Women who stood up to power

Persons 1

Rosa Parks

“I was a regular person, just as good as anybody else.”
Rosa Parks (1913–2005) challenged racial segregation in the United States by staying put in 1955 when a city bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, asked her to “stand up” and surrender her seat to a white passenger.

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Malala Yousafzai

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”
Malala Yousafzai was 15 when the Taliban shot her for promoting girls’ education in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. She became the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle for the right of all children to an education.

© Vegard Wivestad Grott/NTB Scanpix/Reuters

Vida Movahed

The face of an Iranian social movement
The woman on Enghelab [Revolution] Avenue stood up to the Iranian authorities in protest of laws regarding how women must dress in public. Her name is Vida Movahed, and her image became a rallying point during widespread economic and political protests that engulfed Iran for several weeks.

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Corazon C. Aquino

“There is much that women can bring into politics that would make our world a kinder, gentler place for humanity to thrive in.”
Corazon C. Aquino (1933–2009) was a prominent figure of the 1986 “People Power Revolution,” which toppled the authoritarian rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos. She served as the 11th president of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office. She has been dubbed the “Mother of Asian Democracy.”

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Persons 2

Leymah Gbowee

“It’s time for women to stop being politely angry.”
Leymah Gbowee received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that helped end Liberia’s 14-year civil war. She shared the prize with Yemen native Tawakkol Karman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who later became the first elected female head of state in Africa.

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Alice Paul

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”
Alice Paul (1885–1977) helped to pass the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. She was subjected to imprisonment as she sought the voting amendment.

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Oleksandra Matviychuk

“We always have a choice — to be decent people or to be scoundrels.”
Oleksandra Matviychuk has been a champion for grass-roots nonviolent human rights activism in Ukraine. She provides legal assistance to hostages and torture survivors from the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russian-occupied Crimea and teaches police how to interact with citizens.

Colin Peters/USOSCE

Shirin Ebadi

“The women of the world must know that there is only one road to success, and that is to disregard obstacles and difficulties and have a strong will for victory.”
Shirin Ebadi was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts for democracy in Iran. She focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.

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March is Women’s History Month. Meet eight women whose tenacity and acts of courage changed the course of history through their nonviolent resistance to tyranny and injustice.

Hover and click each panel above to view more. Swipe/Click to view more figures.


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(© Vegard Wivestad Grott/NTB Scanpix/Reuters)

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(© Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee smiles as she addresses the Columbia Business School 2011 Social Enterprise Conference in New York October 7, 2011. Gbowee, who promoted a “sex strike” among efforts to end Liberia’s civil war, shared the prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first woman freely elected as a head of state in Africa, and Yemen’s Tawakul Karman. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES – Tags: SOCIETY PROFILE POLITICS) – GM1E7A805GG01

(© Raul Urbina/Getty Images)

(Colin Peters/USOSCE)

(Social Media/AbacaPress.com)