Georgia Davis Powers (1923-2016) was a state
senator in Kentucky for 21 years. She was the first woman and the first person of
colour elected to the state Senate.
She was first elected in 1967, and became an advocate for the African
American community and the women and children of Kentucky. Additionally, she
served as chair of the Health and Welfare committee and the Labor and Industry
Katha Pollitt (b. 1949) is a feminist
essayist and critic. Her writing focuses on social and political issues,
presenting them from a left-leaning perspective.
She has written for numerous publications, such as The New York Times, Ms. Magazine and The Nation, especially in defense of feminism, identity politics or
human rights. She has also coined the phrase ‘The Smurfette Principle’, which
refers to the trope of the token female in a group of male characters.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the
First Lady of the United States for 12 years, the longest-serving and one of
the most celebrated First Ladies. She was particularly known for her human
rights activism and involvement in politics and social causes.
Before she became First Lady, she was active in the Women’s Trade Union
League, campaigning for the abolition of child labour and the introduction of a
minimum wage. She was an outspoken supporter of the civil rights movement, and
only wanted female reporters at her press conferences in order to support their
continued employment. Her last public position was as chair of the Presidential
Commission on the Status of Women during the Kennedy administration.
Szyszkowska (b. 1937)
is a Polish politician and the leader of the left-wing party Reason of the
Polish Left. She was previously a member of the Alliance of the Democrat Left
and chaired the Party’s Ethics Committee.
She has worked
to improve the rights of LGBT people in Poland and, as a Senator, introduced
legislation to recognise civil unions for gay couples.
Nina Bang (1866-1928)
was a Danish politician and historian. She was appointed Minister of Education
in 1924, becoming the first female minister in an internationally recognized government.
She studied history at the University of
Copenhagen and was one of the first Danish women to obtain a degree. She was
the only woman on the executive committee of the Social Democratic Party in the
country. As minister, her priority was improving teacher training and the
Danish school system.
Annie Besant (1847-1933) was a British writer, activist and philanthropist. She
was the founder of Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India.
She was a champion of women’s rights, worker’s
rights, secularism and freedom of thought. She was especially active in India,
campaigning for self-rule and its independence from the UK. In 1917, she was
elected as the president of the Indian National Congress.
Louise McKinney (1868-1931) was a politician and feminist activist from Canada. She became
the first woman to be elected to a legislature in the entire British Empire
when she was sworn into the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1917.
She was one of the Famous Five, a group that
successfully campaigned for the right of women to be appointed to the Canadian Senate.
She is recognized by the government as a Person of National Historic
Benita Galeana (1903-1995) was a Mexican feminist activist. She was an active campaigner for social justice, women’s rights and
worker’s rights in twentieth-century Mexico.
She was a member of the Unified Socialist
Party of Mexico, and was part of the efforts to regulate the standard
eight-hour working day, and to offer social security to workers. She was also
active in the United Pro-Women’s Rights Front, and fought for female suffrage,
as well as for abortion and maternity leave rights.
Marilena de Souza Chaui (b. 1941) is a philosopher
and a founding member of the Workers’ Party in Brazil. She is also a Professor
of Modern Philosophy at the University of Sao Paulo.
She has served as the Municipal Secretary of Culture of Sao
Paulo, and is known for her severe criticism of capitalist models. Her book, What
is Ideology?, is today a mandatory textbook in Brazilian public schools.
Fraser (1925-2018) was
a political campaigner and women’s rights activist. She served as the US
Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
She was educated
in liberal arts at the University of Minnesota, and was active in the Minnesota
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, eventually becoming its vice-chair. She also
served as the national president of the Women’s Equity Action League and was a Senior
Fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.