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From Sojourner Truth to Yuri Kochiyama, These Women Have Played Remarkable Roles in Encouraging Equality

Different women have been standing up for gender equality, better representation, and the eradication of racism for centuries. While some of these women were active in politics, others set standards in their different areas of expertise. These women have set the pace for women to speak up for themselves and refuse to be put behind today. We’ll talk about five of these women in this article.

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and educator who was born into slavery. As one of the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she was a famous civil rights leader who exposed injustice even though she was often shunned.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

When she was just 16, Ida lost the majority of her family to yellow fever. Throughout her life, Ida worked as a teacher and investigative reporter; she documented racial violence and lynching in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014)

Yuri Kochiyama was an Asian-American born and raised in San Pedro. When her father was arrested by the FBI after Pearl Harbor and her family had to move to a Japanese internment camp in Arkansas, Yuri saw the prejudice against Asian Americans.

Courtesy: Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

She took part in Asian-American, anti-war, and Black liberation movements in partnership with Black Power and Malcolm X organizations. As a defender of US political prisoners and anti-racist, Yuri was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)

Simone de Beauvoir was an eloquent French writer and philosopher who set the standard for modern feminism. She fought for gender equality and brought about different then-controversial philosophies about the situation of women. 

Courtesy: La Crosse Tribune

Her 1949 work, “The Second Sex,” started the idea of modern feminism. Simone criticized patriarchy and went against the notion that women belonged to passive roles in the book. She was instrumental in the launching of the French Women’s Liberation Movement in 1970.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist who was born into slavery but escaped to freedom with her daughter at age 29. Throughout her life, she fought in support of gender equality.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, which she delivered at the 1851 Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, is still popular today. Sojourner rode streetcars to protest segregation in the 1860s publicly; her equality efforts made President Abraham Lincoln invite her to the White House in 1864.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Frida Kahlo was an artist born in Coyoacán, Mexico. She was a staunch supporter of the Mexican Revolution- she claimed to be three years younger, so she couldn’t be associated with the revolution. 

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Frida used her art to explore taboo topics such as breastfeeding, abortion, birth, and miscarriage, opening up conversations about them. Frida and her husband, Deigo Rivera, raised money for the Republicans fighting against Franco’s forces in the Spanish Civil War.

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