Leading The Way: Five Women Who Paved The Way For The Gender Equality Movement

In honor of International Women's Day, we're celebrating the women who've had a huge impact on the feminist movement.

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By May Rostom Originally published Mar 8, 2020


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In honor of International Women's Day, we're celebrating the women who've had a huge impact on the feminist movement. Tens of trailblazing women have lead the fight for decades now- from the gallant 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 are paving the way for gender equality, the real definition of #EachForEqual.

1. THE SUFFRAGETTES The Suffragettes were one of the first people to fiercely fight for women's rights, specifically, the right to vote. Their movements and protests allowed for the nationwide right for women to vote in 1920. Some of the most notable women in the movement include Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Stone Blackwell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emmeline Pankhurst, Sojourner Truth.

2. BETTY FRIEDAN The American writer and activist wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, which is often credited for sparking the second wave of feminism that began in the '60s and '70s. Friedan actively dedicated her life's work to establish women's equality, helping inaugurate the National Women's Political Caucus in addition to organizing the Women's Strike For Equality in 1970, which popularized the feminist movement throughout America.

3. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT Became the first First Lady to actively take on more responsibilities beyond just being the president's wife. Before becoming First Lady, Roosevelt was already involved with women's issues, working with the Women's Trade Union League and the International Congress of Working Women. For almost 30 years, Roosevelt wrote a newspaper column called "My Day," that addressed women's work, equality, and rights before there was even a word for "feminism". After her time as First Lady, she became the first US delegate to the United Nations, served as first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights and also chaired JFK's President's Commission on the Status of Women to promote equality and advise on women's issues.

4. ANGELA DAVIS A preeminent voice for black women, Davis played a vital part in the Civil Rights movement. The political activist was a key leader in the Black Power movement. Davis relentlessly fought for the progress of women's rights for over six decades. Despite being deemed controversial, the trailblazer recently served as an honorary co-chair for the Women's March on Washington in 2017.

5. RUTH BADER GINSBURG The American lawyer and jurist co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter in 1970, the first U.S. law journal to focus exclusively on women's rights, long before her tenure as Supreme Court justice. Two years later, she co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), once again making sure women's voices were heard in law. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Bader Ginsburg became the second female Supreme Court justice ever, a position she still holds today and uses to advocate for women's rights.

Related: Boss Ladies: Three Successful Women Whose Stories (And Words) Will Inspire You

May Rostom

Curator, Entrepreneur Café

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.

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