The concept of feminism has come a long way since it was first introduced to society, and while gender inequality may still be a significant issue, there has been a huge amount of progression in the last couple of centuries. From the women who were involved in the very first feminism movement, to the modern day women who are determined to continue fighting for the cause, here are some of the most influential feminist icons that the world has seen.
Cleopatra was around long before any official feminist movements, and is known for being a powerful Egyptian queen, as well as the last pharaoh of the nation. Not only was Cleopatra one of the first female state leaders in history, but she also spoke nine languages and defended her country against the Roman empire, making her quite the role model for women to come.
Emmeline Pankhurst was the tireless leader of the British suffragette movement, and fought tooth and nail for women to have the right to vote. Although Pankhurst sadly died just 18 days before women were officially granted the same voting rights as men, she played a huge role in this radical decision, and her beliefs and activism will be remembered for generations to come.
When people think of feminism, Gloria Steinem is often the first woman that comes to mind, and this is because she dedicated her entire life to advocating for women’s rights. Steinem has been at the forefront of the American feminist movement since the early 60s, and also founded Ms. Magazine, a publication aimed at furthering the feminism cause.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai began writing a blog for the BBC when she was just 11 years old, exposing some of the many horrors that the Taliban were inflicting on her people. While the Taliban retaliated with an ambush shooting, Malala survived this, and went on to write a bestselling memoir. Since then, Malala has been focused on traveling the world, advocating for education rights for women and children.
Emma Watson is another modern day feminist, bringing a massive amount of attention to the topic with a moving speech that she gave to the United Nations, bringing about a whole new initiative for gender equality. Unlike the many feminists that came before her, Watson placed a huge emphasis on the fact that feminism is not just a cause for women to become involved with, and that men also have an obligation to fight for this. Since then, Watson has launched a successful He for She feminist movement, while also forming a feminism book club and sparking several new conversations on this issue.
Feminism movements have come a long way in recent years, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. From the early foundations put into place by women such as Emmeline Pankhurst, to the modern day activism that continues to bring attention to the movement, these feminist icons are all fantastic role models for young women today.