To vote in our Elite 8 round, please go to the THE ELITE EIGHT page. These are all the women who were in our Advocacy category.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton –
Born in 1815, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was no stranger to the B.S. that plagued minorities in America. Throughout the late 19th century, Stanton was involved in the abolitionist movement and organized the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848. She teamed up with feminist-powerhouse Susan B. Anthony to form the National Women’s Loyal League in 1863, and later, the National Woman Suffrage Association.
Angela Davis –
A black civil rights and women’s rights activist, Angela Davis had carried the world’s oppositions on her shoulders. Born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis rose up to become a radical educator and social activist. She used her own experience with prejudice to do so.
Aung San Suu Kyi –
Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Yangon, Myanmar in 1945. After the slaughter of protestors rallying against dictator U Ne Win, Kyi nonviolently spoke out against her government as an attempt to achieve human rights. She was imprisoned for 15 years for her crime. In 1991, Kyi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and in 2010, held a seat in parliament for the National League for Democracy.
Rosa Parks –
Rosa Parks grew up in a highly segregated area of the South. At age 19, Parks was married and was an active member of the NAACP. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus in 1955. Parks was found guilty of violating a local code and was fined $10 as well as a $4 court fee. This act ignited the Montgomery bus boycott and furthered the integration movement. Rosa Parks received many awards in her lifetime, including the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the executive branch. In 1997, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the legislative branch. In 1999, Rosa Parks was placed on TIME magazine’s “The 20 most influential People of the 20th Century.”
Susan B. Anthony –
A pioneer for the woman suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony paved the way for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Having grown up in a politically involved family, Anthony found herself being an activist for causes such as abolition. She later became a teacher, but was not allowed to speak at various conventions. This and her friendship with Elizabeth Cady Stanton prompted her involvement in the women’s rights campaign. Anthony traveled across the country and spoke for a woman’s right to own property and have labor organizations. In the 1872 election, Anthony voted illegally and was arrested and fined $100 – a fine she never paid. Anthony also aided in persuading the University of Rochester to admit female students.
Betty Friedan –
Betty Friedan was a feminist writer and women’s rights activist. She attended Smith College in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. When Friedan entered the workforce she was fired when she became pregnant with her son. Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, was published in 1963 and challenged traditional gender roles. The book inspired women to seek opportunities and to further the women’s rights movement. In 1966, Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women.
Ida B. Wells –
Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist who led an anti-lynching campaign. After being told to move to the train car for African Americans, Wells won a settlement of $500 and began to write about the issues plaguing the South. Her articles became popular amongst African American based newspapers and periodicals. Wells also became a teacher in Memphis and became an integration activist. She was fired for her outward opposition to segregation. Wells also continued to speak out about lynching. Her report was published in various papers. In 1896, Wells formed the National Association of Colored Women.
Flo Kennedy –
Flo Kennedy graduated from Columbia Law School with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law in 1948. She was denied admission to the Graduate school because she was a woman. Kennedy’s protest forced the school to admit her, and she graduated as the second African American from Columbia Law in 1951. She later became a clerk at a law firm and opened her own practice in 1954. Kennedy was a social activist and radical feminist. She was also one of the founders of the National Organization for Women and founded the National Black Feminist Organization in 1975.
Gloria Steinem –
Social activist, writer, editor, and lecturer Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women’s rights since the late 1960’s. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, she became a freelance writer after college and grew more and more engaged in the women’s movement and feminism. She helped create both New York and Ms. magazines. She also worked to form the National Women’s Political Caucus. Gloria Steinem is also the author of many books and essays. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986 and was able to beat it that same year.
Coretta Scott King –
an American civil rights activist and the wife of 1960’s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She established a distinguished career in activism in her own right. Working side by side with her husband, she took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and worked to pass the Civil Rights Act. After her husband’s death, she founded the center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia where she served as the center’s president and chief executive officer. She is remembered for her brave work on behalf of civil rights in the United States. He life has been an inspiration to many over the years and will continue to inspire for decades to come.
Lucretia Mott –
Lucretia Mott was born January 3, 1793 in Nantucket Massachusetts. Lucretia Mott was a women’s right activist, abolitionist and religious reformer. She strongly opposed slavery and was a support of William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1840, her and her husband attended the famous World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London, where they refused to allow women to be considered “full” participants. This lead to her joining Elizabeth Cady Stanton in calling the famous Seneca Falls Convention in New York in 1848. She was dedicated to women’s rights and published her influential Discourse on Woman. She also patriating in the founding of Swarthmore College. Lucretia Mott was a leading social reformer of her time and helped to form the Free Religious Association.
Laverne Cox –
Laverne Cox was born Roderick Laverne Cox in Mobile, Alabama. She is an actress producer, and LGBTQ+ advocate, most popularly known from her role in Orange is the New Black. She has a twin brother. She was named one of OUT Magazine’s 100 most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people in 2013. She appeared on the cover on the June 9, 2014 issues of Time Magazine which made her the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time in the magazine’s history. At the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards, she was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her performance in Orange is the New Black, which makes her the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting award in the history of the Emmys. She has also won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness. Her impact and prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about the transgender community, specifically transgender women, and how it intersects with one’s race and identity. In May 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the New School in New York City for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality. Laverne Cox continues to make waves and history for her work with the transgender community.
Harriet Tubman –
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820, and successfully escaped in 1849. Yet she risked her life and freedom and returned many times to rescue both family members and other slaves from the plantation system. Tubman led hundreds to freedom in the North as the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose. She also helped the Union Army during the war, working as a spy among other roles. After the Civil War ended, Tubman dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly, establishing her own Home for the Aged. In honor of her life and by popular demand via an online poll, in 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill.
Helen Keller –
Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. In 1882, she was stricken by an illness, called “brain fever,” that left her blind and deaf. Beginning in 1887, Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, and Keller went on to college, graduating in 1904. In 1920, Keller helped found the ACLU. During her lifetime, she received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments including the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and election to the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.
Malala Yousafzai –
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls’ education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. In 2014, she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Gertrude Stein –
Gertrude Stein: Modernist author Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874. Gertrude Stein was an imaginative, influential writer in the 20th century. She graduated Radcliffe College in 1898 with a bachelor’s degree. Later, she went on to study medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Stein moved to Paris in 1903, embarking on a literary career that produced Tender Buttons and Three Lives, as well as work dealing with homosexual themes. Stein was also a prolific art collector and the host of a salon that included expatriate writers Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson and Ezra Pound. Though critical opinion is divided on her various writings, the imprint of her strong, witty personality survives, as does her influence on contemporary literature.