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FROM DUSK TO DAWN — Five Powerful Women Who Made this World a Better Place to Live In

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

History is the best evidence to show that women had been long subdued by the male chauvinist society. In fact, as we all know, even today in many parts of the world, women are not recognized as equal to men. However, despite such hurdles, many women social reformers came forward and overcame the social hindrances to make this world a better and safe place for others. 

Here are a few of those women who took it upon themselves to carve the world as we see it today:

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a renowned abolitionist and political activist who became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the American Civil War. She was born into a family which was tied up in the bonds of slavery. However, even after being subjected to physical assault at a very young age, she did not lose hope, and with utmost bravery and determination, not only did she free herself from bonded slavery but also helped others do the same.

Florence Nightingale

The “Iron Lady” as she is widely known, Florence Nightingale was the force behind the nurses of the Crimean War. However, what most of us didn’t know is that she volunteered to care for the wounded Crimean War soldiers, and also, later in life, she worked to bring reforms regarding the hygiene problems of Army hospitals. She established The Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at St. Thomas Hospital and played an important role in the establishment of a Sanitary Department in India during the revolt of 1857.

Josephine Butler

The founder of the International Abolitionist Federation in Geneva, Josephine Butler, was a renowned Victorian-era feminist and social reformer. She rescued many women prostitutes from traffickers and her women’s campaigns finally resulted in the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts (C.D. Acts) of the 1860s which allowed any police officer to arrest prostitutes and then subject them to compulsory physical checks for venereal diseases. If found positive, under these acts, the women were confined to a hospital for several months. However, there were no such laws to regulate male prostitutes.

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule was a powerful social reformer who worked towards the betterment of women and children. She aimed at preventing female infanticide and fought against the “Sati Pratha” wherein women were burned alive on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands. Being illiterate until marriage, she dedicated her life to educating women and lower-caste people in British India. Together with her husband, she opened many schools in her lifetime.

Rose Schneiderman

Born into an orthodox Jewish family of Poland, Rose Schneiderman was an active trade unionist of the early 20th century. She was the first female president of the New York Women’s Trade Union League (NYWTUL), and contributed to the 1909 garment workers’ strike, often called the Uprising of 20,000. In the 1920s, Schneiderman worked at the State Level in New York to enact labor laws to protect workers, especially women.

These are just five women among hundred others who had dedicated their lives towards serving society. Powerful women who are determined in their thoughts and stern in their actions have brought grace to society for a very long period and continue to do so to this day.

Ipshita Kashyap

Delhi North '24

I am a happy-go-lucky person who loves to make friends and interact with people from all over the world. I binge watch a lot and sometimes try my hand in learning new languages as well.