I have a major girl crush on Alice Paul.
Raised as a Quaker in New Jersey, instilled with ideals of gender equality and social activism, Paul became involved with the militant feminist movement in England, and was imprisoned several times during her work with them, enduring force-feeding when she and her fellow prisoners went on hunger strike. After her return to the States, she joined the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. However, her disagreement with the NAWSA president over political strategy eventually led her to form the National Woman’s Party. When the NWP continued their picketing of the White House after the United States entered WWI in 1917 (an act which many saw as unpatriotic), they were attacked by angry mobs and eventually imprisoned. Following the tactics of the English suffragettes, Paul led a hunger strike, which resulted in brutal beatings, force-feeding, and an attempt on the part of the prison officials to have her declared insane. When the media got hold of this story, it generated a wave of support for the suffrage movement, and President Wilson responded to public pressure by reversing his position and declaring his support for a suffrage amendment. The House and the Senate the 19th Amendment, and it was ratified in 1920. Paul, however, did not rest on her laurels, but dedicated her life to working for the Equal Rights Amendment, which was eventually passed in 1972, but fell three states short of ratification. She also worked for women’s rights on an international level, founding the World Woman’s Party.
She is a super-hero of feminism, and my inspiration.