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
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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
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Famous As: Women’s Rights Activist
Birthdate: February 15, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Adams
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 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt
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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.

 4 Cybill Lynne Shepherd

Cybill Lynne Shepherd
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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.

 5 Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Suffern, New York
Valerie Harper is best remembered as Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, with the role winning her four Emmys. She also hosted Nova and was seen as Valerie Hogan in the sitcom Valerie. She also earned a Tony nomination for the play Looped.

 6 Emma Watson

Emma Watson
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Famous As: British actress
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.

 7 Nicole da Silva

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

Emily Murphy
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Famous As: First Female Magistrate in Canada
Birthdate: March 14, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Died: October 17, 1933

 9 Evita Peron

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

 10 Torrey DeVitto

Torrey DeVitto
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Huntington, New York
Torrey DeVitto is best known as Melissa Hastings from Pretty Little Liars, Dr. Natalie Manning in Chicago Med, and Carrie in One Tree Hill. Fans also loved her in The Vampire Diaries and Army Wives. She is a Hospice ambassador and has supported campaigns for mental-health awareness and animal rights.

 11 Manisha Koirala

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

 12 Joan Chandos Baez

Joan Chandos Baez
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island

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.

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 13 Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 13, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Mena Suvari soared to fame with her SAG Award-winning role of Angela Hayes in American Beauty. Fans also loved her in the American Pie movies and the horror anthology American Horror Story. She also appeared as Edie in Six Feet Under. Mena endorses Lancôme cosmetics and uses cruelty-free products only.

 14 Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
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Famous As: socio-religious reformer
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radhanagore, Bengal, British 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.

 15 Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth
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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.

 16 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft
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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.

 17 Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa
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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.

 18 Alice Walker

Alice Walker
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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.

 19 Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst
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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.

 20 Terry Crews

Terry Crews
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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.

 21 Matt McGorry

Matt McGorry
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Matt McGorry is best known as John Bennett from the iconic Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and as Asher Millstone from How to Get Away with Murder. He is a feminist and a social activist, too. He was initially a fitness trainer and a bodybuilder.

 22 Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
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Famous As: Writer, Politician, Activist, Feminist
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu

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.

 23 Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o
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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.

 24 Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Managua, Nicaragua

Bianca Jagger is a Nicaraguan social rights advocate. She is credited with founding the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, where she is currently serving as the chairperson. For her work as a humanitarian, Jagger has received several awards, including the Champion of Justice Award. A former actress, Jagger appeared in many movies and TV shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

 25 Jason Ralph

Jason Ralph
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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.

 26 Betty Ford

Betty Ford
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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.

 27 Tammy Bruce

Tammy Bruce
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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.

 28 Gloria Allred

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

 29 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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

 30 Cynthia Germanotta

Cynthia Germanotta
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Famous As: Philanthropist
Birthdate: August 30, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wheeling, West Virginia, United States

Cynthia Germanotta is an American activist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. She is credited with co-founding Born This Way Foundation, for which she also serves as the president. She also plays an important role as an advocate for mental health; in 2019, she served as the World Health Organization's ambassador for mental health.

 31 Lina Esco

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

 32 Kate Bolduan

Kate Bolduan
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 28, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Goshen, Indiana, United States
The youngest morning show anchor on any major TV network, Kate Bolduan is an eminent American broadcast journalist for CNN. She covered the 2016 U.S Presidntial campaign for a global audience, as the anchor of CNN international program called State of America with Kate Bolduan.

 33 Alice Paul

Alice Paul
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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

 34 Nandita Das

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

 35 Alyssa Diaz

Alyssa Diaz
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 7, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California

Alyssa Diaz is an American actress known for playing important roles in TV series, such as As the World Turns, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Army Wives, and Ray Donovan. Thanks to her Colombian and Mexican origin, Diaz has been typecast into playing Hispanic characters. She is currently playing Mika Camarena in the crime drama TV series, Narcos: Mexico.

 36 Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day
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Birthdate: November 8, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: November 29, 1980

 37 Jorge Ramos

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

 38 Elizabeth Jagger

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

 39 William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: December 12, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Newburyport
Died: May 24, 1879

 40 Cassie Scerbo

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

 41 Fannie Lou Hamer

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

 42 Pearl Buck

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

 43 Mahadevi Varma

Mahadevi Varma
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farrukhabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
Died: September 11, 1987

A leading figure of the Chhayavad movement of Hindi literature, Indian author Mahadevi Varma was also a Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan winner. A champion of women’s rights, she contributed to the establishment of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth for educating girls. She also developed the soft Khadi boli.

 44 Sarah Solemani

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

 45 Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai
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Famous As: Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Birthdate: April 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ihithe village, Tetu division, Nyeri District, Kenya
Died: September 25, 2011

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental, social, and political activist. She achieved popularity after becoming the first African woman to be honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. She is credited with founding a non-governmental organization called The Green Belt Movement (GBM), which focuses on women's rights and environmental conservation.

 46 Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: July 10, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: United States

 47 Carré Otis

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

 48 Jeannette Rankin

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

 49 Mary Frann

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

 50 Cecile Richards

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