10 intriguing female revolutionaries that you didn’t learn about in history class
We all know male revolutionaries like Che Guevara, but history often tends to gloss over the contributions of female revolutionaries that have sacrificed their time, efforts, and lives to work towards burgeoning systems and ideologies. Despite misconceptions, there are tons of women that have participated in revolutions throughout history, with many of them playing crucial roles. They may come from different points on the political spectrum, with some armed with weapons and some armed with nothing but a pen, but all fought hard for something that they believed in.
Let’s take a look at 10 of these female revolutionaries from all over the world that you probably won’t ever see plastered across a college student’s T-shirt.
Many people know Nadezhda Krupskaya simply as Vladimir Lenin’s wife, but Nadezhda was a Bolshevik revolutionary and politician in her own right. She was heavily involved in a variety of political activities, including serving as the Soviet Union’s Deputy Minister of Education from 1929 until her death in 1939, and a number of educational pursuits. Prior to the revolution, she served as secretary of the Iskra group, managing continent-wide correspondence, much of which had to be decoded. After the revolution, she dedicated her life to improving education opportunities for workers and peasants, for example by striving to make libraries available to everyone.
Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth) was an Anglo-Irish Countess, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. She participated in many Irish independence efforts, including the Easter Rising of 1916, in which she had a leadership role. During the Rising, she wounded a British sniper before being forced to retreat and surrender. After, she was the only woman out of 70 to be put into solitary confinement. She was sentenced to death, but was pardoned based on her gender. Interestingly, the prosecuting counsel claimed that she begged “I am only a woman, you cannot shoot a woman”, while court records show she said “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me”. Constance was one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position (Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, 1919–1922), and she was also the first woman elected to the British House of Commons (December 1918)—a position which she rejected due to the Sinn Féin abstentionist policy.
During the Mexican Revolution, female soldiers known as soldaderas went into combat along with the men although they often faced abuse. One of the most well-known of the soldaderas was Petra Herrera, who disguised her gender and went by the name “Pedro Herrera”. As Pedro, she established her reputation by demonstrating exemplary leadership (and blowing up bridges) and was able to reveal her gender in time. She participated in the second battle of Torreón on May 30, 1914 along with about 400 other women, even being named by some as being deserving of full credit for the battle. Unfortunately, Pancho Villa was likely unwilling to give credit to a woman and did not promote her to General. In response, Petra left Villa’s forces and formed her own all-woman brigade.
Nwanyeruwa, an Igbo woman in Nigeria, sparked a short war that is often called the first major challenge to British authority in West Africa during the colonial period. On November 18, 1929, an argument between Nwanyeruwa and a census man named Mark Emereuwa broke out after he told her to “count her goats, sheep and people.” Understanding this to mean she would be taxed (traditionally, women were not charged taxes), she discussed the situation with the other women and protests, deemed the Women’s War, began to occur over the course of two months. About 25,000 women all over the region were involved, protesting both the looming tax changes and the unrestricted power of the Warrant Chiefs. In the end, women’s position were greatly improved, with the British dropping their tax plans, as well as the forced resignation of many Warrant Chiefs.
Lakshmi Sahgal, colloquially known as “Captain Lakshmi”, was a revolutionary of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and later, the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. In the 40s, she commanded the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, an all-women regiment that aimed to overthrow British Raj in colonial India. The regiment was one of the very few all-female combat regiments of WWII on any side, and was named after another renowned female revolutionary in Indian history, Rani Lakshmibai, who was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
German revolutionary Sophie Scholl was a founding member of the non-violent anti-Nazi resistance group The White Rose, which advocated for active resistance to Hitler’s regime through an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign. In February of 1943, she and other members were arrested for handing out leaflets at the University of Munich and sentenced to death by guillotine. Copies of the leaflet, retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich, were smuggled out of the country and millions were air-dropped over Germany by Allied forces later that year.
Blanca Canales was a Puerto Rican Nationalist who helped organize the Daughters of Freedom, the women’s branch of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. She was one of the few women in history to have led a revolt against the United States, known as the Jayuya Uprising. In 1948, a severely restricting bill known as the Gag Bill, or Law 53, was introduced that made it a crime to print, publish, sell, or exhibit any material intended to paralyze or destroy the insular government. In response, the Nationalists starting planning armed revolution. On October 30, 1950, Blanca and others took up arms which she had stored in her home and marched into the town of Jayuya, taking over the police station, burning down the post office, cutting the telephone wires, and raising the Puerto Rican flag in defiance of the Gag Law. As a result, the US President declared martial law and ordered Army and Air Force attacks on the town. The Nationalists held on for awhile, but were arrested and sentenced to life in prison after 3 days. Much of Jayuya was destroyed, and the incident was not fairly covered by US media, with the US President even saying it was “an incident between Puerto Ricans.”
Most people know Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, but fewer people have heard of Celia Sanchez, the woman at the heart of the Cuban Revolution who has even been rumored to be the main decision-maker. After the March 10, 1952 coup, Celia joined the struggle against the Batista government. She was a founder of the 26th of July Movement, leader of combat squads throughout the revolution, controlled group resources, and even made the arrangements for the Granma landing, which transported 82 fighters from Mexico to Cuba in order to overthrow Batista. After the revolution, Celia remained with Castro until her death.
Kathleen Neal Cleaver
Kathleen Neal Cleaver was a member of the Black Panther Party and the first female member of the Party’s decision-making body. She served as spokesperson and press secretary and organized the national campaign to free the Party’s minister of defense, Huey Newton, who had been jailed. She and other women, such as Angela Davis, made up around 2/3 of the Party at one point, despite the notion that the BPP was overwhelmingly masculine.
Asmaa Mahfouz is a modern-day revolutionary who is credited with sparking the January 2011 uprising in Egypt through a video blog post encouraging others to join her in protest in Tahrir Square. She is considered one of the leaders of the Egyptian Revolution and is a prominent member of Egypt’s Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution.
These 10 women are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to female revolutionaries. Let us know in the comments who we’ve left out and what you think about the actions of those included on our list!
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Also Ethel Rosenberg, she sacrificed all.
she’s a legend
Leila khaled absalutelyl.
Tania che guevaras companera in bolivia.
Maria Nikiforova http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Nikiforova
And then there were the women who fought alongside the men in response to the invasion of the Caribbean by the Spanish, such as Granny Nanny, and before her Anacoana, Casiguaya, Abama. Then, moving to the mainland, we have all the women slaves who fought and ran the underground railroad, and the Native women who struck fear in American men for being outspoken warriors!
Mo Karnage of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective
Occupied Monroe Park in Richmond, VA 6 months before the Occupy Wall Street movement for Food Not Bombs
lol this is the dumbest fucking reply go home brett
One of my favorites is Emma Goldman, anarchist and women’s health advocate who fought for the right of women to be in charge of their own sexuality and fertility – not doctors dictating it.
You forgot Emma Goldman!!
Great women. <3
Rosa Parks who refused to sit at the back of the bus – an action which sparked a boycott in Mississippi.
Or Claudette Colvin!
Leila Khaled and Vilma Espin
Thank you for writing about these women. However let’s not say they are ‘intriguing’, just brilliant and passionate and courageous. Intriguing only to men who have no idea how amazing women are and have been continually throughout ‘herstory’.
So many great suggestions here, thanks everyone! I’m thinking I should do an Intriguing Revolutionaries: Part 2 sometime in the future.
Aheh Tamimi #freepalestine
Oh, yes, please part 2. There are so many unsung greats. My favourite: Louise Michel. http://struggle.ws/ws98/ws55_louise.html
Mekatalili wa Menza
A Giriama woman who led an uprising against the early British colonial administration in coastal Kenya.
Judi Bari who took part in protests against clearcut loggers in the redwood forests of California in the 1990s. She was even attacked by way of car bomb. The FBI maintained she bombed her own car. I rather doubt that.
Julia “Butterfly” Hill who lived in a redwood tree for two or three years to protect it from being cut down, during that same period. I believe hers is still the longest tree-sit on record.
The redwoods being clearcut lead to mudslides that destroy homes so these people were not only standing up for the old-growth forest but were also trying to protect other human beings.
Rosa Luxemburg and
Rosa Luxemburg = useful idiot, wanted to bring the joys of the Soviets to Germany. Thank God that plan failed.
Alexandra Kollantai = sociopath bitch, enemy of the traditional family, accomplice to Stalin and Molotov, two of the most sadistic bastards to ever walk on the earth. If there is a hell, I hope she is there screaming.
Is this misogynist commentary wanted here?
I wonder if you think that only the “normal” people have a right to be on this list, Rosa Luxembourg and Alexandra Kollontai have been demonized because they were not only revolutionary political but also social and cultural, but I realize that sexism and closed-mindedness of many “men” are said.
I salute these progressive and underappreciated women !!!
Someone has mentioned “Zahra Rahnavard”, But “Zahra Rahnavard” shouldn’t be count as a nice person. Few years ago, she and her husband were in power in the government of the Terrorist regime of Iran. Her husband was the prime minister in Iran he ordered the execution of political prisoners, some of them even didn’t appear in a court. half of those young prisoners were girls. The government (lead by Zahra Rahnavard’s husband) ordered prison guards to rape those girls, because moslems believe that virgin girls will go to Haven. The government did not want those girls to go to Haven. Now Rahnavard and her husband are in house arrest, not because they are good people, just because of the internal conflicts between terrorists inside Iranian regime. 99 present of Iranian people hate the regime, only people who are with the government like the dictatorial regime. the regime of Islamic dictatorship has been kept in power only by means of terror and oppression and by killing whoever stands up to the dictatorial regime.
Zahra Rahnavard. One of the early revolutionaries in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Close to Ali Shariati and advocated for democratic reforms after the revolution. Helped lead the green movement with her husband, Presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and now under house arrest
two women come to mind : american revolution,the hessians are following Washington, a lady in the villages interests the hessian commander enough to have the troop spend the night in town instead of pursuing Washingtons men., giving the latter time to get away and saves the American Revolution.
conquistadores in Lima ,Peru : the spanish are way outnumbered by the Inca and other tribes.who are ready to attack.An Inca princess that is concubine of spanish commander brokers a peace agreement and literally saves the spanish garrison. Sound like a fairy tale ,but its true,princess has a long unpronouncable name,but is in the history books of Peru
Next time you should look at Edith Garrud. She taught English suffragettes ju-jitsu.
This is fantastic on so many levels. Thanks for sharing. Now off to find out more the amazing Edith.
Sarojini Naidu, born as Sarojini Chattopadhyay also known by the sobriquet as The Nightingale of India, was a child prodigy, Indian independence activist and poet. Naidu served as the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh from 1947 to 1949; the first woman to become the governor of an Indian state. She was the second woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first Indian woman to do so
Ms. Kathleen , Wonderful writeup and thanks for sharing. There are many unforgotten Heroes both revolutionary and non revolutionary. Some am listing here
Irom Sharmila – Iron lady of Manipur
Aung San Suu Kyi
Veneranda Nzambaza-mariyaQueen Noor of Jordan
Noble Peace price Laureates:
Bertha Von Suttner
Emily Green Balch
Aung San Suu Kyi
Rigoberta Menchi Tum
Wangari Maathai ….. And many more heroes, List continues…..
I totally agree. The article should have listed Aung San Suu Kyi.
What about Maud Gonne, an Anglo-Irish woman who took up the Irish struggle for independence in the late 1800’s. Christabel Pankhurst, a suffragette who endured imprisonment, torture, brutality, broken health, and ultimately, death for the cause of women’s rights.
Isabel Rosado. Now 106 years old. Revolutinary combaant at the Revolución del 50 agains colonial regime by United States over Puerto Rico. Was our first woman to depose at the United Nations. Feminist, socialist, nationalist, who to this day keeps the struggle to free political prisoners.
Boudicca, leader of a Celtic rebellion against Roman rule in Britain around 60-61 CE.
Dates: September 28, 1839 – February 7, 1898
Occupation: educator, temperance activist, reformer, suffragist, speaker
Known for: heading the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, 1879-1898; first dean of women, Northwestern University; appeared on a 1940 postage stamp; first woman represented in Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol Building, founder of the National Council of Women and it’s first president, 1888, worked to establish rape laws, raising the age of consent, women’s suffrage and other social reforms.
et Noe Itô (January 21, 1895 – September 16, 1923) was a Japanese anarchist, social critic, author and feminist.
Angela Davis wasn’t actually part of the BPP. But great article.
Lozen, Apache warrior.
“Suffragette” is simultaneously sexist and silly. How about suffragist? You can apply this gender-neutral term to both men and women who favor women’s suffrage. A majority of men must have supported women’s suffrage because it became the law of the land in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, before the passage of which, only men could vote in most states. Interestingly far more Senate Democrats voted against the 19th Amendment than Republicans..
Susan B Anthony, Margaret Sanger
Two different groups working for women’s suffrage.
“Suffragists believed in peaceful, constitutional campaign methods and campaigned through means such as meetings, debates, leaflets, and petitions. They also put forward male candidates in elections as opposition to Republican and Democratic candidates who opposed women’s suffrage.
In the early 20th century, after the suffragists failed to make significant progress, a new generation of activists emerged. These women became known as the suffragettes, and they were willing to take direct action for the cause. The word suffragette, however, was used to describe strictly women, the type who were disrupting local meetings, getting arrested, and going on hunger strikes in prison. The word might be used to mock them, and it might have connotations of disapproval, but it was also associated with action, disruption, and demanding to be heard no matter the cost.”
Nehanda from Zimbabwe
Mbuya Nehanda 🙂
Rosa Luxemburg, Lucy Parsons, Sojourner Truth, Vilma Espin, Rigoberta Menchu, Lolita Lebron
A few more that come to mind – Giaconda Belli, who helped lead the Sandanista rebellion in Nicaragua and the Mirabal sisters who helped fight against the dictator, Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.
Why has there been no mention of Yaa Asantewaa??? Google her.
Lolita Lebrón, Djamila Bouhired, Luisa Capetillo, Camila Vallejo
Sophie Scholl was in an ANTI-Nazi resistance group, White Rose. The word “anti” is missing in the text above. Let’s fix it ASAP. Thanks.
If you do part 2, I hope you’ll include Toypurina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toypurina
Dolores Ibarruri ” La Passionaria” who led the resistance against the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s
Matangini Hazra , Indian , during the uprising agaist the british raj
La Pasionaria, Dolores Ibarruri : “they shall not pass”
All Kurdish woman fighters!!!
Winnie Mandela sacrificed all for the freedom of the South-African people.
this list should also have included Begum Rokeya who was a leading feminist writer and social worker in undivided Bengal during the early 20th century. She is most famous for her efforts on behalf of gender equality and other social issues.She established the first school aimed primarily at Muslim girls, which still exists today.
the wiki page on her where you can learn more about her is
another person who should have been included here is Pritilata Waddedar who was a Bengali revolutionary nationalist.After a brief stint as a school teacher, Pritilata joined a revolutionary group headed by Surya Sen. She led a 15 man team of revolutionaries in a 1932 attack on the Pahartali European Club, which had a sign board that read “Dogs and Indians not allowed”.The revolutionaries torched the club and were later caught by the British police. To avoid getting arrested, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died.
her wiki which you can visit to learn more about her is
Fanya Kaplan who shot and seriously wounded Vladimir Lenin.
Please find out about the meaning of the word “Revolutionary”. There is a difference between an assassin and a revolutionary person.
Except, Lenin was the revolutionary, and what he was working towards was good. Making Fanya an anti-revolutionary.
She was a revolutionary and your comment is so asinine it’s an embarrasment to leninists.
Elizabeth Van Lew = Union Spy living in the Capial of the Confederacy.
Shote Galica fought her entire life for the liberation of Albania from Slavic invasions.
Juana Azurduy de Padilla – a Bolivian guerillla soldier and general of the Argentinian army (she was only rewarded this rank in 2009, 147 years after her death).
Birgit Monhaupt – Leading figure of the 2nd generetion of the Rote Armé Fraction, from Germany
Leila Khaled – Comander in the Public Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Rosa Luxemborg – Leading figure in the Paris Comune
Valerie Solanas – Creater of the SCUM manifesto, and shot Andy Warhol
Emma Goldman – Leading figure of the Anarchist movement in the USA and in Russia under the Revolution in 1917
Voltairine De Cleyre – Leading Anarchist firgure in USA in the 1800’s
Milly Witkop – Leading figure of the Anarcho syndicalist/feminist movement in Berlin in the 1920’s
Great list Emily but
Rosa Luxemburg was a German revolutionary
It is Louis Michelle who was a leader of the Paris Commune
Emily. This is a good selection. Children should be taught about these women who are already reasonably well known. Really like your comment.
“Rosa Luxemborg – Leading figure in the Paris Comune”
Rosa Luxemburg was born in 1871, two months before the Paris Commune disbanded.
Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem started a revolution and not a shot was fired. (Other than the nuts who killed nine medical providers of abortion.)
Steinem. Absolutely. She led a revolution against the patriarchy that still goes on today. And, she really was “armed with nothing but a pen.”
I actually had goose bumps, realizing both the staggering number of people reacting to the request for examples of women that are undervaluated by history. Because that is just the basic force we see at play here. If we make a quick judgement on how much coverage “male revolutionaries” have received when compared to their “female” colleagues and what immense and strong force of bias has been in place and still is to even make a censorship like that to be effective and that wide spread throughout our history to make these women almost disappear from our collective memory, it is enough to be silenced in dismay or break out in anger. But if you’re proned to be aware of it, there is enough evidence of this bias in every day life, to be appalled over, get angry about or break down in silence for being hurt. So the only way out of that, is to find things to do, the small sparks of hope that give us a small view of things changing for the better and how we aid to that improvement. And that’s the thing, this is just one amazing attempt to have these women not be forgotten and if I’m right, you will be given an enormous amount of women by your readers that deserve to be torn from obliviance. Maybe some day, there will be no need any more to safeguard women from obliviance or quite obvious displays of underestimating their role in history. That day won’t come any sooner but for initiatives like this one. Thank you very much for this brilliant attempt to wake up our collective memory to its unjust biases and for confronting me with blindspots in my own that needed to be filled.
I also entirely agree with you. Thanks on my behalf also
Where’s Ruslana Lyzhychko on this list? She should definitely be included, especially considering what’s going on in Ukraine at this moment.
Voltairine De Cleyre : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltairine_de_Cleyre
Bartolina Sisa, together with her husband Tupak Katari, led an indigenous uprising against Spanish rule in Bolivia in 1781. They held the capital in siege for 184 days. She was executed September 5, 1782.
Maria Nikiforova – the anarchist Joan of Arc (1885-1919) Played a prominent role in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War as an organizer, military commander, and “terrorist.” A revolutionary from the age of 15, she was on trial for her life on four separate occasions under three different regimes and sentenced to death twice. Her exploits became the stuff of folklore. But she was “blacklisted” by official historians and her story was lost for generations. — “Atamansha” Black Cat Press http://www.blackcatpress.ca
Ellen Gabriel, mohawk leader and spokesperson during the 1990 Oka crisis.
The Asante queen Yaa Asantewaa:
All the ‘staffette’, the partisan women who helped American allies and rebel italian soldiers to fight against fascist and nazi forces in Italy during WWII. Some names: Irma Bandiera, Laura Del Bon, Ines Bedeschi, Livia Bianchi.
Definitely GABRIELA SILANG, a Filipino revolutionary whose biggest mass women’s movement in the Philippines (with international chapters) is named after.
I was just about to mention her
Agustina de Aragón
Women of the Rossentrasse protest – they protest agaist the arrest for their jewish husband and realitives
And for French resistance leaders during the occupation of WWII, you have to include Nancy Wake. Being a military genius, amazing strength of character and sassy as shit, she was told to have immortalized the words “Don’t give me that French shit”, when the local Captain of the French Resistance told her he hoped all trees would bear such beautiful trees while cutting her down from her parachute. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Wake
Seems a bit weird that Wake thought sexism was “French shit”, not universal
Tania la guerrillera.
Qiu Jin, Chinese revolutionary, feminist and writer who was executed for an uprising against the Qing dynasty. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qiu_Jin
I miss Malala in thos context. She deserves al lot of credits.
Olga Benario Prestes
Came across your list of female revolutionists on facebook found interesting but couldn’t shake the thought that in making it you didn’t care what their beliefs politics or goals were as long as they were female (I KNOW LIKE THE LIST SAYS) cant help thinking it lessens them in someway if only their gender matters
Mekatilili wa Menza
Yes, Mekatilili wa Menza definately!
Mbuya Nehanda, led the first war of Independence for Zimbabwe then Rhodesia in the 1800s, she was hung in the center of the capital of Zimbabwe after her capture.
Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch, co-founders of Women’s international league of peace and freedom (1914), during WW I.
You should include Pritilata Waddedar (1911 –1932) here.
She was a Bengali revolutionary nationalist. After a brief stint as a school teacher, Pritilata joined a revolutionary group headed by Surya Sen. She led a 15 man team of revolutionaries in a 1932 attack on the Pahartali European Club, which had a sign board that read “Dogs and Indians not allowed”. The revolutionaries torched the club and were later caught by the British police. To avoid getting arrested, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died.
The Trung sisters!
The four Mirabal sisters: Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. They opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Brave, brave women who stood up against an oppressive government. 3 of them were sadly assassinated for their pursuits. The UN founded the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.
Josephine Baker is well-known for dancing in a skirt made of bananas, but later she also became a prominent figure in the French résistance movement against the Nazi regime.
Federica Montseny – Spanish anarchist who for a short while was a minister in the Spanish Republican Government during the civil war.
Sara Palin?? “Nanny of the Morons”:)
Nanny of the Maroons.
Clara Zetkin from the German Social-Democratic Party (the SPD), a feminist and a friend of Rosa Luxemburg’s
Inessa Armand, Russian revolutionary who defected from the bourgeoisie. Also reputed to be Lenin’s lover
Alexandra Kollontai, Russian revolutionary and feminist, author of a feminist working class novel _Love of Worker Bees_
Assata Shakur of the Black Panther Party
Daisy Zamora of the Sandinistas, feminist revolutionary and poet
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, Irish Civil Rights activist and socialist from Derry in the North of Ireland; elected to British Parliament in a protest election, youngest member ever, at the time
Lucy Parsons, African-American anarchist activist from 1880s through the 1920s in Chicago, Illinois, and widow of Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons
if we’re including Jane Addams, then Victoria Woodhull, who ran for President (with Frederick Douglass as her VP running-mate) in the 1870s, and who campaigned for free love, and also an end to the double standard in sexual morality by publicizing Henry Ward Beecher’s affair with Elizabeth Tilton
Here’s the Indonesian list (although almost every of them can you read on our history book, our teachers never tell us their every own very cool story):
1) Keumalahayati or simply Malahayati: First women admiral in modern world, kills Cornelis de Houtman on one-by-one sword fight on board. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keumalahayati)
2) Rasuna Said: One of first Indonesian women politician, one of most brave Indonesian women jurnalist, often get caught and imprisoned by Colonial Dutch Indies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasuna_Said)
3) Martha Christina Tiahahu: Leads thousands of men in Amboina Revolution, after Pattimura had been caught, at 17 of age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Christina_Tiahahu)
4) Cut Nyak Dhien: Leads Aceh guerrilla (who were majority compossed by men) to the Dutch Colonialist for 25 years, after her husband’s demise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cut_Nyak_Dhien)
5) Maria Walanda Maramis (nee Maria Josephine Catherine Maramis): Struggling for the rights of women to vote and to have higher education. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Walanda_Maramis)
6) Fatmawati: Indonesia’s first ever First Lady, helping stabilitating the new-born Indonesian government (From the shock of First and Second Dutch Aggretions, and also from it’s own politicians), mother of first ever women president of Indonesia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatmawati)
7) Surastri Karma Trimurti: one of Indonesian women jurnalist that always making Dutch Colonial inflame (alongside with Rasuna Said), second Indonesian women minister, joining the Partai Indonesia (Partindo) at 1933 or 21 years old. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.K._Trimurti)
8) Maria Ulfah Santoso: First ever Indonesian women to study about Laws in Netherlands AND get a honor of Mesteer at 1933, first ever Indonesian women minister. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Ulfah_Santoso)
9) Rahmah El Yunusiyyah: Indonesia’s religious education reformer, establish the only-girls school called Sekolah Diniyyah (whom the students aren’t just from West Sumatra, but also from other parts of Indonesia even from Malaysia), join hand to establishing the People Guarding Army (whom now become the National Forces of Indonesia), get caught and imprisoned, elected to be a member of Temporal People’s Representative Council, (http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahmah_El_Yunusiyyah)
Simone de Beauvoir
They’re more of intellectual/environmental revolutionaries but Vandana Shiva and Arundhati Roy.
Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cady_Stanton
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women’s suffrage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman
Queen Amina of Zaria. The first female revolutionary leader in sub-sahara Africa. She made her exploits over 200 years ago against invaders of “Kanem-Borno” empire. Today, female hotels of the University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University are named after her. We also had Margaret Ekpo who led the 1927 Aba Women Riot against the imposition of tax payment on South-Eastern women that were peasant traders. The Calabar International Airport in Cross River State, Nigeria, is named after her
Yaa Asantewa,led a famous 19th century uprising Ashanti uprising against the British Colonialist.
Nwanyeruwa must have inspired Igbo women because till today, they are not timid and occupy various social positions in Nigeria. Well done woman.
Left Wing and Progressive Books, Blogs, Video’s http://t.co/iyNMRSPTzk http://t.co/vFUQJgisYX
10 intriguing female revolutionaries that you didn’t learn about in History class http://t.co/wsJalT6S5k
Umm, I think this list is awesome. But you should SERIOUSLy consider changing who you considered Male Revolutionaries. Che Guevara was a monster who murdered anyone who disagreed with him. His diary bragged about executing thousands of Cubans executed. He had people executed who talked badly about him he was pure evil.
He was not a good person, he was a murderous fiend. I’d consider changing who you compared these awesome ladies with. You don’t want them to be associated with a murderer.
Same with Fidel Castro, Che and Fidel are not to be admired. They are horrible human beings that have oppressed Cuba for many many years.
?? “Che Guevara was a monster who murdered anyone who disagreed with him. His diary bragged about executing thousands of Cubans executed. He had people executed who talked badly about him.” Pack of Lies.
Women have always played a pivotal role in many revolutionary processes but their role and impact have traditionally been deliberately unrecognized. This, despite the role and the level at which their role was implemented.
Revolutions, rebellions etc. usually have an undercurrent base in economic disparity. Those immediately impacted are children; mothers are the immediate sensors of this effects. Their agitations (intra – family) is a significant stimulant to their men folks. Following this inter family and intra societal unrest occurrs as individuals mobilize themselves for social actions. Women have played significant roles in the ensuing development – true across all revolutions.
But, given the prevailing ethos, even unto the present, women were to be treated, a tad bit above children, “to be seen and not heard”, hence the absent historical references. When did women, have the right to vote, have a bank account etc.? Unless of course they were members of the royal blue blood aristocracy, their activity would have been ignored and when impossible to be ignored, it would have to be otherwise ostracized, demonized & denigrated.
Glad to see, Countess Markievicz on the list, in Ireland, she is in the History books and class, I did a project on her! she was the first woman to be elected to Parliament and fought in the 1916 Easter Rising, she was quite remarkable for her time, she had a very privilege upbringing, but cast it off to fight for Irish Independence. You can visit the large 18th century mansion she grew up in Sligo in the north west of Ireland, called Lissadell House, they have a tour and museum about her. Also, her sister Eva Gore-Booth did a lot to help improve the rights of women.
Sorry if I missed it in the comments but.. where are the Kurdish female leaders and fighters? For instance, Kara Fatma (vs Ottoman empire), Margaret Shello and Leyla Qasim (vs Ba’ath regime), Narin Afrin and Ekin Wan (vs ISIS), etc.
Good question Anna-Sara. The Kurdish female revolutionaries deserve mentioning. Recently it was the female Pershmega fighters who led the way as they fearlessly faced up to imperialist-sponsored ISIS barbarism
Charlotte Maxeke – first black woman to graduate at university in SA, leader of Black Women’s movement in the country
Winnie Mandela – wife of Nelson Mandela, a fearless liberation activist and former leader of ANC Women’s League
Urbania Mothopeng – leader of the Pan-Africanist movement women wing; wife of then PAC president Zephania
Ruth First – former National Secretary of YCLSA, a revolutionary intellectual par excellence, writer and wife of Communist Party leader Joe Slovo
Queen Nzinga of Angola – a female revolutionary feudal who was the first to challenge Portuguese colonialists and the slave trade
Nokuthela Ndima – former wife of first ANC president John Langalibalele Mdima Dube, a composer, educationist and women’s rights activist
What about Eleanor Roosevelt..
dont forget Clara Peller
Lakshmi Sehgal struggling against colonialism, per se, was a worthy goal. There’s a serious problem, though, with the Azad Hind movement, because it was openly allied with Fascism. I really have to question whether it was worth it to fight on the side of Hitler and Tojo for any reason, no matter how important it was to end colonialism. That’s a fatal compromise.
Please change the title, Intriguing is only the way men describe us women when they try to patronize our revolutionary thinking and power
I will also add Teresa Flores a chilean revolutionary , Belen de Zarraga and Rigoberta Menchu