Famous American Women's Rights Activists

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Turn the pages of history and you may be shocked to know the appalled state of women in society back then. Unlike the present times, women of the yesteryears were mere objects of home, untitled, bereft of civil and constitutional rights and deprived of any freedom. Had it not been for the women’s rights activist, we would not have Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, Melinda Gates, Anna Patricia Botin or Taylor Swift at their top spots today! Talking of women’s rights activists, American women’s rights activist have played a pivotal role in the women suffragist movement. Be it 19th century civil rights leader Susan B Anthony or Amelia Bloomer, leader and strategist Alice Paul or first American woman Nobel laureate, Jane Addams, each of them committedly fought for social equality to give women an equal status in the society. It was for the efforts of these valiant women that the society turned to the issues concerning women. Basic amenities like freedom of speech, right to vote, gender discrimination, sexual and reproductive health rights, gender-based violence were unheard of concepts that women activists not just brought to the forefront but successfully conquered them to help uplift the status of women in society. Browse through this section to get details about the life and works of American women’s rights activists.
Vote for Your Favourite American Women's Rights Activists
 1 
Susan B. Anthony
(Social Reformer and Women's Rights Activist Who Was a Pioneer Crusader for the Women’s Suffrage Movement)
Susan B. Anthony
10
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.

 2 
Sojourner Truth
(Abolitionist and Women's Rights Activist)
Sojourner Truth
4
Birthdate: 1797 AD
Birthplace: Rifton, New York, United States
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.

 3 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
(American Women's Rights Activist and Key Figure Behind 'Seneca Falls Convention')
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
4
Birthdate: November 12, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstown
Died: October 26, 1902

American women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton first came to know about laws that discriminated against women while studying law books in the office of her father, who was a prominent judge. She later became the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association and co-wrote books such as The Woman's Bible.

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 4 
Betty Ford
(Former First Lady of the United States)
Betty Ford
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 8, 2011

Betty Ford served as the First Lady of the US from 1974 to 1977. One of the most popular First Ladies in history, Ford was a passionate supporter of abortion rights and worked towards raising breast cancer awareness. She commented on topics like sex, drugs, abortion, and equal pay. In 1991, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 5 
Dorothy Day
(American Social Activist, Journalist, and Anarchist)
Dorothy Day
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 29, 1980

Dorothy Day was an American social activist, journalist, and anarchist. She is best remembered for co-founding the Catholic Worker Movement along with French activist Peter Maurin. She also co-founded a newspaper called Catholic Worker and served as its editor between 1933 and 1980. In 2001, Dorothy Day was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 6 
Alice Paul
(American Quaker, Feminist, Suffragist, and Women's Rights Activist)
Alice Paul
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey, United States
Died: July 9, 1977

Alice Paul was an American Quaker, feminist, suffragist, and women's rights activist. She is best remembered for strategizing events like the Silent Sentinels and the Woman Suffrage Procession, which resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Alice Paul often displayed courage while confronting police brutality for her activism.

 7 
Mary McLeod Bethune
(American Civil Rights Activist and Founder of the 'National Council of Negro Women')
Mary McLeod Bethune
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina, United States
Died: May 18, 1955

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American civil rights activist, educator, womanist, humanitarian, and philanthropist. She is credited with founding the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune also played a key role in the creation of the Black Cabinet while serving as an adviser to Franklin Roosevelt. In 1973, Bethune was made an indutee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 8 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(Critic of Islam and Advocate of Women Rights)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
4
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.

 9 
Victoria Woodhull
(The First Woman to Run for the American Presidency)
Victoria Woodhull
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1838
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Homer, Ohio, United States
Died: June 9, 1927

Victoria Woodhull was an American politician, suffragist, and writer who played an important role in the women's suffrage movement. She is credited with founding Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, America's first newspaper to be founded by a woman. Her life and career inspired the Broadway musical Onward Victoria. In 2001, she was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 10 
Jeannette Rankin
(Feminist Politician & the First Woman to be Part of the US Congress and Only from Montana)
Jeannette Rankin
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1880
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Missoula
Died: May 18, 1973

Jeannette Rankin scripted history as the first female member of the US Congress. A feminist, she was also associated with the women’s suffrage movement. Earlier, the Republican worked as a dressmaker, a furniture designer, and a teacher. She was the only legislator to vote against war after the Pearl Harbor incident.

 11 
Gloria Allred
(American Feminist Lawyer Known for Taking Controversial and High Profile Cases for Women's Rights)
Gloria Allred
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

A pioneering female lawyer, Gloria Allred is known for fighting cases involving violation of women’s rights and has turned into an icon for women and people from minority communities. A civil rights advocate, too, she has also been a TV and radio commentator and host.

 12 
Margaret Fuller
(American Journalist, Critic, Editor, and Women's Rights Advocate)
Margaret Fuller
3
Birthdate: May 23, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 19, 1850

Margaret Fuller was an American journalist, critic, editor, women's rights advocate, and translator. She is best remembered for her association with the transcendentalism movement. Her 1843 book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is widely regarded as the first major feminist book in the USA. An advocate of women's rights, Margaret Fuller was the first female war correspondent in the USA.

 13 
Pearl Buck
(Winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Pearl Buck
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hillsboro
Died: March 6, 1973

Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Pearl Buck was raised in China by her missionary parents. She grew up to teach English literature in Chinese universities and later penned books such as East Wind, West Wind and The Good Earth, which were based on her experiences in China.

 14 
Elizabeth Jagger
(British-American Actress, Model, Activist, and Feminist)
Elizabeth Jagger
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York

Elizabeth Jagger is a British-American actress, model, activist, and feminist. Best known for her work supporting the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Jagger played an important role in Illinois ratifying the ERA. As a model, Elizabeth Jagger has worked with famous brands like Lancôme and Tommy Hilfiger.

 15 
Fannie Lou Hamer
(American Community Organizer and Women's Rights Activist)
Fannie Lou Hamer
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 14, 1977

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American community organizer and women's rights activist. She also played an important role in the civil rights movement. Hamer is credited with co-founding the Freedom Democratic Party as well as the National Women's Political Caucus. In 1993, Fannie Lou Hamer was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 16 
Mary Edwards Walker
(Surgeon, Feminist, Activist)
Mary Edwards Walker
3
Birthdate: November 26, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oswego
Died: February 21, 1919

Mary Edwards Walker, or Dr. Mary Walker, was the only female surgeon who served injured soldiers during the American Civil War. A dress reform supporter, she believed women should value comfort more than tradition when it came to clothes. She was also the first and only Medal of Honor winner.

 17 
Lucretia Mott
(Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist, Social Reformer)
Lucretia Mott
3
Birthdate: January 3, 1793
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: November 11, 1880

Lucretia Mott was an American women's rights activist, abolitionist, and social reformer. Mott played a major role in the events leading up to the Seneca Falls Convention, the first gathering supporting women's rights in the USA. Lucretia Mott's work influenced Elizabeth Cady Stanton whom she mentored. In 1983, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 18 
Rachel Dolezal
(Controversial Activist Known for Presenting Herself as a Black Woman Despite Having Been Born to White Parents)
Rachel Dolezal
4
Birthdate: November 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln County, Montana, United States

While she claimed she was a transracial Black woman, former NAACP branch president Rachel Dolezal was revealed to be a white woman passing off as Black when her parents spoke to the media. Following the mass protests after the revelation, she was fired from Eastern Washington University, her workplace.

 19 
Rebecca Latimer Felton
(First Woman Who was Appointed to the United States Senate)
Rebecca Latimer Felton
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Decatur, Georgia, United States
Died: January 24, 1930

Writer, lecturer, suffragist, reformer, feminist, politician and slave-owner Rebecca Latimer Felton was the first woman who served in the United States Senate. The most distinguished woman in Georgia during the Progressive Era, Felton was appointed Senator from Georgia as a mark of respect. With this she became the oldest freshman-senator who entered the Senate and served for just 24 hours.    

 20 
Lucy Stone
(American Abolitionist, Suffragist, Orator, and Women's Rights Activist)
Lucy Stone
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: October 19, 1893

Lucy Stone was an American abolitionist, suffragist, orator, and women's rights activist. She was the first woman to earn a college degree from Massachusetts. Stone played a key role in the formation of the Woman's National Loyal League as well as the American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1986, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 21 
Carrie Chapman Catt
(American Women's Suffrage Leader Who Successfully Campaigned for Passing of the ‘Nineteenth Amendment’)
Carrie Chapman Catt
3
Birthdate: January 9, 1859
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ripon
Died: March 9, 1947

American women's suffrage-leader Carrie Chapman Catt  served as president of National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (later International Alliance of Women) and League of Women Voters. She is best-known for leading the NAWSA, organising the Winning Plan and playing a pivotal role in passing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

 22 
Angelina Grimke
(American Political Activist, Abolitionist, and Women's Rights Advocate)
Angelina Grimke
3
Birthdate: February 20, 1805
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Died: October 26, 1879

Angelina Grimke was an American political activist, abolitionist, women's rights advocate, and promoter of the women's suffrage movement. She is best remembered for the anti-slavery speech which she gave outside Pennsylvania Hall in May 1838. One of her letters regarding anti-slavery was published by William Lloyd Garrison in his newspaper The Liberator in 1835.

 23 
Matilda Cuomo
(Advocate)
Matilda Cuomo
0
Birthdate: September 16, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 24 
Anna Julia Cooper
(One of the Most Important African-American Scholars in US History)
Anna Julia Cooper
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: February 27, 1964

Anna Julia Cooper was an American author, sociologist, educator, Black liberation activist, and speaker. She was one of the most important African-American scholars in US history. In 1924, Anna Julia Cooper earned her PhD from the University of Paris, becoming only the fourth African-American woman to receive a doctoral degree.

 25 
Abby Johnson
(American Anti-Abortion Activist)
Abby Johnson
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: United States

Abby Johnson is an American activist who has participated in many anti-abortion movements. She is best known for her memoir Unplanned, which was adapted into a film of the same name. Released in 2019, the film became a major box office success.

 26 
Sarah Weddington
(American Law Professor, Attorney, and Advocate For Women's Rights)
Sarah Weddington
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Abilene, Texas, U.S

Sarah Weddington was an American law professor, attorney, and advocate for women's rights. She is best remembered for representing Norma McCorvey in the famous Roe v. Wade case before the US Supreme Court. The case was adapted into a TV film in which Sarah Weddington was played by Amy Madigan.

 27 
Meena Harris
(Founder of the ‘Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign’, an Organisation that Brings Awareness to Social Causes)
Meena Harris
0
Birthdate: October 20, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
 28 
Matilda Joslyn Gage
(Abolitionist, Freethinker, Author)
Matilda Joslyn Gage
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1826
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cicero
Died: March 18, 1898
 29 
Brittany Maynard
(Educator, Activist)
Brittany Maynard
0
Birthdate: November 19, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Anaheim, California, United States
Died: November 1, 2014
 30 
Mary White Ovington
(American Journalist and Co-founder of the 'National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)')
Mary White Ovington
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 15, 1951

Mary White Ovington was an American journalist and suffragist. She is best remembered as one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Throughout her life, Mary White Ovington remained active in the fight for women's suffrage in the United States of America. She also wrote several articles and books including an autobiography. 

 31 
Amelia Bloomer
(American Women's Rights Advocate and Newspaper Editor)
Amelia Bloomer
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Homer, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 1894

Amelia Bloomer was an American temperance and women's rights advocate and newspaper editor. She is best remembered for her association with The Lily and became the first American woman to own and edit a newspaper for women. The famous bloomer costume, which is known as the reform dress, is named after Amelia Bloomer.

 32 
Anna Howard Shaw
(Leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.)
Anna Howard Shaw
3
Birthdate: February 14, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
Died: July 2, 1919
 33 
Emma Willard
(American activist)
Emma Willard
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1787
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 15, 1870
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 9, 1911
 35 
Esther Peterson
(Women's advocate)
Esther Peterson
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States
Died: December 20, 1997
 36 
Belva Ann Lockwood
(American lawyer)
Belva Ann Lockwood
3
Birthdate: October 24, 1830
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Royalton, New York
Died: May 19, 1917
 37 
W.A. Criswell
3
Birthdate: December 19, 1909
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eldorado, Oklahoma, United States
Died: January 10, 2002
 38 
Dorothy Dix
(Journalist)
Dorothy Dix
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1861
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Tennessee, United States
Died: December 16, 1951
 39 
Emily Greene Balch
(Central Leader of the 'Women's International League for Peace and Freedom' and Winner of 1946 Nobel Peace Prize)
Emily Greene Balch
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston
Died: January 9, 1961

Emily Greene Balch was an American sociologist, economist, and pacifist. She is best remembered for her work to deal with social issues like child labor, poverty, and immigration. She also worked towards reducing juvenile delinquency and uplifting poor immigrants. In 1946, Emily Greene Balch was honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

 40 
Simone Campbell
(Religious sister)
Simone Campbell
2
Birthdate: October 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California

Simone Campbell is an American lawyer, lobbyist, Roman Catholic Religious Sister, and executive director of NETWORK. She is credited with establishing the Community Law Center, where she served as the lead attorney for 18 years since its founding in 1978. From 1995 to 2000, she served as her religious institute's General Director and supervised its activities in many countries.

 41 
Clar Weah
(First Lady, Women's rights activist)
Clar Weah
0
Birthdate: March 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
 42 
Maggie Kuhn
(Activist)
Maggie Kuhn
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: April 22, 1995
 43 
Louise Little
(Activist)
Louise Little
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1894
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: La Digue, Saint Andrew Parish, Grenada
Died: December 18, 1991
 44 
Catharine A. MacKinnon
2
Birthdate: October 7, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
 45 
Antoinette Brown Blackwell
(First American Woman to Be Ordained as a Mainstream Protestant Minister)
Antoinette Brown Blackwell
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Henrietta, New York, United States
Died: November 5, 1921

The first Protestant minister of the U.S., Antoinette Brown Blackwell was had started preaching at Congregational church meetings from the tender age of 9. Not allowed to graduate and later denied a chance to speak at the World’s Temperance Convention, for being a woman, she rallied for women’s rights.

 46 
Beate Sirota Gordon
(Austrian-Born American Women's Rights Advocate and Performing Arts Presenter)
Beate Sirota Gordon
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 30, 2012

Beate Sirota Gordon was an Austrian-born American women's rights advocate and performing arts presenter. She was part of the team that wrote the Constitution of Japan under American military leader Douglas MacArthur after the Second World War. Beate Sirota Gordon won numerous awards, including the American Dance Guild Award, for her achievement as an arts presenter.

 47 
Esther Hobart Morris
(First Woman Justice of the Peace in the United States)
Esther Hobart Morris
2
Birthdate: August 8, 1814
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Spencer, New York, United States
Died: April 2, 1902

Esther Hobart McQuigg Slack Morris, the US’s first female judge, was a prominent suffragist who made it possible for women of Wyoming to gain their voting rights. She left New York, since the city’s laws didn’t let her own property after her first husband’s death.

 48 
Maud Wood Park
(Former suffragist, women's rights activist known as Founder of College Equal Suffrage League)
Maud Wood Park
1
Birthdate: January 25, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 8, 1955
 49 
Maggie Gallagher
(Co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (Nom))
Maggie Gallagher
2
Birthdate: September 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lake Oswego, Oregon, United States
 50 
Arabella Mansfield
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1846
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Iowa, United States
Died: August 1, 1911