Ames (1920-2002) was a South African neurologist
and human rights activist. She led the medical ethics enquiry into the death of
Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist, an enquiry which showed that he had
been tortured and medically neglected, and led to the prosecution of the
She was the first woman to obtain a medical
degree from the University of Cape Town in 1964. She practiced medicine and
taught at Valkenberg Hospital until six weeks before she died. In 1999, Nelson
Mandela awarded her the Star of South Africa, the country’s highest civilian
Corrie (1979-2003) was an activist and diarist,
part of the pro-Palestinian group International Solidarity Movement. She was
killed in the Gaza Strip, at the age of only 23, while trying to block an
Israeli bulldozer from destroying Palestinian houses.
She became a committed peace activist from
a young age, starting out as a volunteer with the Washington State Conservation
Corps. She acted as a human shield to prevent the Israeli Army from demolishing
houses and was part of the efforts to rebuild the damage. Her death was
extremely controversial, as organizations such as Amnesty International or
Human Rights Watch called for an investigation, but the Israeli government
denied any wrongdoing.
was a journalist and novelist, as well as an activist for women’s rights,
Native American rights, and abolitionism. She fought against white supremacy
and patriarchal society her entire life.
She believed that women’s rights were closely
tied with African American rights, as both groups were oppressed and no real
progress could be achieved unless both issues were dealt with. Her writings in
support of the abolitionist movement included the book An Appeal in the Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans and
the publication National Anti-Slavery
Standard. Her fictional book Hobomok,
which portrayed a relationship between a Native American and a white woman, was
scandalous at the time of its publication.
Karen DeCrow (1937-2014)
was an American attorney and feminist. She was a strong supporter of equal child
custody rights, arguing that men as well as women should be able to care for
their children after divorce.
She was the only
woman in her class at the Syracuse University College of Law, where she earned
her Juris Doctor. She served as the President of the National Organization for
Women for three years, during which time she pressured NASA to recruit female
astronauts and established a taskforce for battered women.
an LGBT rights activist. Although not queer herself, she supported her gay son
in a tumultuous time for the LGBT community, and helped numerous others obtain
acceptance and rights.
She participated in the 1972 Pride March in
New York supporting her son, and the sign she was carrying inspired the
creation of PFLAG – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She was
posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for her activism.
Ruby Hurley (1909-1980)
was an important figure of the Civil Rights Movement in the US. She is known as
“the queen of civil rights”.
She worked as an
administrator for the NAACP in Washington, D.C., but travelled across the
country to organise more local chapters. She made considerable efforts to
promote racial integration in the South and investigated crimes against African
Diana E. H. Russell (b. 1938)
is a feminist activist whose research focuses on issues of sexual violence
against women. She has published a number of books dealing with the subject,
and was responsible for redefining the term ‘femicide’.
In 1976, she
organised the first International Tribunal on Crimes against Women in Brussels,
Belgium – Simone de Beauvoir gave the introductory speech. Russell is also an
associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press.
Betzy Kjelsberg (1866-1950) was an early Norwegian feminist. She was the first
female board member of the Liberal Party in Norway.
She founded or co-founded several organisations in her country, such
as the Women’s Trade Organization, the Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights
and the National Association for Women’s Suffrage. She was also the
vice-president of the International Council of Women for 12 years.
Masiela Lusha (b. 1985) is an Albanian-American
actress and humanitarian. She has also written five books of poetry and a
recognized as one of Top Ten Talented Poets of North America when she was just
a child. Today, she is a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Assembly of Youth,
an advocate for UN Women, and the founder of the Children of the World