Women Who Dared

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) The Mexican painter triumphed over physical injury and chronic pain to become one of Latin America’s finest painters with works of brutal honesty and self-evaluation.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) The American icon of women’s suffrage and active abolitionist was the first woman honored by being depicted on U.S. currency.

Valentina Tereshkova (b. 1937) The Russian cosmonaut became the first woman in space on June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok VI. She also held the world record for the longest time spent in space by a woman – 70 hours, 50 minutes.

Rosa Parks (1913-2006) The American civil rights activist sparked the successful 1955-56 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott when she refused a driver’s order to give her seat to a white man because she was black (as mandated by city ordinance).

Indira Gandhi (1917-84) The Indian politician became leader of the world’s largest democracy outside the U.S. in 1966 and, for almost 22 years thereafter, was the leading voice for India and the third world in international affairs.

Marian Anderson (1902-93) The American contralto gained international recognition before becoming the first black member of the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955. Anderson was a goodwill ambassador for the United States and a delegate to the U.N. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Dian Fossey (1932-85) The American primatologist was killed while in well-publicized economic and political battles to preserve the mountain gorilla in Rwanda. She is a hero to wildlife preservationists and environmentalists worldwide.

Helen Caldicott (b. 1938) The Australian antinuclear activist and pediatrician educated the public on the carcinogenic and mutagenic effects of radiation.

Ruth Elder (1904-77) The American pioneer aviator, inspired by Charles Lindbergh, attempted but failed to fly the Atlantic in 1927. Nevertheless, she was treated as a hero and went on to successfully promote women in aviation.

Sarah Winnemucca (1944-91), The Native American rights activist gained fame as a translator and negotiator for the U.S. Army. She traveled extensively and lectured on behalf of her people and later established a school for Native American children in Nevada.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) The English feminist author wrote what history has since acclaimed as the bible of the women’s rights movement – A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). With its liberating view of women, this pioneering work influenced generations of feminists.

Dorothea Dix (1802-87) The American social reformer, despite public apathy and opposition, with dignity, compassion and determination, promoted the building of 32 mental institutions in the U.S. at a time when insane and emotionally disturbed people were routinely imprisoned with criminals and forgotten.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) The American labor organizer lived most of her life on the lines, from strikes and free speech demonstrations to antiwar and pro-labor activities. She wrote and lectured on women’s issues, demanding both equal pay and protective legislation.

Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), The American abolitionist, carrying a loaded revolver to encourage the timid, became the Underground Railroad’s most famous “conductor” and was known as the “Moses of her people.” Rewards for her capture offered by slave owners eventually topped $40,000.

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) The American photographer, disabled by polio as a child, had a lifelong sympathy with the disadvantaged. Her photo “Migrant Woman” (1936), is one of the most widely recognized images of the Great Depression and influenced American photojournalism.

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