Coming up with the perfect baby name is one of the hardest and most exciting parts of becoming a parent. Choosing a name is a big decision, and naming a child after someone is a huge honor. If you’re hoping to raise a budding feminist daughter, it’s a good idea to give her a head start right from the womb by giving her an awesome feminist name. There are so many radical, badass, inspiring feminists to name a girl after. Choosing a famous feminist name to bestow on the next generation is a great way to carry on women’s history and gives your kid someone cool to write their book reports on, too.
The perfect feminist name comes from someone who has a great story to tell, defied odds, and shattered roles that were placed on her. A worthy namesake is someone who challenged expectations, changed the status quo, and made the world a different place than the one they entered. If you’re looking for remarkable women to name your daughter after, here’s a pretty great list.
Grab your partner, family, or friends, and read up on each one of these incredible women. Whichever feminist name you choose, it’s a perfect way to introduce your new little feminist to the world.
Ever the activist, Alice Walker is one of the world’s most prolific writers. Her ability to identify with women of all races, creeds, and social economic standings is one to be admired. Naming your daughter after such a literary genius may inspire her to become a writer herself… or not. But either way, she’ll have a slew of great books to recommend to her friends.
The co-founder of Ms. and New York magazine, Gloria Steinem is a writer, activist, feminist organizer, and all around amazing role model for girls. In addition to her journalistic work, Steinem helped found the Women's Action Alliance, a national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children's education, and the National Women's Political Caucus, a group that works to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level. Talk about an ideal feminist namesake.
French playwright and political activist Olympe de Gouges often wrote about feminism and abolitionism. Ahead of her time, she wrote anti-slavery plays, as well as on the right to divorce and advocating for sex outside of marriage. Her writings led to her arrest and execution by the Jacobins in 1793. She was the ultimate badass.
Patsy Mink was the first Asian-American to run for president and author of the Women’s Educational Equity Act, as well as the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act (which has since been renamed the Patsy T. Mink Act). It’s thanks to Patsy that there’s any kind of protection against discrimination on college campuses, and what better way to honor her than by naming your daughter after her?
The first woman to fly in space, Valentina Tereshkova held various political offices as a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and is still regarded as a hero in post-Soviet Russia. She is proof that “ordinary” people can do extraordinary things — like give birth to rad little girls.
Known as the grand dame of science fiction, Octavia Butler was the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Genius Grant in 1995. She’s inspired a generation of sci fi writers, and her books could make great bedtime stories.
Ida B. Wells was a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, civil rights leader who refused to give up her seat on a train to a white man. She led anti-lynching crusades over the course of her journalism career when no one else was covering it, and became the full owner of the Chicago Crusader, the city’s first African-American newspaper. She was also active in women's rights and the women's suffrage movement, founding the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. She’s a true revolutionary who deserves to be remembered with a bunch of little Idas running around.
Rosie the Riveter represented the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, though she’s become an American cultural icon and symbolic for feminism in the years since. She’s iconic and easily recognizable, plus, she can do it. She can do anything, which is a great lesson to teach your daughter.
I don’t really think I need to say much more, do I? Beyonce is a superstar, world dominator, feminist essay penner, and amazing artist. She wakes up flawless, which is a great message for teaching your daughter that she’s perfect just the way she is.
Mad Max: Fury Road’s heroine inspired young girls everywhere when she appeared on the big screens this summer. She proves that disabilities don’t have to define a person, and despite only having one arm, she brings together a band of women to save an entire civilization. She rejects the patriarchal, oppressive society in the post-apocalyptic world that she lives in, and would make a really cool name for a really cool little feminist.
Joining NASA in 1987, Dr. Mae Jemison was the first woman of color to go into space. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form her own company to research how technology is applied to daily life. She holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities and is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. You can follow her on Twitter and she’s a literal genius, which might be a lot for your kid to live up to, but what are parents for, if not putting unrealistic expectations on our kids?
Voltairine de Cleyre was an American anarchist writer, feminist, and the coolest person that you’ve never heard of. She opposed the state, marriage, and religion’s domination over women’s sexuality and lives. In her 1895 lecture entitled Sex Slavery, de Cleyre condemned marriage laws that allow men to rape their wives without consequences. Plus, the name just sounds like she’s capable of beating up boys on the playground.
Sonia Sotomayor is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who deserves way more recognition than she gets. She is the first Latina to be appointed to the SCOTUS, and a first generation American. She’s a crusader for women’s rights and delivered an epic dissent when the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s affirmative action ban. She’s not internet famous like other SCOTUS members, but she is an inspiration in her own right.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the second female justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the first Jewish female justice. In the 1970s, she was a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU and is known for saying awesome things. When asked when there will be enough women on the SCOTUS, she replied, “When there are nine.” In her older age, she’s become a “notorious” internet sensation.