A celebration of inspiring women

9-11 March

This is a celebration of phenomenal women, compiled for Phenomenal People, part of Women of the World 2012.

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Emma Goldman was, by all accounts a fierce and formidable women. Lithuanian born, Goldman emigrated to the United States in 1885, where she quickly became known for her political activism, writing and speeches: she was a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. In an arena otherwise dominated by men, she played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century, and in 1906 founded the seminal anarchist journal Mother Earth. Goldman was imprisoned several times for ‘inciting to riot’ (you go girl!) and illegally distributing information about birth control (again, I’d be in jail right along side her on that one).

During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and derided by critics as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Most importantly to me, Goldman is famous for saying ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution’, for as she explained ‘I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to self determination, and to beautiful, radiant lives… Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.’

If in my life I can manage to hold true to my ideals and live my politics as well as Emma Goldman did hers, I will count all that I’ve been a success.

Watch a YouTube clip of Emma Goldman, the famous immigrant anarchist facilitator and organiser.

Emily is an award-winning documentary maker and producer. After her first broadcast commission; The Luckiest Nut in the World (C4, 2002), the Guardian asserted “Emily James is a genius… and will in time be revered as a television innovator.” Her feature debut, Just Do It - a tale of modern day outlaws, was screened in over 45 independent cinemas across the UK in Summer 2011.

Digital storyteller, dedicated to unlocking unheard voices and stories, such as foster children and carers, cancer patients and people with dementia.

Read about her work with StoryWorks, an organisation researching in the field of narrative and storytelling.

Actress, former model, and human rights activist.

Listen to Lumley appear as a castaway on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Swims around public baths in London and blogs about it.

Learn more about Landreth, and this project, on her witty blog.

Founder of a nonprofit organisation aimed at increasing women’s presence and power in media.

Read more about her work here  or in her book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, you can find excerpts here

Iconic feminist, academic, and writer.  Most renowned for her views on women, sex and human relations.

Listen to Greer as a castaway on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Author of the Saudiwoman’s blog - about Saudi society, culture, women and human rights.

Read more about her in this article which includes Al Nafjan in the Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Sex therapist, who ushered in a new age of franker talk about sex on radio and television.

Listen to Westheimer on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs here.