9 Iconic Women Who Fought For Equality: A Brief Timeline

Pooja Maheshwary , 26 Aug 2020

Today is Women’s Equality Day, a day celebrated every August 26 to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that granted women the right to vote. Across the world, women may not always be in a position to feel empowered and take a stand for their beliefs. However, through history, some women have fought for equal rights with men, such as gaining property rights, the right to vote, the right to work for equal pay, reproductive rights, and even the right to love freely. Here’s a timeline of some of the most iconic women and the change they initiated, inspiring millions around the world in the process!

1. Frida Kahlo – 1907

Openly bisexual, the artist used her work to portray taboo topics like abortion, miscarriage, breastfeeding and birth amongst other things, enabling conversation on these topics. Sporting a unibrow and a moustache, she unsubscribed to patriarchal society’s image of a woman, and celebrated characteristics that were deemed ‘unfeminine’.

2. Doria Shafik – 1951

The educator, journalist and reformer campaigned for women’s rights in Egypt. In 1951, she along with 1,500 other women Interrupted a session of the Egyptian parliament and demonstrated in Cairo demanding political rights, equal pay and reforms to personal status laws. These efforts were instrumental in paving the way for women’s right to vote in 1956.


3. Rigoberta Menchú -1960

In recognition of her work for social justice and ethnocultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, Rigoberta became the first indigenous person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative to build peace, justice and equality and became a UN Ambassador for the world’s indigenous people.

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“The Nobel Peace Prize was a deep recognition of the rights, struggle and tenacity of indigenous peoples. The prize represented a very strong blow to racism and discrimination.” Twenty-five years have passed since activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum received the Nobel Peace Prize, and a decade since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. What progress has been made? At today’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Oslo, Menchú Tum spoke of the enormous gap between the definition of the rights of indigenous peoples and the reality, pointing to the violence towards communities as well as lost lands and languages. But added: “I am an optimistic woman… today, there are many opportunities, and we will not allow this type of violence again in our communities.” 📷 Pi Frisk / Nobel Media #nobelprize #nobelpeaceprize #nobelpeaceprizeforumoslo #rigobertamenchú #indigenouspeople #inspiration #nobellaureate

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4. Simone De Beauvoir – 1970

The French philosopher and writer helped launch the French Women’s Liberation Movement by signing the Manifesto of the 343, which argued for abortion rights. Her most influential work ‘The Second Sex’ helped begin a conversation around modern feminism.

5. Billie Jean King – 1973

Not just a star on the tennis court but also a social change activist off the court, she campaigned for equal prize money for men and women at the U.S. Open and threatened to boycott them if no action was taken. The U.S. Open eventually became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money to both sexes.

6. Dr Vandana Shiva – 1982

Also known as the “Eco Warrior Goddess”, the environmentalist and social activist founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (RFSTN), an organization devoted to developing sustainable methods of agriculture. She founded Navdanya which entrusts women to maintain the livelihoods of their communities through the means of biodiversity, food and water.

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Follow @pbngrow 👈 Meet Dr Vandana Shiva, she is an Indian physicist, scholar and environmental activist 👩🏽‍🔬💚 Shiva is a well-known food sovereignty advocate, author and an all round AWESOME human! Shiva cares greatly about the well-being of farmers and the rural poor. She founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (RFSTN), an organisation devoted to developing sustainable methods of agriculture, in 1982. We are super excited to hear Shiva speak at the FREE Online Food Revolution Summit! Where you can get the latest insights on food & nutrition 🍎🌱The summit starts April 25th. A 9-day event filled with talks, interviews, and exclusive content from 25 of the leading health professionals in the plant-based movement, Shiva being one of them. The Food Revolution Network says that through Shiva’s presence at the summit “you’ll find out how every food dollar you spend and every bite you take can be an opportunity to take a stand for a more healthy, equitable, and sustainable future.” Click the link in our bio for more info! . ✏️ Illustration by @thelouloulife —————————————————— 🌱 🍔 Plant-based recipes, chefs & restaurants around the world: @pbnfood 👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️ Plant-based doctors & health advisors: @pbnhealth 🏋️‍♀️ 💪Plant-based athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness tips: @pbn.fitness 🚂 ⛺️ Eco & Ethical Tourism: @pbn.travel 👄💄 Ethical & Vegan Beauty @pbn.beauty 📹 ▶️ YouTube: PLANT BASED NEWS

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7. Malala Yousafzai – 2013

The youngest person to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, Malala defied the Taliban, stood her ground, and fought for something that she deeply believed in. She established the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving girls everywhere equal education opportunities, and inspiring millions of women around the world.

8. Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi – 2016

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court outlawed child marriage after these two former child brides took the government to court in a landmark case to challenge the practice which is rife in the country. The court ruled that no one in Zimbabwe may enter into any marriage, including customary law unions, before the age of 18.

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Deep conversations today on #endchildmarriages and shocking apathy that our communities still have. A lot of blame being placed on girls for the child marriages even when instances are so clear that they weren't to blame. One of the child brides who stood up to the constitution of Zimbabwe and ultimately caused a change in the laws with the outlawing of child marriages shared her story on #Zifm and the amazing thing is society will keep running away from facts and keep looking at how they will excuse men to take responsibility of both the abuse of power they have over their daughters and how they abuse that power in gender based violence. There is so much work. Thanks #RuvimboTopodzi for sharing your story. We were supporting the forth coming #EndChildMarriageConcert this coming Wednesday which features #Tuku, myself and many other artists at the HICC.

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9. Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju – 2018

On September 6, 2018, The Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377 of the IPC, which rendered sexual activities “against the order of nature” punishable by law. This landmark judgment was the outcome of a long-term campaign orchestrated by public-interest litigators, Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy. This was a giant step for LGBTQ+ rights in India.

Join Malini’s Girl Tribe on Facebook to be a part of more such conversations!

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