Women's Rights Activists

Where would feminism be today had it not been for the thousands of women's rights activists across the world who have struggled over the past several decades demanding equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women? These activists have played a pivotal role in bringing about a greater degree of gender equality in the society and in campaigning for basic women’s rights such as the right to education, right to vote, right to work and to own property. Even though several ancient Greek philosophers including Socrates and Plato demanded equal rights for women, it is the 18th century women’s rights activists like Olympes de Gouge and Mary Wollstonecraft who are considered the forerunners of the modern women's movement. Susan Brownell Anthony, a prominent 19th century feminist was very active in the women's suffrage movement and played a pivotal role in creating the International Council of Women. British women Christabel Pankhurst and Millicent Garrett passionately fought for the rights of women in their country while Canadian physician Dr. Emily Howard Stowe campaigned for Canada's first medical college for women. Throughout the centuries, several men like Parker Pillsbury, Sir Henry Maine, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson have also contributed to women’s rights movements. Read on to discover about the life and works of various famous women's rights activists from all over the world.

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

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 1 Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: July 12, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mingora, Swat, 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 Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony
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.

 3 Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth
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.

 4 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft
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 Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst
Famous As: Leader of the British Suffragette Movement
Birthdate: July 4, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moss Side, Manchester
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.

 6 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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

 7 Alice Paul

Alice Paul
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
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 8 Dorothy Day

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

 9 Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina, United States
Died: May 18, 1955

 10 Evita Peron

Evita Peron
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 7, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Toldos, Argentina
Died: July 26, 1952

 11 Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin
Famous As: First Woman Elected to U.S Congress
Birthdate: June 11, 1880
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Missoula
Died: May 18, 1973

 12 Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Famous As: Socio-religious Reformer
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radhanagore, West Bengal, India
Died: September 27, 1833

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian social and religious reformer. He is credited with co-founding the Brahmo Sabha, a social-religious reform movement. Often referred to as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance, Roy has had an influential role in fields like politics, education, and religion. In 2004, he was ranked 10th in BBC's Greatest Bengali of all time poll.

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 13 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt
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.

 14 Alice Walker

Alice Walker
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.

 15 Cybill Lynne Shepherd

Cybill Lynne Shepherd
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.

 16 Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller
Famous As: Journalist, Activist
Birthdate: May 23, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 19, 1850

 17 Emily Davison

Emily Davison
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.

 18 Manisha Koirala

Manisha Koirala
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kathmandu, Nepal

Manisha Koirala is a Nepalese actress known for her work in Indian films. One of the most critically acclaimed actresses of the 1990s, Koirala has won several prestigious awards. She is also known for her social activism and is credited with promoting women's rights. Her achievements in films and off-screen work have made her one of the most recognized Nepalis.

 19 Nicole da Silva

Nicole da Silva
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 18, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Nicole da Silva is an Australian actress renowned for her portrayal of Stella Dagostino in the popular police procedural television series Rush. She is also known for playing Franky Doyle in the Australian TV drama series Wentworth for which she won the 2014 ASTRA Award under the Most Outstanding Performance by an Actress category.

 20 Lina Esco

Lina Esco
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 14, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, USA

 21 Betty Ford

Betty Ford
Famous As: Former First Lady of the United States
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.

 22 Elizabeth Jagger

Elizabeth Jagger
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: March 2, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York

 23 Pearl Buck

Pearl Buck
Famous As: American writer
Birthdate: June 26, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hillsboro
Died: March 6, 1973

 24 Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer
Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 14, 1977

 25 Lucy Burns

Lucy Burns
Famous As: Suffragist, women's rights activist
Birthdate: July 28, 1879
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 22, 1966

 26 Gloria Allred

Gloria Allred
Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 3, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 27 Cassie Scerbo

Cassie Scerbo
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 30, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Long Island, New York, United States

 28 Amanda Brugel

Amanda Brugel
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 24, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pointe Claire, Québec, Canada

Best known for her award-winning role of Rita in the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, Canadian actor Amanda Brugel is also known for her roles in films such as Sex After Kids and series such as Paradise Falls. She has also launched Brugs Army, a non-profit body for women and children.

 29 Carré Otis

Carré Otis
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: September 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

 30 Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

 31 Mary Frann

Mary Frann
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: September 23, 1998

 32 Meena Harris

Meena Harris
Famous As: Founder of Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign
Birthdate: October 20, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

 33 Mary Edwards Walker

Mary Edwards Walker
Famous As: Surgeon, Feminist, Activist
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.

 34 Sarah Solemani

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

 35 Nandita Das

Nandita Das
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delhi, India

Born to painter Jatin Das and author Varsha Das, Nandita Das was initially associated with NGOs. She later proved herself to be a fine actor and director. She has impressed audiences with her socially relevant films such as Fire and Bawandar and has also spearheaded the Dark is Beautiful campaign.

 36 Vesna Vulović

Vesna Vulović
Famous As: Flight attendant
Birthdate: January 3, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia
Died: December 23, 2016

 37 Millicent Fawcett

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

 38 Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes
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.

 39 Mamie Till

Mamie Till
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: near Webb, Mississippi, USA
Died: January 6, 2003

 40 Jason Ralph

Jason Ralph
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 7, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: McKinney, Texas

Jason Ralph is an American actor best known for playing Quentin Coldwater in the popular fantasy television series, The Magicians. Jason Ralph is credited with co-founding Strangemen Theater Company. Since the company’s founding in 2010, Ralph has been serving as its artistic director, producing many award-winning plays.

 41 Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 22, 1995
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

At fourteen, singer Dua Lipa began her career by posting covers of famous songs on YouTube. She soon signed a contract with Warner Music Group and shot into fame with the release of her eponymous chart topping debut album. Since then, she has released her critically acclaimed second album, bagged two Grammys and created history at 2018 BRIT Awards.

 42 Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott
Famous As: Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist, Social Reformer
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.

 43 Terry Crews

Terry Crews
Famous As: Actor, American Football Player
Birthdate: July 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Flint

Terrence Crews is an actor, comedian, activist and a body-builder. He’s also a former professional football player. He has starred in sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, he has acted in many movies including the Expendables series. In 2017, Crews talked about a sexual assault on him by a Hollywood executive. He fiercely advocates for women's rights.

 44 Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Lupita Nyong'o is one of the most popular black actresses of all time. The first Kenyan-Mexican actress to receive the prestigious Academy Award, Lupita Nyong'o has often been named in lists, such as the world's most beautiful woman. In 2020, she was named by Forbes magazine as one of Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women.

 45 Tammy Bruce

Tammy Bruce
Famous As: Radio Host
Birthdate: August 20, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Tammy Bruce is a radio host and political commentator. During the early-1990s, she led a campaign to criticize the violence in the book American Psycho, and her efforts resulted in the boycott of the novel's publisher for a year. Over the years, she has been an important contributor to Fox News and also hosts Get Tammy Bruce on Fox Nation.

 46 Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: July 15, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Waco, Texas, U.S.

 47 Chelsea Islan

Chelsea Islan
Famous As: Actress, Model
Birthdate: June 2, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 48 Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France

Known widely as Turkey’s most popular female author, Elif Shafak is best known for her Booker-shortlisted bestseller 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. A fierce advocate for gender equality and LGBTQ rights, she is also a 3-time TEDGlobal speaker. She now lives in London, on a self-imposed exile.

 49 Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard
Famous As: Women's Suffrage Leader
Birthdate: March 10, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: July 13, 1934

Born in England and educated in Scotland, Kate Sheppard later moved with her family to New Zealand. A fiery feminist, she led the WCTU women’s suffrage campaign, making New Zealand the first country that granted its women the right to vote. She also encouraged women to participate in physical activities.

 50 Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone
Famous As: Women's Rights Activist
Birthdate: August 13, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: October 19, 1893
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