10 History-Changing Feminists You Might Not Know About
In honor of Women's Equality Day, check out these incredible women who haven't gotten the credit they deserve.
Ready to party like it's been 97 years since women got the right to vote in the US? Women's Equality Day has gone down every August 20th since 1973 as a way to honor our foremothers and sisters that were integral in the fight for the Nineteenth Amendment.
By way of celebration this year, we've compiled a list of women who, for one bogus reason or another, hasn't gotten her due number of pages in the history books. Some contributed to the women's rights movements leading up to that point, but a number of them have done their work in the wake of the suffragette movement, continuing to fight the good fight in various ways both in the US and around the globe.
Check out below, and get ready to exercise the shit out of your Nineteenth Amendment right in the 2018 elections.
Grace Lee Boggs, 1915-2015
Boggs, a Chinese-American, was a fierce defender of civil rights for African Americans and other oppressed populations for decades, once hosting Malcom X in her home. She earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr in 1940 and went on to become a prominent community organizer in Detroit.
#Women who inspire us: Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space 🚀🚀🚀 “Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out...You can hear other people's wisdom, but you've got to re-evaluate the world for yourself.” #womenwhoinspireus #WCW #maejemison
Mae Carol Jemison, born in 1956
In 1992, Jemison became the first black woman to travel in space, as part of the Space Shuttle Endeavor crew. She’s also a medical doctor, has served in the Peace Corps, made an appearance on Star Trek, danced at Alvin Ailey, and holds nine honorary doctorates. NBD.
In 1975, Junko Tabei became the first woman to summit Everest. She was also the first woman to ascend all Seven Summits (the highest peak on every continent). . Growing up in rural Japan, Junko was considered a frail and weak child. Still, she loved climbing. And though her family could not afford for her to do more than a few climbs through high school, it was all she could think about. After graduating from university, Junko founded the Ladies Climbing Club — their slogan was “Let's go on an overseas expedition by ourselves." It was the first club of its kind in Japan. . By the time she passed away in November 2016, Junko had reached the highest peak in 56 of the world’s countries. . #history #junkotabei #everest #womenwhoclimb #girlswhohike #hiking #climbing #womenofhistory #feminist #historylesson
Junko Tabei, 1939-2016
In 1975, Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and went on to become the first woman to ascend the the Seven Summits, a.k.a. the highest peaks on every continent. In the wake of the sexism and discrimination she faced in her climbing career, she formed the Ladies Climbing Club, the slogan for which was “Let's go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.” Word.
Elizabeth Eckford, born in 1941
As part of the “Little Rock Nine,” Eckford and eight other black students attempted to enter the segregated Little Rock Central High School on the first day of school on September 4, 1957. Fifteen-year-old Eckford and her peers were prevented from entering and was met with death threats by a mob of segregationists. In 1999, she was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by President Clinton.
Madam C.J. Walker - Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. Photo Cred: alchetron.com "I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." Madam C.J. Walker #vintageblack #vintage #classic #timeless #legends #legacy #madamcjwalker #sarahbreedlove #quote #madamcjwalkerquote #blackwomen #blackentrepreneur #blackleaders #pioneer #trailblazer #success #getupandgrind #getup #hustle #opportunities #takechances #takerisks #wordsofwisdom #lifequotes #life
Sarah Breedlove, 1867-1919
Born to parents enslaved on a plantation in Louisiana and orphaned by the age of seven, Breedlove would go on to become the first female self-made millionaire from the company she founded, Madame C.H. Walker Manufacturing, a beauty and hair-product company for black women.
Mary Edwards Walker, 1832-1919
During the Civil War, Walker volunteered with the Union Army as a surgeon, where she worked in tent hospitals on the battlefield. She was eventually captured by Confederate forces, and once the war ended, she was awarded the Medal of Honor. After the war she remained a staunch suffragette and champion of women being able to wear whatever the heck they want.
Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) was the first African American woman as well as the first Native American woman to have a pilot license. Despite being the tenth of thirteen children in her family, she made a name for herself by pioneering civil aviation and inspiring the African American and Native American communities. She wanted to open a school for African American aviators, but passed away in an aircraft that she and her mechanic had been testing. #BessieColeman #BWS #WomenInSTEM #airplanes As the 1st Black woman and 1st Native American woman to have a pilot license, #BessieColeman 1892-1926 inspires #WomenInSTEM everywhere #BWS
Bessie Coleman, 1892-1926
Coleman, a black and Native American woman born to sharecroppers in Texas, became the first black American woman to hold a pilot license in 1921. She had to travel to France to do so, because she was not permitted to obtain a license in the U.S.
Sylvia Rivera, 1951-2002
Born and raised in New York, Rivera was a prominent gay and transgender rights activist, helping to found the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance. Alongside Marsha P. Johnson, they founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, an organization that helped young homeless trans women of color.
🎂Happy birthday to Marsha P. Johnson, whose resolve to both survive & thrive kicked off queer liberation as we know it. Marsha was at the Stonewall Inn the night that the cops came in for another countless raid. She fought the police then because the police did not protect her; the police still do not protect trans & queer BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color). Marsha, your spirit lives on and sets whole gardens into bloom. May we continue to learn from our elders who hustled on the street, lived vibrantly, and did not find reward in assimilation. If you want to know more about Marsha, including her activism outside of the Stonewall riots, check out @reinaxgossett 's blog and the archives she's uncovered. Deeeeep gratitude for Reina's work. 🔮🌺🌸🌟✨ Link in bio! #KnowYourLiberators #BlackTransLivesMatter #LiberationNotAssimilation #MarshaPJohnson
Marsha P. Johnson, 1945-1992
Along with founding STAR with Sylvia Rivera, Johnson played a pivotal roll in the Stonewall Riots of 1969. She also modeled for Andy Warhol and went on to become a prominent AIDS activist. In June, Netflix acquired the rights to The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a documentary based on her life.
Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007
Bhutto was the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first to head a democratic party in a Muslim-majority nation. She was an imperfect figure of advocacy in service of women's rights, but a strong symbol of the power a woman could have in Pakistan. She was well aware of her status as a first, and used it to make a clear point of the dangers a woman in her position faced. She told CNN, just a few months before her assassination in 2007, "They don't believe in women governing nations, so they will try to plot against me, but these are risks that must be taken. I'm prepared to take them."
Words: Deena Drewis
Update, August 24, 2017, 7:30 a.m. PDT: This story was edited to include a quote from the late Benazir Bhutto.