Pola Uddin (b.
1959) is a life peer in the House of Lords, part of the British Parliament. She
is the first Muslim and second Asian woman to sit in the UK Parliament.
Born in Pakistan, she moved to the UK when
she was 13, and later became a Community worker with the YMCA and the manager
of the Tower Hamlets Women’s Health Project. She was invited to the House of
Lords in 1998, and has since built a reputation of standing up for human
rights, particularly women’s rights. In 1999 she created the first centre for
the education and training of Asian women in London.
Louisa Stevenson (1835-1908) was a suffragist and women’s rights activist from
Scotland. She was particularly active in the campaign for female education.
She was a member of the Edinburgh Ladies’
Educational Association, and was part of the efforts which led to Scottish universities
being open to female students in 1892. She was one of the first women to ever
serve on a hospital board, and helped manage the Jubilee Nurses Institute and
the Colonial Nursing Organisation.
Virginia Whitehill (1928-2018) was an activist for reproductive rights for women. She
is best known for her work to secure the right to abortion for American women.
She founded the Dallas Committee to Study Abortion
in 1969, in her hometown in Texas, and was the state coordinator of Texas Citizens
for Abortion Education. She helped found numerous organisations such as Dallas
Women’s Foundation, Women’s Issues Network or the Women’s Equality Action
League, as well as a refuge for women escaping domestic violence.
Wright de Kleinhans (1846-1896)
was an early Mexican feminist. Through her magazines, Violetas de Anahuac and
Mujeres de Anahuac, she promoted female education and the idea that men
and women were intellectually equal.
She was a journalist and a member of numerous
literary societies around Mexico, always advancing ideas of gender equality and
the possibility of distancing oneself from the feminine ideal of marriage and
motherhood. One of her greatest achievements is the book Mujeres notables mexicanas
(1910), which contains 116 biographies of important Mexican women, of which
29 were indigenous – an important recognition at the time.
Hannah Crocker (1752-1829) was one of the first women’s rights advocates in the
United States. Her 1818 book, Observations on the Real Rights of Women,
was the first book on this topic written by an American.
She was educated at home, in a variety of
subjects, which was uncommon for women at the time. She founded organisations
such as St Anne’s Lodge and the School of Industry, both aiming to provide
education and vocational skills to women.
Begum Sufia Kamal (1911-1999) was a poet and political activist from Bangladesh. She
was a civil society leader in her country and part of the Bengali nationalist
Her literary career started in 1937 and
offered her national visibility. She promoted peace between Hindus and Muslims
in Bangladesh, and later focused on women’s rights, founding the Women’s Struggle
Group in 1969. She received numerous international awards for her activism,
and was the first woman to have a state funeral in Bangladesh.
Margaret Damer Dawson (1873-1920) was one of the founders of the first British women’s
police service. She achieved this in 1914, alongside Nina Boyle.
The two women established the Women Police
Volunteers to better support female citizens suffering from sexual assault and
abuse. Dawson was also an anti-vivisectionist and received international
recognition for her animal rights work.
Masika Katsuva (1966-2016) was an activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
After suffering numerous sexual assaults, from her husband as well as from soldiers
and members of the militia, she started acting to help countless rape victims.
She founded a help centre in her country in 1999, providing shelter and
medical help for rape victims. The centre is still active and has helped over
16000 women to date. She had also personally adopted 18 children born to sexual
Hernandez (1926-2017) was an activist for civil and
women’s rights. She served as the President of the National Organization of Women
(NOW) in 1970 and 1971.
She studied sociology and political science
at Howard University, from which she graduated magna cum laude, despite the constant racial discrimination and
abuse she suffered. She later became the only woman on the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission established by President Johnson, and one of the main
organizers of the Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. She co-founded the National
Women’s Political Caucus and Black Women Organized for Political Action.
So now that it’s a good thing for males, we all agree, right?