Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a
dedicated suffragist and abolitionist in the United States. She helped found
the American Woman Suffrage Association.
She attended Oberlin College, and was the
first woman in Massachusetts to have a degree. She devoted her life and career
to advancing the rights of African Americans and of women through multiple
anti-slavery and civil rights associations.
Ahmed Ibrahim (1933-2017) was an author and women’s rights activist from Sudan. She won
the UN Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Human Rights in 1993.
Her activism began very early, in her school
days, when she created a newspaper called Pioneer
Girls. She conducted the first women’s strike in Sudan when her school
decided to replace science classes with so-called ‘family science’ lessons.
Throughout her career, she worked to obtain the right to vote for Sudanese
women, as well as gender equality in the workforce.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) was a prominent activist for women’s rights in the United States. She advocated for campaigns such as female suffrage and birth control.
She played a leading role as an organiser for Industrial Workers of the World, and later founded the American Civil Liberties Union. She was arrested several times for her convictions.
Auguste Schmidt (1833-1902) was an important women’s rights activist from Germany. She worked as a teacher and fought for female education in her country.
She co-founded the General Union of German Women in 1866, with the aim of providing better access to education and better professions. She became the first president of the League of German Women’s Associations in 1894, a union of 34 women’s groups around the country (growing to 65 the following year).
Mollie Lowery (1945-2016) was an advocate for homeless and mentally ill people in Los Angeles. She was the founder of the advocacy group Housing Works, with the aim of helping homeless people find longterm accommodation.
She dedicated her entire life to this cause, first founding a shelter for battered women and their children in Santa Monica. In 1984 she founded the Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP), a nonprofit organisation that seeks to erradicate homelessness and help with mental health issues.
Connie Kurtz (1936-2018) was an
LGBT rights activist in New York City. Along with her partner, Ruthie Berman,
she managed to secure important rights for the LGBT community of the city.
She worked as a high school teacher
in Brooklyn. She sued the New York City Board of Education in 1988 for domestic
partner benefits, and won the legal battle in 1994, paving the way for other
gay couples. The two also started the New York and Florida branches of PFLAG
(Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays).
Lena Horne (1917-2010) was a singer
and actress with a career spanning 70 years. She was also actively involved in
the Civil Rights Movement.
She became a nightclub performer at
the age of 16, but became so popular that she eventually ran a one-woman show
with more than 300 representations on Broadway. She became involved with civil
rights at first by refusing to perform for segregated audiences, later
participating in the March on Washington and campaigning for anti-lynching
Amalia Fleming (1912-1986) was a Greek
physician and political activist. She was imprisoned during World War II and
the subsequent period of dictatorship in Greece for participating in acts of
She was active in multiple
organisations such as Amnesty International, Democratic Concern, and Human
Rights Union. She founded a Research Center in the name of her late husband,
Alexander Fleming, in 1965, still involved in life-saving research in areas
such as oncology and immunology.
Rebecca Solnit (b. 1961) is a
journalist and activist, involved in a variety of causes, from environmental
issues to human rights campaigns. She is a regular contributor to Harper’s Magazine, where she writes the
Easy Chair column, the first woman to do so since its beginning in 1851.
She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship
and a National Book Critics Circle Award, among other recognitions. She has
written books on a variety of topics, from politics to art, history and
Samia Nkrumah (b. 1960) is the
chairperson of the Convention People’s Party in Ghana. She is the first woman
in the country to head a major political party.
She studied at the University of
London before returning to Ghana to head the CCP and continue its tradition of
upholding women’s rights in the country. She co-founded the organisation Africa Must Unite and was named ‘the new
Mandela’ by the Huffington Post.