Thursday, 29 November 2012


Historically, male thought has overshadowed women. Here are some inspirational women from around the world, who challenged their parochial, andocentric world.

Qui Jin (November 8, 1875 - July 15, 1907) - China

Radical feminist and wonderful poet who opposed foot binding. Sadly executed during a failed uprising. She was 31.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike (17 April 1916 – 10 October 2000) - Sri Lanka

First female prime minister

Miina Sillanpää, (4th June 1866- 3rd April 1952) Finland 

Activist and Finland's first female minister.

Miina Sillanpää speaking in Parliament at the House of the Estates in 1907. Finnish Labour Archives.Source:

Rosa Luxemburg (March 1871 – 15 January 1919) - Poland

Uncompromising Marxist revolutionary...

"Bourgeois class domination is undoubtedly an historical necessity, but, so too, the rising of the working class against it. Capital is an historical necessity, but, so too, its grave digger, the socialist proletariat."

Shulamith Firestone (January 7, 1945 - August 28, 2012) - Canada 

Radical feminist

“ is essentially a much simpler phenomenon--it becomes complicated, corrupted or obstructed by an unequal balance of power.”

Emma Goldman (June 27 1869 – May 14, 1940) - Russia

Anarchist and feminist imprisoned for advocating birth control. 

 “If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.”
Kalliroi Parren (1861–1940) - Greece

Feminist writer and active advocate for female emancipation. She opened the first all female school to advance women's education.

Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907- July 13, 1954) Mexico

Artist extraordinaire.
 “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

Urvashi Butalia (1952-) - India

Feminist, historian and co-founder of Kali, India's first feminist publishing house.

 "What does a feminist biography look like? What does a feminist memoir look like?"

Angela Davis (1944-) - United States

Activist and writer


"Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary's life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime."

Maria  Roda Italy -1899

From the age of 14, Maria was a dedicated anarchist and champion for feminist issues.

Ama Ata Aidoo (1940-) - Ghana

Writer and academic. Her writing defies stereotypical representations of women.


 “But what she also came to know was that someone somewhere would always see in any kind of difference, an excuse to be mean.”


Nawa El Saadawi (1931-) - Egypt

Psychiatrist, feminist and writer

"They said, 'You are a savage and dangerous woman.'
                         I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous."

Lidia Gueiler Tejada (August 28, 1921 – May 9, 2011) - Bolivia

First female president of Bolivia, feminist and radical revolutionary.



Angela King (28 August 1938 – 5 February 2007) - Jamaica 

Diplomat, adviser for gender specific issues.


 “I feel that all those millions of women who are looking at us are totally vindicated, and they have something to grasp to assist them for their battles for equality”

Aung San Suu Kyi (1945-) - Burma

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has dedicated her life to securing freedom and democracy for her country Burma, using non-violent means to fight against the ruling military Junta.


"In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued."


Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) - Pakistan

Prime minister of Pakistan and first woman elected to lead a Muslim state. Sadly assassinated in a bombing in 2007.


  "Now, when people are dying, you don't really look at who's offering the help. You take it. The first issue should be to help the people."

Germaine Greer (1939-) - Australia

Academic writer 


“Sadness is the matrix from which wit and irony spring; sadness is uncomfortable and creative, which is why consumer society cannot tolerate it.”

Charlotte Wilson (6 May 1854 – 28 April 1944) - England

Feminist  and anarchist

Lucía Sánchez Saornil, (December 13, 1895 – June 2, 1970)  Spain

  Poet, anarcho feminist, explorer of lesbian themes.

'You sneer at woman as a determinative factor in society, assigning her the status of a passive factor. You sneer at the direct contribution of an intelligent woman, in favour of her perhaps inept male offspring. I say again: we must call things by their proper names. That women are women before all else; only if they are women will you have the mothers you need.
'Extract from,

Title: The Question of Feminism
Author(s) Lucia Sanchez Saornil: 
Date: 1935


Nathalie Lemel (26 August 1827 - 1921 France

Anarchist, feminist and active participant during  the Paris commune.
Sugako Kanno (1881–1911) Japan
 Radical anarchist, feminist  and prolific writer

From her traumatic experience of being raped as teenager, Sugako challenged cultural attitudes towards women's roles in Japan . The only female in Japan to be hanged for treason.

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