In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve been talking about women who are missing from the history books — women like Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on the bus months before Rosa Parks’ famous protest.
As March draws to a close, let’s talk about the women who are writing their own chapters in history right now. Without further ado, here is a selection of the women you nominated as today’s change makers.
These women have dedicated their lives to making a difference, and their work is changing the world as we know it.
Sandra Fluke — What started as a snub by a congressional committee chair has turned into an all-out barrage against a woman who just wanted to testify about the importance of accessible contraception. We’re very proud to know Fluke, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Angela Davis — In the 1960s, Davis emerged as a prominent social activist when she was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list and jailed for suspected involvement in an abduction and murder case. She was eventually acquitted of all charges, but she often draws upon her experiences when she writes and lectures about the social injustices embedded in the U.S. prison system.
Judith Plaskow — Plaskow was the first Jewish feminist to identify herself as a theologian. Her work has influenced Jewish religious conversations, as well as the feminist theologies of other religions. She has also supported the next generation of women scholars as a selection panelist for AAUW’s American Fellowship program.
These women are breaking through barriers by becoming the first women to hold such high positions and by changing the way governments address both women leaders and women’s issues.
Hillary Clinton — Clinton faced an onslaught of media attention as a presidential hopeful in 2008. She ultimately conceded her party’s nomination to Barack Obama, but she’s made her mark with poise and leadership as the U.S. secretary of state.
Johanna Sigurdardottir — As Iceland’s first woman prime minister and the world’s first openly gay head of state, Sigurdardottir is a feminist force who is working to make her country “female friendly.”
Nancy Pelosi — After serving as the first woman speaker of the House during the 111th Congress, Pelosi is credited for leading one of the “most productive sessions of Congress.” Now that congressional job approval ratings are so low, it’s hard to believe that her term was only two years ago.
Watch out, world. These ladies are leading their industries and show no signs of slowing down.
Annie Leibovitz — A world-famous portrait photographer, Leibovitz has captured the essence of many famous people, both alive and dead. One notable photograph is her 1991 Vanity Fair cover of the nude and pregnant Demi Moore, which challenged perceptions of beauty and pregnancy.
Christine Lagarde — The first woman managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Lagarde inherited an institution in crisis and was responsible for overseeing multi-billion euro bailouts of several countries. In 2011, Forbes ranked her 39th on its list of the world’s most powerful people.
Jane Goodall — Goodall’s research on chimpanzees has fundamentally changed scientific thinking about the relationship between humans and other mammals. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute to inspire action on behalf of endangered species and environments.
Using their fame and fortune to make a difference, these women entertainers have brought unprecedented attention to their causes.
Lady Gaga — Outrageous antics make singer Lady Gaga stand out, but her identity as a one-time victim of bullying has made her an icon for the “disaffected, discriminated, and downtrodden.” The Born This Way Foundation, which she founded with her mother, empowers youth to accept who they are and to stand up for themselves.
Angelina Jolie — A wild child turned devoted humanitarian, Jolie is a U.N. peace ambassador and a spokeswoman for global aid and starvation. She founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2003 as part of her mission to eradicate poverty and promote sustainability around the world.
Thanks to everyone who took part in our women’s history polls. After reading our list, who else do you expect our great-great grandchildren to be talking about in their history classes? Tell us in the comments section. And thank you for celebrating Women’s History Month with us!
This post was written by AAUW Marketing and Communications Intern Marie Lindberg.