British Women Activists

Throughout history, there have been many British women activists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great British female activists such as Annie Besant, Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Goodall, Mary Wollstonecraft, Emily Davison.

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 British Women Activists

 1 Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney
14
Famous As: Barrister, Human rights activist
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.

 2 Jameela Jamil

Jameela Jamil
7
Famous As: Actress
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!

 3 Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst
6
Famous As: Leader of the British Suffragette Movement
Birthdate: July 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moss Side, Manchester, England
Died: June 14, 1928
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist best remembered for helping women earn the right to vote in elections by organizing the UK suffragette movement. For playing a major role in achieving women's suffrage in the UK, Pankhurst was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century list in 1999.

 4 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft
6
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 10, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, advocate of women's rights, and philosopher. Wollstonecraft, who attracted a lot of attention for her unconventional personal relationships, is widely considered a founding feminist philosopher. Although her unorthodoxy initially attracted criticisms, her advocacy of women's equality became increasingly important during the 20th century. Modern-day feminists cite her works and her life as important influences.

 5 Carrie Symonds

Carrie Symonds
12
Famous As: Boris Johnson'Partner
Birthdate: 1988 AD
Birthplace: East Sheen, South London
Carrie Symonds, the fiancée of British prime minister Boris Johnson, is the first unmarried partner of a prime minister to stay at 10 Downing Street. A former Conservative Party press officer, she now works with Oceana. She was the youngest victim to testify against serial sexual offender John Worboys. 

 6 Katie Piper

Katie Piper
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Andover, Hampshire, England

Model Katie Piper made headlines after being attacked with acid by her former boyfriend. She underwent a face restoration surgery to rebuild her damaged face. She then became an activist, released an autobiography, and created a documentary. She also owns a foundation to help burn victims and has hosted Bodyshockers.

 7 Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Srinagar

Joanna Lumley is a British actress and prolific activist. In recognition of her work as part of the Gurkha Justice Campaign, Joanna is fondly called as the daughter of Nepal in Nepal. Also known for supporting various other charity organizations and animal welfare groups, Joanna Lumley was appointed an OBE in the 1995 New Year Honours by the queen.

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 8 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.

 9 Jodie Whittaker

Jodie Whittaker
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skelmanthorpe, West Yorkshire, England, UK

English actor Jodie Whittaker made waves with her debut film Venus, which earned her a Satellite Award nomination. She made headlines when she became the first female to play the doctor in Doctor Who. She is also known for her roles in Black Mirror and Broadchurch.

 10 Julie Christie

Julie Christie
9
Famous As: Film actress
Birthdate: April 14, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chabua, Assam, British India

 11 Sara Pascoe

Sara Pascoe
5
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: May 22, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dagenham, London, England

Born to musician Derek Pascoe, comedian Sara Pascoe was raised by her mother amid poverty after her parents’ divorce. Initially a tour guide, she later stepped into comedy and never looked back. She is known for shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Twenty Twelve.

 12 Annie Besant

Annie Besant
4
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 16, 1847
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clapham, England
Died: 1933 AD

Annie Besant was a British theosophist, socialist, writer, orator, educationist, women's rights activist, and philanthropist. Despite being British, Besant supported India's freedom movement and even joined the Indian National Congress. She is also credited with co-founding Banaras Hindu University. Besant also helped launch the Indian Home Rule movement to campaign for democracy in the country.

 13 Lola Kirke

Lola Kirke
4
Famous As: Film actress
Birthdate: September 27, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

 14 Emily Davison

Emily Davison
3
Famous As: Suffragist, Activist
Birthdate: October 11, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 8, 1913

Activist Emily Davison is remembered for her relentless fight for women’s suffrage. As part of her protest, at the 1913 Epsom Derby, she went in front of King George V’s horse, to attach suffragette flags to it, and was tragically trampled to death. Some regard her as a martyr for women’s causes.

 15 Emma Watson

Emma Watson
3
Famous As: Actress, Activist
Birthdate: April 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

English actress, model, and activist, Emma Watson first gained prominence as a child artiste in the Harry Potter film series. The daughter of lawyers, she was determined to go to college despite her busy acting career and graduated from Brown University. A staunch feminist, she is actively involved with organizations that work for the betterment of women.

 16 Kate Nash

Kate Nash
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harrow, London, England, UK

 17 Princess Diana

Princess Diana
0
Famous As: Member of the British Royal Family
Birthdate: July 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: August 31, 1997

The first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, Princess Diana was a member of the British royal family. As a princess, she became known for her unconventional approach to charity work. She was celebrated as a style icon and fashionista as well. She divorced Charles in 1996 and died in a tragic car accident the following year.

 18 Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 27, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guildford, Surrey, England, UK

 19 Maxine Peake

Maxine Peake
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 14, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Westhoughton, Bolton, Lancashire, England, UK

 20 Sarah Solemani

Sarah Solemani
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 4, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Camden, London, England

 21 Pixie Geldof

Pixie Geldof
3
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: September 17, 1990
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

 22 Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick
3
Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: October 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Littlehampton, England
Died: September 10, 2007

Anita Roddick was a British businesswoman and human rights activist. She was also a passionate crusader for environmental issues. She founded the British version of The Body Shop, now The Body Shop International Limited. Her company was among the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals in some products. She was also involved with Greenpeace.  

 23 Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bromley, England
Died: April 25, 2011

 24 Gina Miller

Gina Miller
0
Famous As: Business owner and activist
Birthdate: April 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guyana

 25 Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes
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Famous As: Paleobotanist & Women’s Rights Activists
Birthdate: October 15, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: October 2, 1958

Apart from being a successful botanist, Marie Stopes was also a popular activist, known for her contribution to the feminist cause. A leading supporter of birth control, she established the UK’s first clinic for family planning. She was also known for her books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.

 26 Millicent Fawcett

Millicent Fawcett
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aldeburgh, England
Died: August 5, 1929

 27 Mary Whitehouse

Mary Whitehouse
3
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: June 13, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: November 23, 2001

While she was initially a schoolteacher, who specialized in sex education, Mary Whitehouse later began a campaign against the moral standards of the media in Britain, particularly the BBC. She launched the Clean Up TV campaign, vocalizing her opposition toward content such as war and child pornography.

 28 Hayley Okines

Hayley Okines
3
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: December 3, 1997
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Arrington
Died: April 1, 2015

 29 Pamela Harriman

Pamela Harriman
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Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: March 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Farnborough, England
Died: February 5, 1997

Apart from serving as the US ambassador to France and as a Democratic political activist, Pamela Harriman had also been in the news for her three marriages, all to high-profile men, namely, Randolph Churchill, Leland Hayward, and W. Averell Harriman. She also had countless affairs with rich and influential men.

 30 Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tongham, United Kingdom
Died: April 27, 1953

Maud Gonne not just co-founded the Sinn Féin party but also participated in the theater movement of W.B Yeats, who made her his muse and proposed to her many times, only to be rejected. An Irish nationalist, she also formed the Daughters of Ireland and acted in Yeats’s first play Cathleen ni Houlihan.

 31 Sheherazade Goldsmith

Sheherazade Goldsmith
3
Famous As: Environmentalist, Socialite
Birthdate: March 14, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Denmark Hill, London

 32 Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst
3
Famous As: Militant
Birthdate: September 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Died: February 13, 1958

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst was a British suffragette who co-founded the Women's Social and Political Union. From 1912 to 1913, Pankhurst directed the organization's militant actions from France. After the war, Christabel Pankhurst settled down in the United States of America where she served as an evangelist for the Second Coming movement.

 33 Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk
3
Famous As: President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Birthdate: June 11, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: United Kingdom

Co-founder and president of PETA, animal activist Ingrid Newkirk is also associated with organizations such as EarthSave International and United Poultry Concerns. She has also penned books such as Free the Animals! Apart from soaking herself in fake blood for protests, she has also supported the often-anti-social Animal Liberation Front.

 34 Adwoa Aboah

Adwoa Aboah
3
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: May 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

 35 Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst
3
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: May 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Old Trafford (district) Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Died: September 27, 1960

 36 Caryl Churchill

Caryl Churchill
3
Famous As: Dramatist, Women's Rights Activist
Birthdate: September 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

 37 Gabriella Wright

Gabriella Wright
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 19, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stoke Newington, London, England, United Kingdom

 38 Heather Brooke

Heather Brooke
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, U.S.

 39 Ophelia Dahl

Ophelia Dahl
3
Famous As: Social justice and health care advocate
Birthdate: May 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oxford, England

 40 Jane McGrath

Jane McGrath
2
Famous As: England-born Australian cancer support campaigner
Birthdate: May 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paignton
Died: June 22, 2008

 41 Cicely Saunders

Cicely Saunders
3
Famous As: Nurse
Birthdate: June 22, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barnet, Hertfordshire, England
Died: July 14, 2005
A pioneer of the hospice movement, English nurse and social worker Cicely Saunders not only developed the palliative care approach but also established the St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. A supporter of medical ethics, she was against voluntary euthanasia. She won numerous awards, such as the Templeton Prize.

 42 Josephine Butler

Josephine Butler
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Famous As: Social Worker
Birthdate: April 13, 1828
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Northumberland
Died: December 30, 1906

Renowned Victorian-era feminist and social reformer Josephine Butler was a champion for women’s suffrage and also fought against human trafficking. It is believed, she devoted herself to charity after the death of her 6-year-old daughter. She also forced Cambridge to encourage women’s education, which culminated in the Newnham women’s college.

 43 Caroline Chisholm

Caroline Chisholm
2
Famous As: Immigrant Welfare Activist
Birthdate: May 30, 1808
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wootton, Northampton, England
Died: March 25, 1877

Caroline Chisholm was an English humanitarian remembered for her work in British India where she established the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers which aimed at educating girls, who were taught reading, writing, nursing, cooking, and housekeeping. She also became a much-admired woman in Australia where she placed more than 11,000 people in jobs and homes.

 44 Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
3
Famous As: Ugandan-born British journalist and author
Birthdate: December 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

 45 Sophia Duleep Singh

Sophia Duleep Singh
0
Famous As: Suffragette and her father was Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh
Birthdate: August 8, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Elveden Hall, Elveden, Suffolk, England
Died: August 22, 1948

 46 Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer
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Famous As: Protestant
Birthdate: November 30, 1611
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: England
Died: June 1, 1660

 47 Caroline Norton

Caroline Norton
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 22, 1808
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: June 15, 1877

Being the granddaughter of playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author Caroline Norton had her first experience at writing in her teens. Her beauty and charm, however, made her failed barrister husband jealous. The rift in their marriage caused her to successfully campaign for married women’s right to property and their children’s custody.

 48 Saffron Aldridge

Saffron Aldridge
2
Famous As: model
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: London

 49 Ethel Smyth

Ethel Smyth
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 22, 1858
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sidcup, United Kingdom
Died: May 8, 1944

 50 Emily Hobhouse

Emily Hobhouse
2
Famous As: British Social Worker
Birthdate: April 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St Ive, Cornwall, England
Died: June 8, 1926