Notable Women in History
Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643)
She was respected in Massachusetts Bay Colony, but her audacity as a woman conducting religious discussions caused her to be tried for heresy and banished from the colony. Religious freedom later became a cornerstone of civil rights in the U.S.
Catherine Beecher (1800-1878)
She was a popular writer who argued that women should be trained as teachers. She was pivotal in founding several women's colleges, and lived to see teaching become an acceptable profession for women.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
They were prominent leaders of the 72-year movement to win the right to vote for women. The combination of Anthony's sharp political instincts with Stanton's forceful writing made them a formidable team for 50 years.
Harriet Tubman (1820-1891)
She escaped slavery, then courageously returned to the South 19 times, leading over 300 others to freedom. During the Civil War, she was a spy and scout for the Union Army.
Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1935)
She was a Paiute Indian, wrote extensively, lobbied Congress, and traveled across the country lecturing on the terrible treatment of Indians by U.S. government agents.
Jane Addams (1860-1935)
She founded America's first settlement house to help poor immigrant families. In the process, she established social work as a new and respected field for educated women. For her international activism to end warfare, Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931)
She boldly reported on the lynching pf Blacks in the South through newspaper articles and in her book, A Red Record. The furor generated by her well-documented reports started a nationwide anti-lynching campaign.
Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven (1912-2006)
She founded craft schools during the Depression, providing employment for hundreds. At age 24, she was elected to the New Mexico state legislature, the first Latina to serve at that level.
Frances Perkins (1880-1965)
She was the first woman appointed to the Cabinet of a U.S. President. As Secretary of Labor, she was instrumental in shaping legislation to create unemployment insurance, Social Security, and the minimum wage.
Maria Martinez (1887-1980)
She rediscovered the ancient Tewa Indian techniques of firing polychrome and "black on black" pottery. She taught others in her tribe and the Tewa achieved economic self-sufficiency and international fame through their beautiful ceramics.
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
She is known as the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." In 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The resulting bus boycott led to the desegregation of all public facilities in America.
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
She researched the damage being done to the Earth by pesticides, and published Silent Spring in 1962. The book catapulted environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness, becoming the foundation for the modern environmental movement.
Gloria Steinem (b. 1934)
She is a vital force in the contemporary women's movement, was a journalist, speaker, author, and organizer for women's issues. Since 1972, Steinem has been editor and contributing writer for Ms. magazine, which she co-founded to inspire women to take control of their own lives and work for equality in all areas of society.
Patsy Mink (1927-2002)
She was a feminist activist, was the first Asian-American elected to Congress, in 1964. She wrote the legislation for the Women's Education Equity Act, and co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus.
Toni Morrison (b. 1931)
She developed a unique, narrative style in writing of her six novels, play, and two volumnes of essays. For her masterful exploration of the complex issues in the lives of African Americans, Morrison has won both the Pulitzer Prize (for Beloved) and the Nobel Prize for literature.