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13 Baby Names Inspired By Notable Feminists Today

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Naming a baby is no easy feat, but it's an inevitable decision that parents have to make. If you're not one of the few who've had their future children's names picked out since they themselves were kids, choosing from the vast array of names out there can be overwhelming. Some parents opt to stick with a family name, others choose names with inspiring meanings, others still choose names from their childhood memories. But what about naming your child after a worthy movement or one of its leaders? There are plenty of baby names inspired by notable feminists of today that should definitely make your list, regardless of whether you're having a boy or a girl.

In today's age, where feminism is tossed around by pretty much everyone, it's more important than ever to raise children who are committed to treating girls and women equally, whether at home, school, or eventually, at work. As the mother of two daughters, I find it shocking that there even needs to be a debate on whether or not women should have equal rights. And though this piece isn't meant to spark controversy, I believe that instilling important beliefs in your child starts young — even from the moment you name them.

Choosing a name from a notable activist or celebrity you admire is the perfect way to introduce your child to a movement that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

1. Maya

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Though she passed away a few years ago, Maya Angelou still hasn't left the spotlight. Her writings were influential and her work as a civil rights activist truly changed the world. Her name means "water" in Hebrew.

2. Emma

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Emma Watson remains one of the most outspoken and inspiring feminists in Hollywood. Her name means "universal" and is a poetically perfect feminist name.

3. Patrick

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In his famous speech against domestic violence against women, using his own experience with his parents as fodder, Patrick Steward made a memorable impact. His name is Latin for "noble or patrician," and certainly is a fitting name for a tiny gentleman.

4. Malala

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A name that packs enough meaning and history for a lifetime, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani civil rights activist fighting for women's educational rights. She's also the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her name means "sad or grieved," which is hauntingly fitting for the inspiring work she has done.

5. Lena

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Girls founder, actress, and author Lena Dunham has been very outspoken in her support of women's rights and equal pay in the workforce. Her name is gorgeous and has multicultural roots making it a perfect choice.

6. Ezra

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Actor Ezra Miller not only has the perfect, unique name meaning "help," he is also an outspoken advocate against rape culture and domestic violence in his work with Democracy Now.

7. Sheryl

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Facebook COO and founder of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg is a well known activist for women. Her name means "darling," and should be brought back since it's not high on the baby name charts.

8. Ellen

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Another outspokenly feminist celebrity, Ellen Page thinks feminism shouldn't be a dirty word anymore as described her feelings in an interview with The Guardian, "feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don't disagree with it." Her name has definite vintage vibes and means "bright shining light."

9. Michelle

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Michelle Alexander is a notable author and civil rights lawyer who is best known for her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her name is the French variation of Michael and means "who is like God."

10. Joseph

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a self-proclaimed feminist whose name means "Jehovah increases."

11. Angelina

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Actress, humanitarian, and director Angelina Jolie topped the lists as the world's most admired woman, and for good reason. She is very outspoken about the need for equality, not at the expense of men, but "alongside and with them", she said in a speech at the African Union Summit last year. Her double mastectomy and struggle with breast cancer has also been a platform of inspiration for many. Her name is a classic, meaning "angel."

12. Olivia

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Her definition that feminism "simply means equality" during an interview with Huffington Post was a breath of fresh air in an oftentimes complicated discussion. Her name (which I have a particular bias towards, I'll admit) means "olive tree or peace."

13. John

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John Legend is frequently outspoken about equality and feminism, saying that "all men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights the world will be a better place." on stage at the 2013 Sound of Change. John means "God is gracious."