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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Somali model, writer, and women’s rights activist Waris Dirie is best known for her advocacy against female genital mutilation through the Desert Flower Foundation. Born into a poor nomadic family, she ran away at 13 to avoid marriage and then worked as a maid in London, before gaining a modeling contract.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Canadian women’s rights activist Emily Murphy was part of The Famous Five, a group of women activists who launched the Persons Case to make women eligible to be part of the Senate. Murphy also served as the first police magistrate in Canada and the British Empire.
British playwright Caryl Churchill is best-known for works that emphasize on feminist-issues, sexual-politics and abuses of power. Most renowned works of Churchill, who also gained attention for using non-naturalistic techniques, include the farce Cloud 9 about sexual politics; the play Top Girls that deals with feminist issues; and the satirical play Serious Money that was largely written in rhyming couplets.
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.
Edith Cowan was an Australian social reformer best remembered for serving as a member of parliament; she was the first Australian woman to do so. She is also remembered for working for the welfare and rights of children and women. In recognition of her contribution, Cowan has been depicted on Australia's fifty-dollar note since 1995.
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.
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.
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.
A significant figure of the Paris Commune, Louise Michel was born as an illegitimate child of a maid. She had initially been trained to be a teacher but later began developing an interest in revolutionary socialist ideas. She was also once sent behind bars for inciting riots.
Her activism and outspokenness had earned Princess María Teresa of Bourbon-Parma the nickname Red Princess. Part of the Spanish royal family, she was educated at the Sorbonne. She later supported the Carlist movement and was a champion of women’s rights, too. She eventually died of COVID-19 at age 86.
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.
Initially a property developer, Mick Wallace later joined politics with the left-wing Irish party Independents 4 Change. A member of the European Parliament, he has been controversy’s favorite child due to his comments such as Taiwan is part of China. He also faced financial issues and was declared bankrupt in 2016.
Guyanese-British businesswoman and activist Gina Miller is the co-founder of the management firm SCM Direct. A former Labour Party member, she campaigned for transparency with regard to Brexit. She won a case challenging the UK government's authority to invoke Article 50 without an approval from the Parliament.
Tehmina Durrani is a Pakistani author and artist. She is also a well-known activist for women's and children's rights. She came to prominence after writing a book about being abused by her famous politician husband, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, who she divorced. She actively supports the social rehabilitation of women. She later married politician Shahbaz Sharif.