Women Making the Invisible Visible in the USA

This is our full list as of 30 March 2021.
Please see questions below and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you!

  1. Abby Wambach (1980-Present)
  2. Adrian Piper (1948-Present)
  3. Adrienne Lenker (1991-Present)
  4. Adrienne Maree Brown (1978-Present)
  5. Aesha Ash (1977-Present)
  6. Alejandra Pizarnik
  7. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (1989-Present):
  8. Alexis Pauline Gumbs (1982-Present)
  9. Amanda Gorman (1998-Present)
  10. Amy Goodman (1957-Present)
  11. Angela Davis (January 26, 1944-Present)
  12. Anita Hill (1956-Present)
  13. Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)
  14. Arudhati Roy (1961-Present)
  15. Audre Lorde (1934-1992)
  16. Aung San Suu Kyi (1945-Present)
  17. Aurora
  18. Ava DuVernay (1972-Present)
  19. Barbara Kruger
  20. Bell Hooks (1952-Present)
  21. Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007)
  22. Betsy Johnson (1942-Present)
  23. Betty Saar (1926-Present)
  24. Betye Saar (1926-Present)
  25. Beyoncé (1981-Present)
  26. Billie Jean King (1943-Present)
  27. Blaise Ford
  28. Brene Brown (1965-Present)
  29. Breonna Taylor (1993-2020)
  30. Cardi B (1992-Present)
  31. Carol Anderson (1959-Present)
  32. Carol Lebrie (1946-2016)
  33. Carrie Brownstein (1974-Present)
  34. Carrie Mae Weems (1953-Present)
  35. Charlene Carruthers (1985-Present)
  36. Chavela Varga (19919-2012)
  37. Cindy Sherman (1954-Present)
  38. Courtney Barnett (1987-Present)
  39. Deb Haaland (1960-Present)
  40. Deb Koffman
  41. Diana Taursasi (1982-Present)
  42. Dian Fossey (1932-1985)
  43. Dita Von Teese (1972-Present)
  44. Dolly Parton (1946-Present)
  45. Dr. Nancy Wexler (1945-Present)
  46. Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)
  47. Edith “Edie” Windsor (1929-2017)
  48. Elizabeth Acevedo (1991-Present)
  49. Elizabeth Warren (1949-Present)
  50. Ellen Degeneres (1958-Present)
  51. Ellen Stewart (1919-2011)
  52. Emma Watson (1990-Present)
  53. Eve Ensler (1953-Present)
  54. Faith Ringgold (1930-Present)
  55. Florynce Kennedy (1916-2000)
  56. Frances McDormand (1957-Present)
  57. Georgia O’Keefe (1887-1986)
  58. Gloria Steinem (1934-Present)
  59. Graciela Iturbide (1942-Present)
  60. Greta Thunberg (2003-Present)
  61. Hillary Clinton (1947-Present)
  62. Ijeoma Oluo (1980-Present)
  63. Ilhan Omar (1982-Present)
  64. Iris Apfel (1921-Present)
  65. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1962-Present)
  66. Jane Fonda (1937-Present)
  67. Jane Goodall (1934-Present)
  68. Janelle Monae
  69. Janet Yellen (1946-Present)
  70. Jenny Holzer (1950-Present)
  71. Jewel Thais-Williams (1939-Present)
  72. Jhené Aiko
  73. Joan Baez (1941-Present)
  74. Joni Mitchell (1943-Present)
  75. Judee Sill (1944-1979)
  76. Judy Chicago (1939-Present)
  77. Judy Dench (1934-Present)
  78. Judy Heumann (1947-Present)
  79. Julien Baker
  80. Kamala Harris (1964-present):
  81. Kara Walker (1969-Present)
  82. Katharine Meyer Graham (1917-2001)
  83. Kathleen Hanna (1968-Present)
  84. Kay Gardner (1941-2002)
  85. Kimberlé Crenshaw (1959-Present)
  86. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (couldnt find age)
  87. Lady Gaga (1986-Present)
  88. Lauryn Hill (1975-Present)
  89. Laverne Cox (1972-Present)
  90. Lizzo (1988-Present)
  91. Louise Bourgeois (1911-2020)
  92. Lynn Conway (1938-Present)
  93. Madonna (1958-Present)
  94. Malala Yousafzai (1997-Present)
  95. Margot Anand (1944-Present)
  96. Margot Price
  97. Marianne Williamson (1952-Present)
  98. Marina Abramovic (1946-Present)
  99. Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)
  100. Martina Navratilova (1956-Present)
  101. Mary Oliver (1935-2019)
  102. Maxine Waters (1938-Present)
  103. Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
  104. Maya Lin (1959-Present)
  105. Maya Moore (1987-Present)
  106. Megan Rapinoe (1985-Present)
  107. Megan Thee Stallion (1995-Present)
  108. Meryl Streep (1949-Present)
  109. Mia Hamm (1972-Present)
  110. Michelle Obama (1964-Present):
  111. Missy Elliott (1971-Present)
  112. Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
  113. Nancy Lopez (1957-Present
  114. Nancy Pelosi (194-Present)
  115. Nancy Spero (1926-2009)
  116. Naomi Klein (1970-Present)
  117. Nicki Minaj (1982-Present)
  118. Nikki Giovvanni (1943-Present)
  119. Niyyirah Waheed (Couldn’t find)
  120. Olivia Colman (1974-Present)
  121. Oprah Winfrey (1954-Present)
  122. Patricia Hill Collins
  123. Patti Smith (1946-Present)
  124. Phoebe Bridgers
  125. Pina Bausch (1940-2009)
  126. Poly Styrene (1957-2011)
  127. Princess Diana (1961-1997)
  128. Rachel Maddow (1973-Present)
  129. Red Fawn Fallis (unknown birth date)
  130. Regina Rene King (1971-Present)
  131. Renee Richards (1934-Present)
  132. Rihanna (1988-Present)
  133. Robin DiAngelo
  134. Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
  135. Rosi Braidotti (1954-Present)
  136. Rupi Kaur (1992-Present)
  137. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)
  138. Sally Ride (1951-2012)
  139. Sandra Day O’Connor
  140. Serena Williams (1981-Present)
  141. Sheryl Sandberg (1969-Present)
  142. Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)
  143. Shonda Rhimes
  144. Simone Biles (1997-Present)
  145. Sister Nancy (1962-Present)
  146. Stacey Abrams (1973-Present)
  147. Stella Young (1984-2016)
  148. Stephanie Wilson
  149. Stormé DeLarverie (1920-2014)
  150. Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002)
  151. Tarana Burke (1973-Present)
  152. Toni Cade Bombara (1939-1995)
  153. Toni Morrison (1931-2019)
  154. Vandana Shiva (1952-Present)
  155. Viola Davis (1965-Present)
  156. Whitney Houston (1963-2012)
  157. Whoopi Goldberg (1955-Present)
  158. Winona Laduke (1959-Present)
  159. Yayoi Kusama (1929-Present)
  160. Yoko Ono (1933-Present)
  161. Zaha Hadid (1950-2016)

Questions:

  1. When asked about iconic women (cultural/political/social change agents doing important work within the last 50 years), who are the first 5 women that come to mind? Who is missing from our list above?
  2. If we changed the definition of influential women to specifically refer to change-makers whose work has made the invisible visible, would your list from question #1 change? 
  3. Using the lens of in/visibility is there anyone missing from the list above?
  4. What is your opinion about the list we created? What are your thoughts?
  5. Because this project is looking at the women who have influenced culture, life and laws in the United States, this list aims to represent the diversity of our so-called “melting pot” and to include people from all different origins. US culture has idols that are worldwide and who influence the US greatly. How important is it to include or exclude international figures who have influenced culture in the US? What are your thoughts about cultural bias as it pertains to the list we made? 
  6. A lot of influential people are not as famous as others. How heavily should fame factor into who is on the list? Are the people who are recognized by more people in society inherently more important and/or more influential? Who are the invisible female leaders we are missing? 
  7. The women that are bold and underlined are women who are currently on our shortlist. What are some ideas about how we can narrow this list down to 52 people? Do you agree with the women who we have chosen to be highlighted? Who are the women who are not bolded on this list that should be?

. . . . .

For those who asked, here’s the list organized loosely into categories:

Politicians:

  • Alexandria
    Ocasio-Cortez
    (1989-Present)
  • Deb Haaland
  • Princess Diana
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Ilhan Omar
  • Janet Yellen
  • Kamala Harris
  • Maxine Waters
  • Michelle Obama
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Stacey Abrams
    Philosopher
  • Rosi Braidotti
    Poets/Writers
  • Adrienne Maree
    Brown
  • Alexis Pauline
    Gumbs
  • Amanda Gorman
  • Angela Davis
  • Arudhati Roy
  • Audre Lorde
  • Bell Hooks
  • Brene Brown
  • Carol Anderson
  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Eve Ensler
  • Ijeoma Oluo
  • Margot Anand
  • Mary Oliver
  • Maya Angelou
  • Nikki Giovvanni
  • Naomi Klein
  • Niyyirah Waheed
  • Rupi Kaur
  • Toni Cade Bombara
  • Toni Morrison
  • Winona Laduke
    Actors/Actresses
  • Emma Watson
  • Laverne Cox
  • Meryl Streep
  • Regina Rene King
  • Viola Davis
  • Whoopi Goldberg
    Producers
  • Ava DuVernay
  • Frances
    McDormand
  • Shonda Rhimes
    Activists:
  • Charlene
    Carruthers
  • Greta Thunberg
  • Judy Heumann
  • LaDonna Brave
    Bull Allard
  • Malala Yousafzai
  • Marianne
    Williamson
  • Marsha P.
    Johnson
  • Red Fawn Fallis
  • Rosa Parks
  • Sylvia Rivera
  • Tarana Burke
  • Vandana Shiva
    Comedians:
  • Ellen Degeneres
  • Hannah Gadsby
    Television Stars/Producers:
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Oprah Winfrey
    Musicians:
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Beyoncé
  • Cardi B
  • Chavela Varga
  • Dolly Parton
  • Joan Baez
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Kathleen Hanna
  • Kay Gardner
  • Lady Gaga
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Lizzo
  • Madonna
  • Megan Thee
    Stallion
  • Missy Elliott
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Patti Smith
  • Rihanna
  • Stormé DeLarverie
  • Whitney Houston
    EMT/Frontline worker
    during 2020 pandemic
  • Breonna Taylor
    Athletes
  • Abby Wambach
  • Billie Jean King
  • Diana Taursasi
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee
  • Martina Navratilova
  • Maya Moore
  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Mia Hamm
  • Nancy Lopez
  • Renee Richards
  • Serena Williams
  • Simone Biles
    Scientists/Technology
  • Dian Fossey
  • Edith “Edie”
    Windsor
  • Jane Goodall
  • Lynn Conway
  • Sally Ride
    Business
  • Sheryl Sandberg
    Lawyers
  • Anita Hill
  • Florynce Kennedy
  • Kimberlé
    Crenshaw
    Theatre Director
  • Ellen Stewart
    Visual Artists
  • Adrian Piper
  • Betye Saar
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Graciela Iturbide
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Kara Walker
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Nancy Spero
  • Yoko Ono
    Dancers:
  • Aesha Ash
  • Pina Bausch
    Nun and Missionary
  • Mother Teresa
    Academist
  • Patricia Hill Collins
    Models
  • Dita Von Teese
  • Jane Fonda
  • Carol Lebrie
    Journalists
  • Amy Goodman
  • Gloria Steinem
    Architects
  • Maya Lin
  • Zaha Hadid
    Fashion Designers
  • Betsy Johnson
  • Iris Apfel
    Publishers
  • Katharine Meyer
    Graham

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