Courageous Women


Malala Yousafzai — the victim of an assassination attempt for the crime of attending school, she has become an international activist for girls' rights to education; world's youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize


Shirley Chisholm - first African American woman elected to Congress; first African American (man or woman) to ever run for President on a major party ticket, despite the strenuous objection by members of her own party 


Mary Wollstonecraft - writer & philosopher who advocated the radical notion that women are not inferior to men; her 1792 work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is considered one of the earliest feminist texts


Ruby Bridges Hall - civil rights pioneer at age 6, she passed through a mob of angry protesters (one of whom carried a black baby doll inside a coffin…) to be the first black child to break the color barrier in Louisiana public schools


Emmeline Pankhurst - a leader of the British suffragette movement, she was arrested, jailed, and faced brutal treatment to fight for the right to vote


Rosa Parks - her example of quiet dignity brought national attention to the incredible indignity of segregation; she was a "criminal" who violated an unjust law in service of justice for all


Frida Kahlo - an incredibly talented & prolific artist who unflinchingly depicted her life experience, political beliefs & her cultural traditions, creating beautiful works of art despite lifelong pain, tumultuous relationships & debilitating depression


Ida B. Wells - journalist, newspaper editor, sociologist, feminist, and one of the founders of the NAACP, her courageous investigation & reporting on lynching murders of African Americans forced a nation to admit that brutality & domination were masquerading as justice


Edith Louisa Cavell - British nurse who saved the lives of countless soldiers on both sides of the bitter Western Front of WWI, she was executed by firing squad for the crime of helping hundreds of Allied soldiers escape to safety out of German-held Belgium


Irena Sendler - Polish nurse who saved the lives over 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, even after being tortured at the hands of Nazi secret police (she broke out of prison after being sentenced to death)


Harriet Tubman - born into slavery, she escaped but then returned again and again to rescue dozens of other slaves via the Underground Railroad, despite lifelong ailments caused by a head injury inflicted by her owner


Nellie Bly - fearless investigative reporter, she always got her story, even if it meant putting herself in danger to do it


Aung San Suu Kyi - unwavering advocate for democracy, rule of law & non-violence, she was held under house arrest for nearly two decades; she ran for president of Myanmar (and won!) despite a law passed specifically to prevent her from doing so