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.
an economist and feminist activist from Kenya. She was a founder of the
Pan-African women’s organisation Akina Mama wa Africa, which focuses on sexual
and reproductive rights, peace and domestic violence issues.
She studied in
the US and the UK, and founded her organisation in 1985 in London. Among her
other projects are ABANTU for Development, which provides training for African
women, and the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya.
was a poet, women’s rights activist and theologian from Iran. She was a follower
of the Bábí faith, for which she was detained and executed.
She was literate and well educated, which
was uncommon for a girl in her time. She started preaching a different faith
than the one commonly accepted, and spoke out against polygamy, wearing the
veil, and other restraints put on women, gaining an important female following.
She was killed at the age of only 35, strangled with her own veil, and is
remembered for her famous last words: “You can kill me as soon as you like, but you
cannot stop the emancipation of women.”
Marianne Weber (1870-1954) was a German sociologist and women’s rights activist.
She has published numerous books throughout her life, dealing with the role of
women in a patriarchal society, and the relation between genders.
She became interested in the women’s
movement during her studies in Freiburg, and co-founded a society for circulating
feminist thought in Heidelberg in 1896. She served as the chairwoman of the
League of German Women’s Associations. Her publications include Occupation
and Marriage, Wife and Mother in the Development of Law, and Women, Men
and Human Nature.
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.