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
Pankhurst (1880-1958) was a British activist for the suffragist movement. She was
the daughter of another famous and influential suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst.
Even though she had a degree in law from the University of Manchester,
she was not allowed to practice because of her gender. She co-founded the Women’s
Social and Political Union and served as its organising secretary, leading the fight
for women’s right to vote.
Benjamin (b. 1952) is a politician and activist, seen as one of the leaders of the
peace movement in the United States. She is the co-founder of the international
NGO Code Pink: Women for Peace.
In 1988, she founded Global Exchange, an organisation which advocates
fair trade instead of corporate globalization. As a member of the Green Party,
she ran for US Senate in California, and obtained the highest vote total of any
candidate from the party in the country’s history.
Ella Baker (1903-1986) was a civil rights activist whose career spans five decades.
Even though she was mostly a behind-the-scenes organizer, not as visible as
others, her work was vital to advancing the rights of African Americans in the
She was an editorial assistant for Negro National News, and later the secretary
of NAACP. She collaborated with numerous others organisations, promoting women’s
rights and racial equality, until her death at the age of 83.
Pauline Perlmutter Steinem (1866-1940) was a
Jewish activist who dedicated her life and career to a number of causes. A
native of Germany, she lived in Toledo, Ohio, where she became the President of
the local section of the National Council of Jewish Women.
She also served as
the national chair of the Sabbath School Committee, president of the Federation
of Women’s Societies, and of the Hebrew Associated Charities and Loan
Association. She was the first woman elected to the Toledo Board of Education,
and was active in the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association.