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Resilience and Brilliance: Celebrating 3 Feminist Icons

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

The month of March brings warmer weather, melting snow and blossoming flowers, but most importantly the appreciation and empowerment of badass women

March is women’s history month: a time to recognize influential women, empower young girls and spark conversations surrounding the history of strong women who have paved the way for many generations and many more to come. 

Every March we are reminded of revolutionary women before us that have acted as catalysts for change and equality. 

In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a list of three fierce women who revolutionizedthe second wave of feminism in the late 60s and early 70s. They are the heroes of the Women’s Liberation Movement and personal inspirations to many. 

Shirley Chisholm

“I’m looking to no man walking this earth for approval of what I’m doing.” – Shirley Chisholm

Being an American Politicain and first Black Woman to be elected to the U.S Congress, Shirley Chisholm undoubtedly paved the path for women with aspirations to become leaders and successful politicians. Chisholm held office for seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was successful in advocating for women’s and minorities’ rights. 

Chisholm was a victim of discrimation asan African American woman navigating a field of white men. As a Democratic party nomination for president, she was restricted from participating in the primary debates, resulting in legal action. Following, Chisholmwas unfortunately only able to present one speech. Despite the barriers put up for her, she was nothing short of successful and remains an inspiration to women and people of color everywhere. 

In 1983, Chisholm retired from office and went on to co-found the National Political Congress of Black Women (NCBW), a nonprofit organization to help promote education, political progress and cultural development of black women. NCBW’s mission is to educate young African American women and girls, assist them in finding their voice and provide meaningful opportunities to connect with leaders and fellow women’s activists. 

Audre Lorde 

“You cannot, you cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.”  – Audre Lorde

Self described as  “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde was a feminst and civil rights activist who fought against sexism, racism, homophobia and discrimination of minority groups. 

Lorde was a strong believer of intersectionality and multi-dimensional views of identity. She believed that every part of an individual’s identity was important, and to underline only one part of oneself is to dismiss the rest of your identity and experiences. Lorde felt it unnecessary to categorize or fit into one of the many parts of her identity that are important. She believed that our differences should not divide us, but rather strengthen us and provide a reason to celebrate and accept one another. 

Lorde’s most influential and breathtaking pieces address issues she was passionate about. “Coal,” arguably one of her most well-known pieces, addresses her experiences as a Black lesbian woman. “Coal” later became the title poem to a collection of poetry published in 1979 which shows her acceptance and pride of her whole identity. 

Gloria Steinem 

‪”Don’t think about making women fit the world‬—‪think about making the world fit women.”‬ – Gloria Steinem

New York City political activist and feminist journalist Gloria Steinem was nationally recognized for her contributions towards the feminist movement in the U.S. during the late 1960s and early 70s. 

Steinem is a trailblazing leader and is considered to be one of the most influential leaders and spokespersons of the feminist movement. She has made groundbreaking contributions for many female empowerment causes. From cofounding the National Women’s Political Caucus, to speaking out about her experience with abortion, to founding the “Voters for Choice,” a pro-choice political action comittee, it is clear that Steinem has been a catalyst for change and promoting equality. 

One of Steinem’s most recognized pieces of work is her book “The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!”: a collection of radical thoughts and ideas regarding feminism and activism. She includes some of her most empowering quotes as well as including dialogue from other female role models including Michelle Obama and bell hooks. 

Elena is a freshman at SLU from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, majoring in Bioethics and Women and Gender Studies. She is a big fan of local coffee shops, dancing, playing with makeup, coloring, and discovering new music.