Caroline Norton (1808-1877) was an English author and social reformer. Her campaigning led to the passing of several laws in favour of women’s rights.
After she left her abusive husband, and had her children taken away, she used her high social influence to campaign for the rights of married and divorced women. This led to the passing of the Custody of Infants Act in 1839, Matrimonial Causes Act in 1857, and Married Women’s Property Act in 1870.
Above: Sketch by Emma Ferguson, 1860
Jemera Rone (1944-2015) was a dedicated human rights
activist, working mostly throughout Africa and South America. She is best known
for years of reporting on human rights issues in Sudan.
She graduated from Barnard College and Rutgers
University Law School, and later served as the Coordinator of the Human Rights
Watch of East Africa. She has overseen investigations in these matters in 24
countries, such as El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Janet Mock (b. 1983) is a
transgender rights activist. She is the author of the bestselling Redefining Realness, a memoir that casts
light on her experience as a trans woman of colour in the United States.
Born in Honolulu, she transitioned from male to
female at a young age, and later said about the experience: “My genital reconstructive surgery did not make
me a girl. I was always a girl.” She worked as a writer and TV producer for multiple
major companies. Her activism was recognised with numerous awards and
Dorothy E. Roberts (b. 1956) is an American scholar specializing in
issues of gender, race, and class. Her work focuses on topics such as bioethics
and reproductive health.
She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law
School, and is a Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her 1997 book, Killing the Black Body,
highlights the problematic ways in which the reproductive rights of black women
are being handled in America.
Ana Rosa Tornero (1907-1984) was a prominent feminist activist in
Bolivia. She founded the first feminist organisation in the country, Ateneo Feminista, in 1923.
She was also the publisher of the first
feminist magazine in Bolivia,
in 1922. In 1947, she was the head of the organising committee of
the first Interamerican Women’s Congress, which dealt with human rights,
education and liberty of expression for women across Latin America.
Margaret Kenyatta (1928-2017) was a Kenyan politician who served
as the Mayor of Nairobi for two terms, from 1970 to 1976. She was the first
female mayor of the capital, and the second in the entire country.
She fought for the advancement of women’s rights, and
organized the East African Women Seminars to bring together female African
leaders. She was Kenya’s representative to the United Nations Environment
Programme, and received numerous awards in recognition of her humanitarian and environmental
Ra’ana Liaqat Ali Khan (1905-1990) was a key figure
in the Pakistan Movement during the 1940s, when the country was forming. She
was named the “Mother of Pakistan” for her influence.
She worked to create political awareness among Muslim
women, and initiated a number of reforms in support of women and children’s
rights. She especially tried to create opportunities, such as medical training,
for women to take up professions beyond the domestic life that was expected of
them. She founded the Pakistan Women National Guards and the Women Naval Reserves.
Clara Campoamor (1888-1972) was a Spanish politician and women’s
rights advocate. She had a lasting influence on the 1931 Constitution, assuring
the inclusion of language that guaranteed the equal rights of men and women.
She had a degree in Law, and advocated for changes
in legislation regarding child labour and women’s right to vote. She was elected
to the Constituent Assembly, at a time when women were still not allowed to
cast their vote. Nevertheless, she managed to bring about the passing of other
important laws, such as the equality of rights for children born out of wedlock,
or the right to divorce.
Frances Moore Lappé (b. 1944) is the author of the bestselling 1971
Diet for a Small Planet, the first
book to study the environmental impact of meat consumption and to promote environmental
She is a founding councilor of the World Future
Council, and the founder of the Small Planet Institute, as well as of the
Institute for Food and Development Policy. She was named Humanitarian of the
Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2008.
Muna Lee (1895-1965) was a poet and activist, dedicated
to promoting cultural relations between the US and Latin America. She spent a
significant part of her life in Puerto Rico, where she campaigned for equal
rights and women’s suffrage.
She was a poet and translator, working in
English and Spanish. She was the director of International Relations at the
University of Puerto Rico for almost a decade, and the founder of the
Inter-American Commission of Women.