At a rally, a person in a gray hoodie holds up a sign that reads, "Girls just wanna have fundamental rights."

October 11 marked International Day of the Girl. This day supports more opportunity for girls and increased awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender.

Throughout the course of history, women have fought to ensure that their voices are heard. The campaign for women’s freedom and equality has made significant advances in women’s social, economic, political, sexual and social rights. Despite all the progress, women are still fundamentally disadvantaged especially in the developing countries and are suffering from an uneven position in society: they have less protection against violence, less money, less power and less access to education and health care.

Although they still face a myriad of obstacles, in the world today, many influential women who advocate today are CEOs, industry leaders, and political representatives. Here are some of the top women leaders who are championing women’s rights to pave the way for generations to come.

  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Before serving as a Supreme Court justice, Bader Ginsburg co-founded in 1970 the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the United States to focus solely on women’s rights. She later co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project two years later, ensuring once again that women’s voices were heard in law. After being appointed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993, Bader Ginsburg served as the second Supreme Court justice in the history of the United States, a post she still occupies till today and uses to advocate for women’s rights.

  1. Gloria Steinem

Known as the “Mother of Feminism,” – Gloria Steinem steered women’s liberation movements throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and still do so today. She co-founded the feminist-themed Ms. Magazine and a number of women’s groups that transformed the face of feminism, most notably the National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Action Alliance, Women’s Media Center, and others. All of these efforts earned her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and 2013 respectively. Steinem was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is still a pioneer of feminism today with her WOMAN, Viceland series, and post-election action for young women and girls.

  1. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the only American First Lady to contest for public office, and she is the first female Senator from New York, Secretary of State to President Obama and, of course, the only female presidential candidate in the 2016 election. From the 1970s, Clinton has promoted the empowerment of women through her work, from being the first president of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978 to her famed “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” speech in 1995, to engaging in an inspiring presidential campaign for women to look up to in 2016. Notwithstanding the countless sexism she faced during the presidential election, she took the path up to the end.

  1. Oprah Winfrey

Inspired by the unfair pay she earned at the beginning of her broadcasting career, Oprah decided to launch her TV show and from that point built an empire to help women grow, develop and prosper.

  1. Madonna

The Pop Queen has built her whole career, promoting the boundaries of women and sexuality through her music and videos, breaking unforgivably gender stereotypes in the process. Using her public personality, Madonna urged women to make their sexuality and live their own without shame. She has been vocal in advocating against the ageism and sexism that many women receive today.

  1. Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook’s chief operating officer is responsible for spearheading the “Lean In” movement with her 2013 book that exhorts women to succeed in the workforce. Sandberg, through her high profile position in Facebook, her role with the Women for Women International Board and the Lean In Foundation, is very open about the drawbacks and unfairness that women face in the workforce.

  1. Malala Yousafzai

The brave teenager became famous with her memoirs; I Am Malala, which documents her heroic journey as a young scholar striving for access to formal education in Pakistan. Since then, Malala has been on a global trip championing the educational rights of children and women via her foundation, the Malala Fund.

  1. Marlène Schiappa

She is a French politician who has served as Secretary for Equality between women and men in the Philippe government since 17th May 2017. She delegate for equality (equality between men and women, fight against discrimination, LGBT Charter follow-up) (2014-17). Joint founder of the Movement of French Elected for Equality (MEFE) (2014). She is a delegate in Sarthe and responsible for the division Equality between men and women in the political streets of En Marche! (2016-17). She also the Minister for Gender Equality since 2017.

  1. Dolores Huerta

She is a Mexican-American labor activist and leader and the originator of the United Farm Workers of America. She was instrumental in organizing the 1965 Delano grape strike.

Huerta fought and continues to fight, for workers’ rights, women’s rights, and immigrants’ rights. Huerta has received many recognitions throughout her activist career and also honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award. She is perhaps most famously known in today’s Latinx community as the creator of the “Sí, se puede” chant,” which translates to “Yes, it is possible.”

Written by Donorbox exclusively for Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.