It's the Year of the Woman, whether you like it or not. (And the only people who don't like it are misogynists and abusers, so if you're one of them, just know that #TimesUp.) Women all over the world are fighting for equality and respect, and we won't stop until we get it. So in honor of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, we've compiled a list of some of the most outspoken and ambitious people and groups that have been dedicated to women's rights in the past decade. These are far from the only voices speaking out on behalf of women, but they're some of the loudest.
We'll start with a voice from Hollywood, Ellen Page. Actress and self-described pro-choice feminist, Ellen Page has never been shy about talking about feminism, and talking about it is an important part of fighting for equality. All the way back in 2013, she told The Guardian, "I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”
Eleanor "Ellie" Smeal has been fighting for women's rights for decades. She's the co-founder (and president) of the Feminist Majority Foundation, an organization that "utilizesresearch and actionto empower women economically, socially, and politically." Before that, she was president of the National Organization for Women, "the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States." With 100,000 marchers/N.O.W. supporters, she led the very first pro-choice march in D.C. in 1986. You might have seen her talking about feminism on shows like Larry King Live, Nightline and Good Morning America.
Malika Saada Saar is Google's Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights, a position which has allowed her to expand her platform to help women everywhere. Prior to that position, she was Executive Director of the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), where she fought to end violence against women and sex trafficking.
NOMAS is a group of men (and women) that have supported positive changes in men for over 42 years. Their principles state that men AND women will live happier, "more fulfilled" lives if we challenge traditional masculinity.
NOMAS - National Organization for Men Against Sexism / Facebook
The actor has been a very outspoken male feminist since the '70s. During a HuffPost live stream, he said of misogyny, "I think it’s like a disease that needs to be cured. And we could eradicate polio; I don’t see why we can’t eradicate misogyny."
When she's not too busy rocking the silver screen, actress Emma Watson is the public face of HeForShe, a campaign founded by UN Women. In her moving 2014 speech for HeForShe, Watson explained why men need feminism:
"Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society, despite my need of his presence as a child, as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either."
New York Times bestselling author Gloria Feldt wants to help women take charge. That's why she co-founded Take The Lead, an organization that "prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025."
Actor/singer/model/feminist Ezra Miller joined the One Billion Rising campaign in 2013, which is the "biggest mass action to end violence against women in history." During a major One Billion Rising protest in Times Square, Miller said, "One in three women in the world will experience domestic violence or rape in the course of their lifetime. To me, I grew up in a house full of women. I feel like all revolutionary causes should start with addressing misogyny."
This badass writer has been outspoken about women's rights since the 1960s. As a journalist, she wrote about how women were forced to choose between a career and marriage and also famously went undercover as a Playboy Bunny at New York City's Playboy Club for the exposé, "A Bunny's Tale," where she detailed the exploitative working conditions there. She co-founded the feminist magazine Ms.
Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for having the gumption to say that women deserved the right to an education. Some of her skull had to be removed and she was put in a medically induced coma, but she survived. She was only 14.
Since then, she has continued to speak out for the education of women and became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh yeah, and she's only 20.
Most anti-violence prevention focuses on women, not the men who commit acts of violence against them. Men Can Stop Rape is a group that counteracts this by finding positive ways to show men that they can stop violence against women by mentoring youth and spreading the word.
Sheryl Sandberg made headlines with her bestselling book, Lean In. Thebook covers feminism, the dearth of women in leadership positions and how to be a leader as a woman. Sandberg's expertise comes from her position as COO of Facebook.
Ted Bunch is the Chief Development Officer of A Call To Men, a group that challenges the modern definition of manhood and strives to prevent violence against women. A Call To Men partners with schools, corporations and the government to share their message.
Sylvia Tamale is a human rights activist, feminist and the first female Dean of the Faculty of Law at Makerere University in Uganda. Back in 2006, she also wrote the thought-provoking article, "African Feminism: How should we change?" which critically examined feminism in Africa and proposed changes that she believed would help make even more of a difference.