By Mary Scharffenberger and Anna Lemberger
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we thought we’d take the opportunity to round up some inspiring women activists who have both inspired us and made it possible for us to succeed in the work we do. May their words resonate through time and continue to inspire.
1. Kishida Toshiko
Kishida Toshiko was a writer, women’s rights activist, and Japan’s first female orator. She began lecturing when she was just 20 years old! She was well known for her speech “Daughters Confined in Boxes” that criticized a family system that confined women at home.
2. Carrie Chapman Catt
United States, 1859-1947
Photo credit: Bettmann/CORBIS.
As president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt helped revitalize the suffrage movement and ratify the 19th Amendment in 1919, which guarantees all women the right to vote. Not really that long ago, ladies!
3. Mother Teresa
Republic of Macedonia, 1910-1997
Maybe one of the most famous women on this list, Mother Teresa established the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, in 1950. These sisters ran hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis at a time when such people were treated as outcasts by most of society.
4. Rosa Parks
United States, 1913-2005
5. Eunice Shriver
United States, 1921-2009
Photo credit: EuniceKennedyShriver.org.
6. Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta
United States, 1930-
7. Celia Cruz
8. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank.
Known as Africa’s “Iron Lady”, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state on the continent of Africa. She has been working tirelessly ever since to strengthen the institutions of national security and good governance in her home country of Liberia.
9. Cesária Évora
Cape Verde, 1941-2001
Photo credit: Joe Würfel/Lusafrica.
Cesária Évora is one of the greatest African vocalists of all time and was a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger. She was known for appearing barefoot on stage in support of the poor of Cape Verde. And we just love her soulful voice.
10. Aung San Suu Kyi
11. Leymah Gbowee
12. Rebecca Lolosoli
13. Chrissie Wellington
United Kingdom, 1977-
14. Malala Yousafzai
Photo credit: Global Moms Challenge.
A strong advocate for girls’ right to education, Malala was shot in the head by Taliban in 2012 after refusing to give up on her campaign. She survived and came back strong, starting the Malala Fund to help girls around the world reach their true potential.
You don’t have to be a president or cultural icon for your voice to matter. Join the ONE Girls and Women movement and help make the world a better place for girls and women.