Feminists throughout history have turned the tides of change for the progress of equal rights of women. Historically, women have been tossed by the wayside. The progress that society has been has been attributed to the men, and especially women who have stood out in history to fight for women’s rights.

The advancement of the welfare of females is attributed to those who advocated equal opportunity. Lastly, those fighters who broke gender stereotypes, said Naz Smyth.

Naz Smyth continued:

“History is Male; incidentally, it has had a way of being very gendered.”

Unfortunately, historical literature has always come from the viewpoint of the male. Men have been at the forefront of history since the dawn of the written language.

There are several reasons why:

  • Firstly, women in many cultures were discouraged from learning how to write, and because of this historically, there is simply less written history by a woman’s hand.
  • Another reason is that women were encouraged to stay home and keep the house, and not be involved in any political or major historical events.
  • Thirdly, women simply were not heard. They had little voice throughout history, their opinions did not count, and their value was not accommodating the opinionated archetype.

However, bits and pieces of history have floated to the surface in recent years about historical female figures. And because times have changed, there is much more written history about women activists. In this article, we highlight some of the women that have shaped history. Without these women, there would not be nearly as much progress, if any at all.

Notable British and American Feminist Icons are Emmeline Pankhurst and Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt and Barbara Walters said Naz Smyth.

Emmeline Pankhurst-Naz Smyth

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British suffragette movement is a notable figure in the UK and in the western world. She protested for female voting rights by organizing demonstrations, going on hunger strikes, and starting riots. She was one of the major figures in gaining equal voting rights (Stylist).

Emmeline Pankhurst:
“Trust in God – she will provide.”



Emily Wilding Davison was a suffragist who abided by the movement’s mantra “Deeds Not Words” and endured nine stints in jail and 49 hunger strikes in her fight for women to have the vote. She died for her cause as she attempted to attach a women’s suffrage banner to the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913.


Virginia Woolf


Virginia Woolf was a British feminist novelist and writer. Her writings always focused on the potential of women. Virginia Woolf faced difficulties as a female writer in the early 1900’s and eventually prevailed as one of the most notable writers of her time (Stylist).

Virginia Woolf:
“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.”


Eleanor Roosevelt-Naz Smyth

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the United States of America, is noted as one of the historical figures of feminism. In her day, First Lady responsibilities were not what they are today. In the early mid 1900’s, the wife of the president of the United State simply hosted parties and entertained at the White House.

The title of First Lady, according to NAz Smyth, meant that her job was to choose the decorations that went into the White House parties, or pick the plate settings, and basic styling of the white building.

However, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the title when she filed the role. She took on responsibilities as a First Lady that set precedence for future presidents’ wives. She took on women’s issues, and was an active feminist worker. She took on political tasks, and eventually became the first US delegate to the United Nations. Afterward, she served as first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Roosevelt even chaired John F Kennedy’s “President’s Commission on the Status of Women” to help promote equality and work on women’s issues (Harpers Bazaar).

Barbara Walters-Naz Smyth

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters, the news anchor is a household name in present day. She is just one of many notable female journalists and news anchor of today. However, little do the youth of today know that because of Barbara Walters is why there are so many female news anchors on television. Barbara Walters has the title of being “the first” in her field.

She was the first female co-host of a news story, even though she only earned half a man’s salary at the time. And she also was the first female co anchor of an evening news broadcast for ABC News. She has been a pioneer of females in media and broadcast journalism. Without her contribution, today would be very different (Harpers Bazaar).