Five of the Most Significant Figures in Women’s History

It’s March, which means it’s Women’s Month. This is a perfect time to reflect on the sacrifices and efforts of our older sisters and be grateful for what they accomplished. Here are five of the most significant figures in women’s history.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

An abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. She became a preacher and traveled around the country, advocating for the end of slavery and speaking out against racism and sexism. In 1850, she delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio. Her words, which spoke to the strength and resilience of Black women, have gone down in history as some of the most powerful ever spoken on behalf of women’s rights.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)

A leading figure in the early women’s rights movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention—the first women’s rights convention—in 1848. She went on to co-author the “Declaration of Sentiments,” which called for equal treatment of men and women under the law. Stanton also played a major role in getting the 19th Amendment passed, which granted women the right to vote. Throughout her life, she continued to fight for other progressive causes like birth control and divorce reform.

Alice Paul (1885-1977)

Alice Paul was a prominent suffragist and one of the main strategists behind the successful campaign to get the 19th Amendment passed. A skilled organizer and tactician, Paul led some of the most high-profile actions on behalf of suffragists, including a hunger strike while she was jailed for protesting outside the White House. After women finally won the right to vote in 1920, Paul turned her attention to getting an equal rights amendment passed. Though she didn’t live to see it happen—the ERA wasn’t ratified until 1972—her work laid the foundation for its eventual success.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

Rosa Parks is best known for her role in sparking the Montgomery bus boycott when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in 1955. Her act of defiance sparked a citywide boycott that lasted for 381 days and eventually led to desegregation on Montgomery’s public buses. Parks’ brave stand against racism inspired many others to take similar action in their own communities, helping spark the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Gloria Steinem (1934-present)

Gloria Steinem is one of the most well-known leaders of the feminist movement of the late 20th century. A journalist by trade, Steinem wrote extensively on gender inequality in America throughout her career. In 1971, she co-founded Ms.—the first magazine geared towards female readers—which quickly became a leading voice in feminist media. In addition to her writing, Steinem has also been active politically throughout her life, working tirelessly to promote gender equality both here in America and around the world.

The work to achieve equality continues . . .

These are just five examples of inspiring women who have made significant contributions to furthering equality for all people regardless of gender identity or expression. As we celebrate Women’s Month this March, let’s remember their legacy by continuing their fight for justice and equality for all people.”

Main Image via Nicole Adams.


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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.