Famous Feminists

Adams, Abigail (1744-1818). Adams was a prolific writer, patriot, abolitionist, and early feminist. In her famous correspondence to her husband, she spoke eloquently against slavery, many years before the abolitionist movement, and on behalf of women.

Anthony, Susan B. 1820-1906. American suffragist. Anthony worked tirelessly for the woman suffrage movement. She lectured on women's rights and organized a series of state and national conventions on the issue. She collected signatures for a petition to grant women the right to vote and to own property. During the Civil War Anthony worked toward the emancipation of the slaves. In 1863 she helped form the Women's Loyal League, which supported U.S. president Abraham Lincoln's policies. She registered to vote in Rochester, New York, on November 1, 1872. Four days later, she and fifteen other women voted in the presidential election. All sixteen women were arrested three weeks later, but only Anthony was brought before a court. Between 1881 and 1886, she and Stanton published three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage, a collection of writings about the movement's struggle.

Black, Clementina (1850's-1923). Social reformer and writer. Born in England. Worked to improve social and industrial conditions for women and girls in England through militant unionism. Wrote `Sweated Labor and the Minimum Wage' (1907) and `Married Women's Work' (1915)

Blackwell, Elizabeth (3/3/1821-5/31/1910). America's first woman doctor, was admitted to New York's Geneva College as a joke in 1847. She overcame taunts and prejudice while at medical school to earn her degree in 1849, graduating at the top of her class. After American hospitals refused to hire her, she opened a clinic in New York City where she was joined by her sister Dr. Emily Blackwell and Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska.

Bloomer, Amelia Jenks (1818-94). Social reformer. Born in Homer, N.Y. Active as speaker and writer for women's rights. Editor of the Lily, which was believed to be the first newspaper edited entirely by a woman. Involved in dress reform through her defense of pantaloons, which came to be called "bloomers."

Casgrain, Marie Therese Forget (1896-1981) A canadian feminist who led the fight to obtain full sufferage for women, she was also the president of Quebec League for Women's Rights from 1929-1948.

Catt, Carrie Chapman (1859-1947). American woman suffrage leader, born in Ripon, Wisconsin, and educated at the State College of Iowa. She was an organizer and lecturer for the woman suffrage movement. She was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900 to 1904 and of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, which she helped to organize, from 1904 to 1923. She was reelected president of the national association in 1915, retaining this post until her death. Catt's campaign achieved success in 1920, when all American women won the right to vote. In the same year she participated in founding the National League of Women Voters. In the 1920s and '30s, Catt was active in the cause of international peace, serving as head of the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War from 1925 to 1932.

Chicago, Judy (born 1939). Artist. Born Judy Cohen in Chicago, IL. She helped found the Feminist Studio Workshop in Los Angeles. Most famous for the unusual, large exhibition called `The Dinner Party' in the late 1970s.

Chopin, Kate (1851-1904). Writer. Born in St. Louis, Mo. Regular contributor of feminist short stories to literary journals. Her novel `The Awakening' (1899) shocked many people with its portrayal of a young woman's sexual and artistic longings.

Collins, Martha Layne (born 1963) Kentucky's first female governor and first woman to chair the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors.

Friedan, Betty (born 1921) Born in the U.S., a famous author and known feminist. She wrote the best-seller, "The Feminine Mystique" and challenged traditional roles of women. Cofounder and president of the National Organization for Women (from 1966-1977). She cofounded the First Women's Bank and convened International Feminist Congress in 1973.

Gilman, Charlotte (1860-1935) U.S. writer famous for her writings on feminism and labor. ("His Religion and Hers", "The Crux")

Ginsburg, Ruth (born 1933) Director of Women's Rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union and argued many cases before the Supreme Court. Was appointed ot the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Murphy, Emily (1886-1933). A Canadian lawyer and writer. In 1916 helped establish the Women's Court to hear women's evidence in such cases as divorce or sexual assault. Became first woman magistrate in the British Empire.

O'Reily, Leonora (1870-1927) U.S. labor leader and reformer, born in the U.S. She led and organized factory reforms and unionized female factory garmet workers; founding member of NAACP; active in civil rights and women's sufferage movements.

Pankhurst, Emmeline (1858-1928). Suffragist. Born in England. Militant worker for women's suffrage in Manchester and London. In 1903 she and daughter formed the Women's Social and Political Union.

Parsons, Elsie Worthington Clews (1875-1941) Born in the U.S.; sociologist and anthropologist. Her early writing concerned women's rights and she later became an advocate of human rights. She was the first woman elected president of American Anthropological Association.

Paul, Alice (1/11/1885-7/9/1977). Before leaving England, Paul was arrested seven times and jailed at least three for her suffragist activities. When she returned to the United States, Paul joined, then left the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Thinking the NAWSA too mainstream, she founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CUWS) in 1913. The CUWS later merged with the Woman's Party to form the National Woman's Party, of which Paul was the first chair. Until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1919, and ratified in 1920, Paul was an ardent supporter of suffrage, and even met with President Woodrow Wilson to urge him to support suffrage. After the amendment was passed, Paul continued her feminist work. In 1923, she drafted the Equal Rights Amendment, and largely through her influence was able to get the ERA through Congress in 1970. The amendment later failed to be ratified by two-thirds of the states.

Sanger, Margaret (9/14/1883-9/6/1966). Birth control pioneer who first worked as a nurse, where she witnessed first-hand the health hazards of unwanted pregnancy. Her fifty year crusade to educate women about birth control resulted in numerous arrests on charges of obscenity and the founding of what was to become the Planned Parenthood Federation. Sanger also published numerous pamphlets and magazines, among them Woman Rebel, a monthly magazine, Family Limitation, a pamphlet of contraceptive advice, and The Birth Control Review. Additionally, Sanger wrote several books, including Women, Morality and Birth Control; My Fight for Birth Control, and Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography.

Steinem, Gloria (born 1934). Writer and editor. Born in Toledo, Ohio. During the 1960s she appeared as a leader in the women's movement in the United States. In 1970 cofounded Ms., which grew to be a leading feminist magazine.

Truth, Sojourner (1797-1883). Born a slave in New York, Sojourner Turth was orginally called Isabella Van Wagner. She gained her freedom in 1827, after most of her thirteen children had been sold. She took the name "Sojourner Truth" in 1843 after having a vision. In 1836, Truth became the first Black to win a slander action against whites. At the 1851 Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, her powerful "Ain't I a Woman" speech awed even detractors.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady (11/12/1815-10/26/1902). Elizabeth Cady Stanton came to the women's right movement after being excluded from sessions during an anti-slavery convention because of her sex. She and Lucretia Mott decided that a women's rights convention was in order. Eight years later, in 1848, the first women's rights convention took place at Seneca Falls, New York. It was there that, using the Declaration of Independence as a guide, the Declaration of Sentiments was written. Stanton, with Susan B. Anthony, organized the Women's Loyal National League to fight slavery (1863) and founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (1869) of which Stanton served as president. Stanton was also the co-editor of The Revolution, a weekly woman's suffrage paper published by Anthony, and author of The Woman's Bible (1895) and an autobiography, Eighty Years and More (1898).

Stone, Lucy (1818-93). American feminist and abolitionist, born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, and educated at Oberlin College. Noted as a lecturer on woman suffrage and as an advocate of the abolition of slavery. A leader of the American Woman's Suffrage Association, she founded (1870) the Woman's Journal, the chief publication of the women's movement. Until her death she edited the journal, assisted by her husband, the American abolitionist Henry Blackwell. Stone created controversy by retaining her maiden name after her marriage as a symbol of a woman's right to individuality. Those who followed her example came to be known as Lucy Stoners.

Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759-97). Writer. Born in England. Work includes `Thoughts on the Education of Daughters' (1787), `The Female Reader' (1789), and `A Historical and Moral View of the Origins and Progress of the French Revolution' (1794). `A Vindication of the Rights of Women' (1792), which challenged Rousseau's ideas of female inferiority, is a classic of liberal feminism.


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