100 years ago, the first women in the UK were enfranchised when Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act. Although it took another 10 years for all women to have the right to vote, it was a landmark moment for equality and feminism.
To celebrate the centenary, and the incredible dedication of the suffragettes who fought for change, we’re sharing just some of the women who have inspired us at Revolt Sexual Assault.
The suffrage movement
It would be wrong, today, not to include these inspirational women. Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily Davison – all of the women who fought for the vote have and continue to inspire us to fight for what we believe in and create lasting change.
Two Indian teenagers
Two 14-year-olds in India used Snapchat to tell their story of sexual assault – it’s illegal to identify rape victims in local media. These amazingly brave and strong young girls risked their safety to combat a national stigma. Their approach inspired our founder, Hannah, to set up Revolt Sexual Assault and gave her the courage to share my own story.
Professor of Classics at Cambridge University and author of the sensational ‘Women & Power’. Her ability to eloquently draw from the past to explain the present is unparalleled. Her defiance against misogynistic trolls on social media is remarkable. She has kept up the fight for equality all her life; and gives us the inspiration to do the same.
The current President of the Supreme Court and the only women to have been appointed to that position. She’s also one of only two women to sit on the Supreme Court, and the first one appointed to the Law Commission. An amazing women who is a great example of what we can achieve.
The women of Newsweek
The women of Newsweek 1970 – restricted to mail desk and fact checker roles they become the first women in the media to sue on the grounds of sex discrimination – for the right to report and write. “This is not a women’s problem,” Lynn Povich, one of the women, says. “It’s everyone’s problem.”
The first female black MP, who has had to face horrible abuse on a daily basis because of her race and gender. Yet 30 years later, she’s still a politician and refuses to let trolls bring her down.
Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan
These women were just three of many African American women who worked as computers at NASA during the Space Race in the 1960s. They made huge contributions to NASA’s success in the face of horrendous discrimination, which they stood up to relentlessly. Their determination and hard-working attitude is inspiring, showing that it is possible overcome seemingly impossible barriers. Their story has been told in Hidden Figures, a film we can’t recommend enough.
Brand is a fantastic comedian, but more importantly she stands up for what she believes and who she believes in. She would have made her list without her take down of Ian Hislop of Have I got News For You, but what she said and how she said it cemented her on our list of inspirational women: “Actually, for women, if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up, and that wears you down.”
The British actress has used her fame to campaign for equality, becoming a UN Women Goodwill ambassador and helping to launch the UN Women campaign #HeForShe. We also love her book club, Our Shared Shelf, where she highlights great books about equality, feminism and race that we should all read.
Professor Alice Roberts
She inspired me to do the degree I did and she champions more women and diversity in science!
And last, but not least – Oprah. Does she need any description? She’s an inspiration not just because of her successful career and eloquent words, but because she overcame racism and poverty to get where she is. We’ll leave you with our favourite part of her Golden Globes speech, which we relate to so much working on this campaign.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.”