WOMEN
04/05/2016 10:17 am ET

6 Game-Changing Feminists On How The Movement Has Impacted Their Lives

These women have pushed the feminist conversation forward. Here's what it's done for them.
Just a few of our favorite feminists. 
Getty Images
Just a few of our favorite feminists. 

Feminist powerhouses transform the world around them into a more equality-friendly place. But what about how the movement has changed their lives? 

To celebrate feminism and the people pushing the conversation forward, The Huffington Post asked six influential feminists to explain how the gender equality movement has impacted them personally. From big names like Janet Mock and Marlo Thomas to newer faces such as Laci Green and Franchesca Ramsey, these women are bringing important feminist conversations to the forefront and making real change. 

We asked each woman how she first discovered feminism and how the movement has changed her life, both personally and professionally. Their answers are poignant, powerful and a welcomed reminder of the positive impact feminism can have on all of us.

Scroll below to read how the feminist movement changed these women's lives and, in turn, helped them change others' in the process. 

  • Janet Mock: TV Host, Author and Trans Women's Advocate
    "Feminism for me began in my grandma Shellie's kitchen in Dallas, Texas. <br><br>She, nor my aunts, described their conversat
    Getty Images/The Huffington Post
    "Feminism for me began in my grandma Shellie's kitchen in Dallas, Texas.

    She, nor my aunts, described their conversations about the ways gender and race and class impacted their everyday as 'feminism' but those conversations were pivotal to how I saw the world and myself in it.

    It was in my women's studies class as an undergrad where I was first introduced to Barbara Smith, bell hooks and Audre Lorde, whose words and works have emboldened me to live my life according to my own definitions and dreams.

    Feminism pushed me to take the deeply personal and always political quest to be liberated in my body as a young trans woman writer of color in spite of systems built without care for my own survival."
  • Marlo Thomas: Actress, Feminist Activist and Author of "Free To Be... You And Me"
    "I think in the beginning feminism was a personal awakening. <br><br>While first-wave feminism focused on things like voting
    Marlo Thomas
    "I think in the beginning feminism was a personal awakening.

    While first-wave feminism focused on things like voting and property rights, modern feminism was sparked in large part by Betty Freidan’s groundbreaking book, The Feminine Mystique, which shook a lot of women out of their slumber. And then came the game-changers -- like Gloria Steinem’s eye-opening chronicle of going under cover as a Playboy Bunny, and showing the pain of those young women; while other women wrote articles and books about the second-class status they felt in both their homes and at work. All of this unleashed women across the country to begin revealing to their friends and neighbors their feelings of deep dissatisfaction.

    Once women realized that this malaise was not personal to them, but in fact widespread, the movement was born. We knew then that we had to change the culture and the laws that had defined women as less than equal to men. Women on the Supreme Court. Women in Congress. Women as CEOs of major companies. Women in television news, more women than men graduating from college -- none of this would have been possible without the women’s movement.

    And most important, young girls today are raised with the expectation that they are undeniably entitled to all of the freedoms enjoyed by men -- that gender equality is not a privilege, but a right. We always talk about leaving the world a better place for our children. The feminist movement has done that."
  • Sophia Amoruso: Founder of Clothing Line Nasty Gal and Author of "#GirlBoss"
    "Feminism changed my life by giving a name to the thoughts and feelings I'd already had.&nbsp;<br><br>It educated me on diff
    Getty Images/The Huffington Post
    "Feminism changed my life by giving a name to the thoughts and feelings I'd already had. 

    It educated me on different perspectives, and made me feel okay for not fitting into the ideal that society projects onto girls and women."
  • Franchesca Ramsey: Video Blogger, Social Activist and Contributor on "The Nightly Show"
    "Feminism has helped me better express and stand up for myself and others.<br><br>I think many of today's feminists are worki
    Getty Images/The Huffington Post
    "Feminism has helped me better express and stand up for myself and others.

    I think many of today's feminists are working to be more intersectional and acknowledge that there are people from all walks of life who need feminism. I think a big part of that is due to social media and the ability for people to share their stories and expose more people to feminism."
  • Laci Green: Sex-Positive Video Blogger and Feminist Activist
    "When I was growing up, I started to notice some subtle (and not so subtle) differences in how girls were treated in society.
    Getty Images/The Huffington Post
    "When I was growing up, I started to notice some subtle (and not so subtle) differences in how girls were treated in society.  

    Me and my friends were crushed by the weight of body image pressures, being judged left and right for our sexuality, shamed for having a period, and being sent the message that were meant to be homemakers and wives, not leaders and innovators. I knew it was wrong, but I felt powerless to speak up.  

    When feminism came into the picture, I felt validated in my observations and it encouraged me to use my voice to speak up. By speaking up, I fell into my career as a YouTuber and have been able to work with thousands of other young women across the globe.

    Feminism is truly at the center of my journey through life."
  • Ilyse Hogue: President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
    "I didn&rsquo;t grow up embracing the term 'feminist.' <br><br>I was fortunate to grow up in a household that never even thou
    Getty Images/The Huffington Post
    "I didn’t grow up embracing the term 'feminist.'

    I was fortunate to grow up in a household that never even thought to place restrictions on what I could achieve because I was a girl. I did know growing up that I wanted to work for social justice and equality around the world.
    What I found as I made my way into the world of professional advocacy was that even among progressives, there were still often two sets of rules for women and men and that reality too often went unspoken.

    I came to the feminist movement realizing that we as a progressive movement, as a country, and as a world will never achieve what we need to achieve unless women are empowered to make our own life decisions. 

    My embrace of feminism has allowed me to to reach goals that I didn’t think possible. The feminist way of thinking, and the community that supports feminism, pushes me and others to think of new heights. It’s allowed me to re-imagine the future because it reminds me of all that is left to achieve."
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BEFORE YOU GO

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Most Feminist Moments For Women In 2015
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