Category: women activists

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.

Helen Gregory
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
the Year.

Martha Coffin Wright
(1806-1875) was a prominent
feminist and abolitionist. She was a signatory of the 1848 Declaration of
Sentiments, which aimed to offer women improved civil, social and political
rights.

She was an organizer
of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first ever event dedicated to women’s
rights. Her home became an Underground Railroad station, and she was a close
friend and supporter of Harriet Tubman.

Jane Fonda (b. 1937) is a celebrated actress and political
activist. She has won two Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes, among
numerous other awards for her film career.

She has been an activist
for feminist, pacifist and environmental causes for many decades, starting with
her opposition to the Vietnam War. Most recently, she was arrested three times
in 2019 for protesting climate change outside the US Capitol.

Laura Smith Haviland
(1808-1898) was an abolitionist
and defender of women’s rights. She was an important figure of the Underground
Railroad.

Born in a Quaker
family in Canada, she moved to the United States and helped organise the Logan
Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1832. She also founded the Refugee Home Society
in Ontario and taught in a school for African American children in Ohio. Her
home became the first Underground Railroad station in Michigan.

Helen Vlachos (1911-1995) was a Greek journalist who was
awarded the title of World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute.
She is remembered for her anti-dictatorship activism.

She worked for Kathimerini,
a newspaper founded by her father, and was very critical of the government in
her regular column. After the coup of 1967, she chose to close down her
publications rather than hand them over to the military junta to use as
propaganda tools. She was placed under house arrest for her criticism of the
regime and escaped to London, where she was granted political asylum. Today, a
prize in her name is awarded to Greek journalists.

Ellen Willis (1941-2006) was an essayist, journalist and
critic known for her feminist activism that stretched over decades. A 2014
collection of her essays entitled The Essential Ellen Willis won the
National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

She was one of the
first popular music critics working for the New Yorker, as well as a
founder of the feminist group Redstockings in 1969, and wrote numerous essays
on feminism, abortion rights or identity politics, among others. One of these
essays was the origin of the term ‘pro-sex feminism’.

Elvia Carrillo Puerto (1878-1968) was a feminist activist from Mexico. She was the founder of Mexico’s
first feminist leagues in 1912.

Her most important achievement was the founding
of the Rita Cetina Gutierrez League in 1919. The organisation focused on family
planning and child care, offering disadvantaged women support and advice. She
also campaigned for women’s suffrage and improved rights.

Sheema
Kalbasi
(b. 1972)
is an Iranian poet and activist. She has written extensively on themes of
feminism, human rights and social justice, and serves as the director of the
Poetry of Iranian Women Project.

In addition
to her literary endeavours, she has volunteered with disadvantaged refugee children
and has worked for the UNHCR and for the Centre for Refugees in Pakistan and in
Denmark.