Luisa Moreno (1907-1992) was a Guatemalan social activist who emerged as a leader in the United States labour movement during the 1940s. She was responsible for a number of important activities, such as organizing and leading strikes, or writing pamphlets in both Spanish and English, working to improve the status and living conditions of Latino workers in the USA.

She worked as a seamstress in Spanish Harlem during the Great Depression, and organized her colleagues – mostly Latina women – into a garment workers’ union. Her efforts brought together many Hispanic unions with the purpose of improving their pay, life, and status in society. In 1939, she organized the first national Latino civil rights assembly, the Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española. She eventually gained enough notoriety and influence that she was deported in 1950.

This is my body which
is bred for you. Take, eat.

Is that
where you learned that to consume
is to revere?

And yet some of you bow your heads before
make your mouths chaste with wine
while my sisters walk through a sea of gluttons
that never parts, that grabs, cries out, takes huge bites
and snarls for more.

I would rather walk to the bottom of water than wait
for a single one of you to learn that none
of us belongs to you.

Wrap myself in muslin, cotton, silk,
tell even the air not to touch me:

In this world, only armor makes my body mine.
Only weapon holds the border.

But that will change.

Just wait.

Jessamy Klapper is a social worker in training who has worked with recently resettled refugees and survivors of intimate partner violence. She speaks English, Arabic, French, and song. She cannot remember the first time she experienced street harassment because it began in the home, not the street. What she can remember is the slow process of realizing that what was normal was not right.


“I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak.”

Rupi Kaur’s photo of a fully clothed woman lying in bed with a period stain on her clothes and sheets was deleted twice by Instagram. Instagram’s guidelines prohibit nudity, sexual acts and violence — none of which are shown in Kaur’s photo. 

The photo is one of many on her website, which show various situations that all women experience during their menstrual cycle — cramps, changing pads, spots of blood. Kaur’s project aims to take these image, which are natural to women, but taboo to society, and “make them "normal” again.“

Learn more about Kaur’s story here.


Wow: Watch This Woman Totally Shut Down A Catcaller

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Today is Women’s Equality Day, when we commemorate the 96th anniversary of the certification of the 19th amendment! 

Women’s suffrage has been a focus of our collections since our inception. One of our founders, Louise Noun, documented the women’s suffrage movement in Iowa from 1872 - 1920. You can read her book on the Iowa Digital Library, and learn more about women’s suffrage in Iowa by reading Iowa’s Suffrage Scrapbook.

No matter how you celebrate, have a fantastic Women’s Equality Day everyone! 

A 19th century photograph of Cornelia Sorabji, a woman of many firsts. Cornelia studied law at Somerville College, Oxford from 1889 to 1893 and was the first woman of any race to sit the English Civil Law exam. A Parsi Christian born in Bengal, she was refused a scholarship to study in England because she was a woman, despite graduating top of her class at Bombay University (where she was their first female graduate). As a result, her travel and education fees were paid for with help from her increasing number of supporters, including Florence Nightingale. After sitting the exam (but not graduating as this right was denied to women in England until the 1920s) she spent a year at a legal firm in London and became the first woman to read in the library at Lincoln’s Inn.

On her return to India she took up the cause of women in purdah, who were, in accordance with Hindu law, forbidden access to the male world outside of their family and thus also to legal representation. For the next 20 years Cornelia fought for their rights, those of orphan children, and her own right to not merely prepare cases but also to present them in court. In 1924, when women were officially able to practise law in India, Cornelia was recognised as the country’s first female barrister. Despite her now official standing, due to male prejudice, she never pleaded a case in an Indian courtroom and later retired to England.