Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860 – 1935
wrote in a variety of genres, including “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story highlighting the “rest cure” for women in the 19th century; Woman and Economics, a sociological analysis of women’s place; and Herland, a feminist utopia novel (Jane Johnson).
Sarojini Naidu 1879 – 1949
A poet, she led a campaign to abolish purdah and was the first Indian woman president of the Indian National Congress (1925), Gandhi’s political organization. After independence, she was appointed governor of Uttar Pradesh. She also helped found the Women’s India Association, with Annie Besant and others(Jane Johnson).
Crystal Eastman 1881 – 1928
Crystal Eastman was a socialist feminist who worked for women’s rights, civil liberties, and peace. Her 1920 essay, Now We Can Begin, written right after the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, makes clear the economic and social foundations of her feminist theory(Jane Johnson).
Simone de Beauvoir 1908 – 1986
A French novelist and essayist, was part of the existentialist circle. Her 1949 book, The Second Sex, quickly became a feminist classic, inspiring women of the 1950s and 1960s to examine their role in culture(Jane Johnson).
Betty Friedan 1921 – 2006
American activist and author. She was the author of The Feminist Mystique (1963) identifying the “problem that has no name” and the question of the educated housewife: “Is this all?” She was also the founder and first president of the National Organization for Women (Jane Johnson) .
Gloria Steinem 1934
Feminist and journalist, Gloria Steinem was a key figure in the women’s movement from 1969. She founded Ms.magazine, starting in 1972. Her good looks and quick, humorous responses made her the media’s favorite spokesperson for feminism. She was an outspoken advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment and helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus(Jane Johnson).
Robin Morgan 1941
A feminist activist, poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer, was part of the New York Radical Women and the 1968 Miss America protest. She was an editor of Ms. Magazine from 1990 to 1993. Several of her anthologies are classics of feminism, including Sisterhood Is Powerful(Jane Johnson).
Andrea Dworkin 1946 – 2005
A radical feminist whose early activism including working against the Vietnam War, became a strong voice for the position that pornography is a tool by which men control, objectify, and subjugate women(Jane Johnson).
A feminist with a strong critique of feminism. Her more positive assessment of pornography and decadence, relegation of feminism to political egalitarianism, and assessment that women are actually more powerful in culture than men are has put her at odds with many feminists and non-feminists(Jane Johnson).