Feminism, as we all know, means equal rights and opportunities for women as that of men. Many women leaders fought for not only their but for the freedom of each one of us. Starting from the brave Suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote, to Tarana Burke launching the #MeToo movement, to Winona LaDuke leading the fight against climate change, these women have led the way for change. These are the women of the 20th and 21st century who are paving the way for gender equality.

Here we remember some well-known feminists who made a significant contribution to the women’s movement.

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The Suffragettes

In the first major cry for equality, The Suffragettes fought vehemently for women’s right. They fought for one of the most important rights which is the right to vote. Their movements and protests were both peaceful and radical. Finally, women in America were allowed to vote in 1920.

Some of the most notable women in the movement were Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Stone Blackwell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emmeline Pankhurst and Sojourner Truth.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Before her tenure as First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was already involved with women’s issues, working with the Women’s Trade Union League and the International Congress of Working Women. Roosevelt became the First Lady to take on responsibilities beyond merely being the hostess of the parties at the White House.

From 1935 to 1962, Roosevelt wrote “My Day,” a newspaper column that addressed women’s work, equality and rights. After her time as First Lady, she became the first US delegate to the United Nations, served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights. She also chaired JFK’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women to promote equality and advise on women’s issues.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich contributed to feminism through her fashion sense. The Hollywood actress wore trousers and men’s suits during a time when it was considered extremely scandalous and taboo to do so.

Once she was almost arrested for wearing pants in public during the 1930s. She was famously quoted for saying, “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” Dietrich’s way of dressing went on to influence generations of women.

She gave them the confidence and power of wearing a suit to many females.

Angela Davis

A trailblazing voice for women of colour, Davis played a crucial part in the Civil Rights Movement. The political activist was a key leader in the Black Power movement, though some of her more radical positions and role in political protests have been deemed controversial.

Angela Davis relentlessly fought to champion the progress of women’s rights for over six decades. She most recently served as an honorary co-chair for the Women’s March on Washington in 2017.

bell hooks

bell hooks is an American author was known for her social activism that was often mirrored through her writing of oppression, women’s rights and race. Born as Gloria Jean Watkins she took the pen name bell hooks from a maternal great grandmother.

Some of her most notable works include Ain’t I A Woman? Black Women and Feminism and The Feminist Theory in which she declared, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.”

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Avleen Kaur Narang is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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