Category: women activists

Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) was a prominent s…

Sylvia
Pankhurst
(1882-1960) was a prominent suffragist
and anti-fascist activist. She was the daughter of another very important figure
in women’s rights, Emmeline Pankhurst.

She was an accomplished artist and designed
the logos, banners and posters of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Her
protests and militant tactics in support of women’s rights got her arrested
eight times. She later moved to Ethiopia, where she founded the country’s first
teaching hospital and wrote extensively on its culture.

Frances Ames (1920-2002) was a South African n…

Frances
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
doctors responsible.

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
award.

Bertha Isaacs (1900-1997) was a tennis player,…

Bertha
Isaacs
(1900-1997) was a tennis player, teacher, and
women’s rights activist from the Bahamas. She was the second Bahamian woman elected
as Senator in her country, and the first to be awarded the title of Dame Commander
of the Order of the British Empire.

She was a founding member of the
Progressive Liberal Party and a strong supporter of women’s suffrage. Bahamian
women were allowed to vote in 1962, and she became Senator in 1969.

Rosanell Eaton (1921-2018) was a civil rights …

Rosanell
Eaton
(1921-2018) was a civil rights activist in
the state of North Carolina. President Obama described her as a personal
inspiration and a “beacon of civil rights”.

When she was 21, she passed a severe literacy
test and registered to vote, one of the first African Americans to do so in her
state. She served as a county poll worker and a special registrar commissioner
for 40 years after that, helping more than 4000 people to register to vote.

Rachel Corrie (1979-2003) was an activist and …

Rachel
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.

Betty Ford (1918-2011) served as the First Lad…

Betty
Ford
(1918-2011) served as the First Lady and the Second
Lady of the United States during the 1970s. She was a dedicated advocate for a
number of progressive causes, particularly regarding the rights of women and
minorities, setting the precedent for a politically active First Lady.

She was an important figure in the Women’s
Movement, supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and candidly offering her
feminist, pro-choice views. In 1982, she established a recovery center for drug
and alcohol dependency.

Peggy Cooper Cafritz (1947-2018) was a civil r…

Peggy
Cooper Cafritz
(1947-2018) was a civil rights activist and philanthropist from Alabama,
active in Washington, D.C. Although she was born in a well-off family, the racism
she experienced throughout her life still shaped her worldview.

She attended George Washington University,
where she studied law and organised the Black Student Union, working to
integrate fraternities and sororities. She was one of the founders of the Duke
Ellington School of the Arts, and served on the DC Commission on the Arts and
Humanities.

Rose Schneiderman (1882-1972) was a Polish-Ame…

Rose
Schneiderman
(1882-1972) was a Polish-American
activist for women’s and worker’s rights. She is credited with coining the
phrase ‘bread and roses’, which represents the rights of the working class to
an existence beyond mere subsistence.

Her family emigrated from Poland to New
York when she was eight, and she was forced to abandon school and start working
in a factory only five years later. Later, she became involved with the New
York Women’s Trade Union League, organising strikes and pushing for worker’s
rights. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898) was a suffragi…

Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898) was a
suffragist, abolitionist and activist for the rights of Native Americans.  She worked closely with the National Woman Suffrage Association and
dedicated her life to justice and equality.

She served as the president of the
Association, as well as its vice president and as Chair of the Executive
Committee. She published numerous influential articles and books, such as Woman as Inventor, History of Woman Suffrage (co-authored with Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
and Woman, Church and State.

Bertha Gilkey (1949-2014) was an activist for …

Bertha Gilkey
(1949-2014) was an
activist for better housing for the African-American community. She was active
around St Louis, Missouri.

She started advocating for better housing
from a very young age, leading a nine-month rent strike which involved more
than twenty-two thousand tenants who were living in intolerable conditions. She
eventually set up the first tenant management association in the city, which
rehabilitated and managed the Cochran Gardens Housing Project, greatly
improving the living conditions of thousands.