5 Influential Women that We Don't Talk About Enough

Despite their influential impact, women are often forced to the back of the line in history. Women of color and queer women are even more so hidden in obscurity than white women, to the point that they are almost invisible to society. This International Women's Day, it's important to remember the feats all women, especially those that are often excluded from traditional history.

Marsha P. Johnson

Photo courtesy of Biography

The first stone-thrower at the historical Stonewall Uprising, Johnson was an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. A trans woman herself, she devoted her life to helping homeless LGBTQ+ teens, co-founded the Gay Liberation Front and had a successful career as a drag queen. Her death was originally proclaimed a suicide, but the case is being investigated and publicized in the Netflix documentary The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson.

Elaine Brown

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Brown was the only female to lead the Black Panthers. She was the Chairwoman from 1974 to 1977, but has remained an active advocate for social change ever since. She continues to be involved in prison and education reform and juvenile justice, and wrote the books A Taste of Power, in which she details her struggle for racial justice, and Condemnation of Little B, which discusses “new-age racism.”

Gwen Ifill

Photo courtesy of NBC News

Ifill was a highly-accredited American journalist. She was the first black woman to host a national public talk show in 1999, which was Washington Week. She has received countless awards for her work, including the Peabody Award, the Goldsmith Career Award from Harvard and Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism, and was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Photo courtesy of The Blade

Without Dr. Hanna-Attisha, the Flint, Michigan water scandal might never have been exposed. Not only did she discover in her research the dangers of Flint water, but she relentlessly advocated for funding and reform to fix the problem. She helped secure over 100 million dollars in federal funding for Flint. She is the director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and is writing a book about the Flint water crisis, titled What the Eyes Don't See.

Edith Eyde

Photo courtesy of Making Gay History

Better known by her pen name, Lisa Ben (an anagram for lesbian), Eyde created the first lesbian magazine in the United States, titled Vice Versa. Readers submitted essays, short stories, poetry, etc. Her goal in publishing the magazine was to make "a medium through which we may express our thoughts, our emotions, our opinions -- as long as material was 'within the bounds of good taste.'" Later, she wrote for The Ladder, the first lesbian magazine that was nationally circulated.  She also pursued a musical career in which she was known for her gay parodies of popular songs.