15
Famous As: Actress
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.

 20 Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette
20
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.

 21 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.

 22 Linda McCartney

Linda McCartney
5
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.  

 23 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.

 24 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.

 25 Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi
4
Famous As: Actress, Model
Birthdate: January 31, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Yara Shahidi is best known as Zoey Johnson from Black-ish and Grown-ish. She started off as a model for brands such as McDonald's and GapKids, at age 6. One of Time’s “30 Most Influential Teens of 2016," she was also appreciated in the film The Sun Is Also a Star.

 26 Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart
12
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.

 27 Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 28 Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 29 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.

 30 Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 31 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.

 32 Indya Moore

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

 33 Marlo Thomas

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

 34 Jazz Jennings

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

 35 Marcheline Bertrand

Marcheline Bertrand
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 36 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.

 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 Anita Hill

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

 39 Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
5
Famous As: Activist
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.

 40 Barbara Bush

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

 41 Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King
10
Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Author
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heiberger, Alabama, United States
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 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.

 44 Lena Horne

Lena Horne
4
Famous As: Singer, Dancer, Actress
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States
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.

 45 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

 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 Nazanin Boniadi

Nazanin Boniadi
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

Nazanin Boniadi is an Iran-born English actress and activist best known for her portrayal of Nora in the popular American sitcom How I Met Your Mother. She has also played important roles in several other American television series like Homeland and Counterpart. From 2009 to 2015, Nazanin Boniadi served as a spokesperson for the popular non-governmental organization Amnesty International.

 48 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

 49 Alice Walker

Alice Walker
6
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.

 50 Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day
3
Famous As: Journalist, Social Activist
Birthdate: November 8, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 29, 1980