Across history countless women have pushed the boundaries of what’s possible and challenged societal norms. Not only have they left a permanent mark on their fields, but their legacies inspired the next generation, and changed the world for the better.
Meet some of today’s fiercest feminist icons who are advocating for gender equality, challenging sexism, fighting the patriarchy, and empowering women everywhere to live their dreams!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Few, if any, U.S. Supreme Court justices have taken American pop culture by storm like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka “The Notorious RBG.” As only the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg is revered as an icon and trailblazer because of her contributions toward gender equality during her decades-long career.
Nancy Pelosi is considered to be one of the most powerful women in Washington. In 2006, she became the first female Speaker of the House, breaking the “marble ceiling”. Pelosi has successfully navigated the world of politics – a world dominated by men – and proven that women can show just as much strength, grit, and determination as men.
Gloria Steinem was one of the most visible leaders of the feminist movement in the 1960-70’s and continues to fight for equality and social justice to this day, empowering women and feminist movements such as the Women’s March and Time’s Up. Steinem founded Ms. Magazine, one of the first women’s magazines that acknowledged women have ambitions beyond being a wife and mother. This publication led the way for others focusing on the real issues that women care about.
You may not be familiar with the name Kimberlé Crenshaw, but you’ve probably heard the term she coined: intersectionality. Crenshaw is a professor of law famous for the development of Critical Race Theory, and a for being a leader in the fields of gender, racism and law. Her work on intersectionality became popular in 1989 when she wrote about the way traditional feminism has not acknowledged overlapping forms of discrimination experienced by black women.
Aly Raisman is not only an accomplished Olympic gymnast, but also a fierce advocate for the #MeToo movement. In 2017, Aly was among the dozens of young gymnasts who revealed that Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics, had sexually assaulted them. Aly has changed how the world views and responds to sexual assault. She helped show how difficult it is for survivors to report their abuse and say “no.”
As former President, Chairwoman and CEO of Pepsico, Indra Nooyi represented one of the less-than-5% of women in the world heading major public corporations. She is also known for advocating for society to be more accommodating to women in the workplace, speaking from her own experience about how women are expected to play multiple roles as mothers, wives, and employees and have to make tremendous sacrifices.
Michelle Obama is best known for her role of First Lady, but this strong woman was making herstory long before her husband became the first African-American president of the United States. During her career in public service, she engaged Chicago’s youth and enhanced the community through health and education initiatives. As First Lady, Michelle Obama continued to be an advocate and role model empowering women and youth to learn, live healthily, and pursue their dreams.
You probably know Academy Award winner Geena Davis Thelma and Louise, one of the first movies to portray women in leading roles. As an actress, Davis faced gender discrimination and was frustrated by the limited opportunities presented to her. In response, she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which focuses on eliminating unconscious gender bias, challenging stereotypes, and creating media that features diverse, strong female characters.