Laura Pollán (1948-2011) was a Cuban political
activist. She was the founder and leader of the dissident group Ladies in
White, a pacifist protest movement that won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought in 2005.
A literature teacher by profession, she became an activist in
2003, after the arrest of her husband and 74 others in a crackdown on
opposition known as the Black Spring in Cuba. Along with other spouses of
political prisoners, she organised peaceful marches demanding (and sometimes
obtaining) their release.
Thelma Chalifoux (1929-2017) was a Canadian teacher and politician. She
served as a senator for Alberta from 1997, when she became the first Métis
woman on the Canadian Senate.
From a young age, she established a
centre to help women who struggled with alcoholism and abuse, and advocated for
the promotion of Métis culture. She was the first woman to receive the National
Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994.
Angela Bowen (1936-2018) was a dancer and teacher, as well
as a prominent LGBT activist. She served on the board of the National Coalition
of Black Lesbians and Gays.
She started dancing at
the age of 14 and later co-founded the Bowen/Peters School of Dance in New
Haven, Connecticut. She came out as lesbian late in life, but always spoke out
against homophobia, racism and sexism. She is the subject of the 2016 documentary The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen.
Alva Myrdal (1902-1986) was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. She was a
prominent Swedish diplomat and proponent of the disarmament movement.
was the main driving force behind the creation of the welfare state in Sweden,
encouraging social reforms and female emancipation. She was the first woman to
chair the social science section of UNESCO, and contributed to the creation of
the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Annette Strauss (1924-1998) was the mayor of Dallas, Texas
between 1987 and 1991. She was the second female mayor of the city, and the
first to be elected to the post in her own right.
Before becoming an
elected official, she was a social worker and fundraiser who helped raise
millions of dollars for the arts in Dallas, as well as a founding member of the
Volunteer Center of North Texas. During her time in office, she founded Family
Gateway, a centre providing shelter, food, education and employment resources
for the homeless population of the city.
Geena Davis (b. 1956) is an award-winning actress who
starred in dozens of famous films and TV shows. She is also a dedicated
activist for women in the film industry, as the founder of the Geena Davis Institute
on Gender in Media.
She is the recipient
of an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, among others. She founded one of the
most extensive research projects dedicated to studying gender in children’s
entertainment, and launched an effort to address the imbalance between male and
female characters in such TV shows. The institute that bears her name also
focuses on increasing the number of female characters on screen and combatting
Blatch (1856-1940) was a suffragist
and women’s rights activist. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, Elizabeth
She lived in England for many years, where she
conducted a study on the working conditions of women in rural areas. She worked
with groups such as the Women’s Franchise League and the Women’s Local
Government Society, and later founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting
Sana Iqbal (1987-2017) was a cross-country biker from
India. After surviving a suicidal episode, she dedicated her life to suicide
prevention and mental health.
Her famous cross-country
trip through India was completed over 6.5 months and 38000 km. On the way, she
gave 135 seminars and workshops under the awareness campaign “Suicide is not
the solution”. She died tragically in a car accident at the age of 30.
MacGill (1864-1947) was a notable
journalist, judge and women’s rights advocate from Canada. She was one of the
first female judges in the country, and at one point, the only one.
She graduated from Trinity
College (part of the University of Toronto) in 1889, the only woman in her
class and the first female graduate of the institution. She co-founded the
Vancouver Business and Professional Women’s Club in 1923.
Greta Thunberg (b. 2003) is an internationally renowned
climate activist. Her activism for environmental causes has had a significant
impact on today’s society, sparking research, awareness and social changes.
She began her school
strikes for the climate in 2018 in her native Sweden, giving rise to similar
events across the world. In December 2019 she was named Time Person of