Seven American Women Who Have Shaped History (Slideshow)

March 8 is celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day, a day to highlight women’s achievements throughout history. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

In honor of this day, here are seven American women who have shaped history. I’m sure you’ll have many more suggestions, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jim Surkamp

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Harriet Ross, 1820 – 1913) was an African-American abolitionist and humanitarian during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery, she made 13 missions to rescue more than 70 slaves.

Photo Credit: cliff1066tm

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 – 1902) joined the causes of temperance and abolition as a young woman, and this led to her pursuit of equal rights. She held a Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, to address the inequalities faced by women and wrote the opening statement which called for equal rights.

Photo Credit: forwardstl

Mary Harris Jones, or “Mother Jones,” (c. 1830 – 1930), became a nationally prominent figure known for her efforts to improve working conditions for coal miners. She also led the “children’s crusade” to highlight the need to end child labor.

Photo Credit: HistoryByDay

Jane Addams (1860 – 1935) spent much of her life helping the poor and was the founder of Hull House in Chicago, one of the first community centers of its kind in America. In 1931, she became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Photo Credit: socalmom

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 – 1977) was the granddaughter of a slave and the youngest of 20 children. Although born into a family of sharecroppers, she became a leading figure in women’s suffrage.

Photo Credit: womenscampaignforum

Gloria Steinem (born 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist, who became nationally recognized as a leader of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s, and for founding Ms. Magazine. And she’s still amazing!

Photo Credit: Europa Press

Oprah Winfrey (born 1954) is a former pageant winner who began her rise to fame as a local television anchor in Nashville, Tennessee. In the mid-eighties, she became the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which quickly became a nationwide phenomenon.


Photo credit for flowers: Greg B's Florals


Janet B.
Janet Babout a year ago


Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson4 years ago

Firsts by African American Women! :)

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

I don't agree wtih Oprah being on the list. What about Rosa Parks?

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

Noted with interest....

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

Thank you to all those wonderful women who helped shape our world and the place we women take in the society of today.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez5 years ago


Kenneth S.
Kenneth S.5 years ago

My wife and two children and I live in the state of Illinois. Our current health insurance plan is a Choice Plan that is provided by "Penny Health" . The plan itself is a consumer driven health care plan.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley5 years ago

Definitely not Oprah Winfrey!!!
There are many women, black and white, who should have been on the list, but the list can only be so long!
Overall, it's a good list, with the exception of Oprah Winfrey.

Lydia Price

The greatest women in my life have been my mother and daughters. What they lack in fame they more than compensate for by changing the world one person at a time by practicing love, compassion and acceptance. Always the champions of the underdog, these women have inspired me in my own life and changed the course of my personal history. The world is filled with unsung heroes, and these are mine.