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How Women Have Protested Through History

Aug 18 2014 - 10:20am

Ladies, now's the time to get vocal about what you believe in. Women around the world are wielding signs, donning body paint, and marching in parades in support of women's rights and gender equality, against violence toward women, and to raise awareness for other important political and social causes. On the 19th Amendment's birthday, let's look back at the evolution of female protesters. From the French Revolution to the women's suffragist movement to civil rights, here are some memorable moments involving women around the world getting their protest on.

Source: Getty [1]

Women's March on Versailles, 1789

Women were integral in kick-starting the French Revolution with the Women's March on Versailles. On Oct. 5, 1789, Parisian women rioted over the high price and low quantity of bread in the marketplace. The protesting market women were then joined by revolutionaries for political reform, and together the mob besieged the royal palace at Versailles and made their demands of King Louis XVI.

Source: Wikimedia Commons [2]

Women's Suffrage in US, 1913

The modern movement for women's suffrage, or the right for women to vote and run for office, began in France in the 1780s, but it wasn't until World War I that the women's right to vote really became widespread. American women won the vote in 1920, and British women won equal voting rights in 1928. Here Mrs. Norman Whitehouse made a suffrage speech in 1913.

Source: Wikimedia Commons [3]

Women's Suffrage in US, 1913

British activist Emmeline Pankhurst sold her home and traveled throughout Britain and the United States giving speeches for the women's suffragist movement. Here she was in New York City in 1913.

Source: Wikimedia Commons [4]

Women's Suffrage in US, 1913

Women's suffragists took part in a National Suffrage Association demonstration in 1913.

Source: Wikimedia Commons [5]

Women's Suffrage in Russia, 1917

Protesters gathered in front of a banner that read "The right to vote to women" in 1917 in Petrograd during the revolution that led to the collapse of the czarist government.

Women's Suffrage in US, 1920

Suffragists Kenyon Hayden Rector, Mary Dubrow, and Alice Paul held a sign outside the 1920 Republican Convention in Chicago that says, "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her self. Susan B. Anthony, 1872."

Source: Wikimedia Commons [6]

Women For Chinese Troops, 1937

In 1937, Chinese women took up the cause of their military. Here, Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek, wife of China's generalissimo, presented a women's committee for aiding Chinese troops resisting the Japanese invasion.

South African Riots, 1959

South African women participated in a demonstration after people died during riots against the closing of underground distilleries in Durban in 1959.

Civil Rights in US, 1963

Policemen grabbed hold of 18-year-old Elizabeth Victoria Spencer, a city youth council delegate, during a segregation protest in 1963. Women were really at the root of the civil rights movement in the US, thanks to Rosa Parks and her fellow African-American women who boycotted segregated buses.

Poor People March in US, 1968

Singer Eartha Kitt took part in 1968's Poor People March in Washington DC to demand economic help for America's poorest communities.

Chicano Movement in US, 1975

A woman protested cuts in the Chicano Studios student program at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, CA. The Chicano Movement of the '60s encompassed rights and awareness of the Mexican-American community.

Equal Rights Advocates in US, 1981

Women attended the "Call to the Nation's Conscience" ERA rally in Washington DC during the NOW National Conference in 1981.

Equal Rights Advocates in US, 1981

Former First Lady Betty Ford and NOW President Eleanor Smeal attended the "Call to the Nation's Conscience" ERA rally in Washington DC during the NOW National Conference in 1981.

Equal Rights Advocates in US, 1981

Girls held banners supporting women's equality at the "Call to the Nation's Conscience" ERA rally in Washington DC during the NOW National Conference in 1981.

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, 1982

Members of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo human rights organization marched for their missing sons and daughters in Buenos Aires in 1982.

International Women's Day in Philippines, 1985

Around 2,000 Filipino women, students, teachers, businesswomen, and nuns protested during International Women's Day in 1985.

Pro-Choice Rally in US, 1991

Women protested at the National Organization for Women's pro-choice rally in 1991 in New York City. NOW was the first national organization to call for the legalization of abortion and for the repeal of all anti-abortion laws.

Pro-Choice Rally in US, 1991

Women took part in a NOW pro-choice rally in New York City.

PETA in US, 1993

Semi-naked PETA activists rode a float during a 1993 parade in New York.

Women's Rights in US, 1995

Activist Gloria Steinem marched during a women's rights rally in New York City protesting Pope John Paul II's conservative doctrine on sex and abortion issues.

Lesbian Pride Parade in US, 1995

Women took part in the Lesbian Pride Parade in New York City that commemorated the Stonewall riots of 1969.

Women's Action Coalition in US, 1995

Members of the Women's Action Coalition wore Nicole Brown Simpson masks to protest domestic abuse during the OJ Simpson murder trial in LA.

Violence Against Women in France, 1995

A woman carried an Algerian flag during a demonstration in Paris protesting the murder of Nabila Djahnine, the leader of the women's group Tighri Net Mettouth (Women's Cry).

International Women's Day in Pakistan, 2001

The Federal Minister for Women Development, Attiya Inayatullah, and the Federal Minister for Education, Zubaida Jalal, took part in a procession for International Women's Day in Islamabad.

International Women's Day in Mexico, 2004

Jane Fonda and Sally Field [7] took part in a march fighting violence against women in Ciudad Juarez, in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, where hundreds of women have been murdered or have gone missing.

Arab Spring Protests in Egypt, 2011

A woman held an Egyptian flag during a protest calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in London. This 2011 demonstration was one of the early sparks that ignited the Arab Spring protests, a movement that has forced out rulers across the region.

Femen in Italy, 2011

Topless protesters from the Ukrainian protest group Femen held signs during a demonstration in Rome that protested Silvio Berlusconi's sex scandal.

Occupy Wall Street in US, 2011

A girl took part in Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.

Arab Spring Protests in Libya, 2011

A Libyan woman made the V-sign for victory with the colors of Libya's new flag on her fingers as she took part in the Arab Spring movement.

Women to Drive Movement in Saudi Arabia, 2011

Inspired by the Arab Spring protests, a group of Saudi Arabian women started the Women to Drive campaign in 2011 to continue their battle to be allowed to drive on public roads in their country. The movement began in 1990, but it was revamped in June 2011 with around 70 women driving in defiance of the laws. Here topless Ukrainian Femen activists held signs that say, "Cars for women, camels for men!" and "Give me a way!" on behalf of Saudi Arabian women.

Violence Against Women in India, 2012

Women held a sign while they marched in Kolkata to protest against physical assaults and rape of women.

Abortion Rights in France, 2012

A woman held a banner during a "Droits des Femmes" demonstration for abortion rights in Bordeaux, southwestern France.

International Women's Day in Poland, 2012

Polish feminists held signs saying, "Enough exploitation, we quit!" during a march on International Women's Day in Warsaw.

International Women's Day in India, 2012

Muslim girl students held signs on International Women's Day in Srinagar, India, against the violence married women face for poor dowries.

Anti-Meat in Colombia, 2012

A nude activist did her best meat impression on Meatout Day in Cali, Valle del Cauca Department, Colombia.

Women's Health Care in US, 2012

Supporters of Planned Parenthood and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws protested in Washington DC against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's position on women's health care.

Anti-Violence Against Women in India, 2013

Girls took part in the One Billion Rising campaign for women's rights in Kolkata, India.

Anti-Domestic Violence in Brazil, 2013

Members of the Peasant Women Movement took part in a demonstration against violence against women in Brazil.

Human Rights Protest in Uruguay, 2013

A disguised woman protested in front of the Supreme Court of Justice in Montevideo after the Court's decision to declare unconstitutional a law of 2011 which considered imprescriptible the crimes committed during the last military dictatorship (1973-1984) in Uruguay.

Against the Killings of Kurdish Activists in Istanbul, 2013

Kurdish women chanted slogans as they protested in front of the French consulate in Istanbul against the killings of three female Kurdish activists in France.

Against Breast Cancer, 2013

Women threw bras in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris during an event called "Pink Bra Bazzar" by a French organization fighting against breast cancer.


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