was the first female chief justice of California. She was appointed to the
court in 1977.
her career, she achieved a number of significant firsts: she was the first
woman to hold a cabinet-level job in the state of California, as Secretary of
Agriculture, first female justice, and the first female deputy public defender
in Santa Clara County. One of her most important positions was her strong
opposition to the death penalty, and the decision that the state must provide
free abortions for poor women.
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
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (b. 1989) is the US
Representative for New York’s 14th district. She is the youngest
woman to ever serve in the US Congress, at the age of 29.
She studied international relations and economics in Boston, and later
worked for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. She is one of the most
recognizable and most progressive representatives, advocating for free healthcare,
gun control or environmental issues, among others.
Anna Escobedo Cabral (b. 1959) was the
Treasurer of the United States between 2005 and 2009. Of Mexican and Native
American heritage, she was the highest-ranking Latina of the Bush
She studied political science and law, and later served as the President
and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. She was also the
Director of the Center for Latino Initiatives of the Smithsonian Institution,
working for extended Latino representation.
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.