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11 women's rights activists you should know

For Women's History Month, msnbc interviewed 11 women's rights activists who are fighting for the women's issues of 2015. Learn more about them here.
Wagatwe Wanjuki speaks about being a campus sexual assault survivor with Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and fellow survivors Annie Clark and Tre'Shonda Sheffey during a news conference at the US Capitol, July 30, 2014. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Wagatwe Wanjuki speaks about being a campus sexual assault survivor with Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and fellow survivors Annie Clark and Tre'Shonda Sheffey during a news conference at the US Capitol, July 30, 2014.

In celebration of Women's History Month, profiled 11 different women leaders in the month of March who are fighting for women's rights issues, including getting more women in technology, as well as achieving gender parity in business, women's healthcare and human rights, equal pay, and beyond.

We also asked each leader what their hope is for the next generation of women. Here's a roundup of their answers. 

Gloria Feldt, Founder and President, Take the Lead

“The next generation can be the one that takes leadership parity to the finish line. I hope they know their choices are not just about them — that what each of us does enhances or limits opportunities for the next woman. I hope they know they have so much power in their hands to lead their own dreams forward, but that power unused is power useless. I hope they use power tool number one: Know your history and you can create the future of your choice.”

Mallika Saada Saar, director of Human Rights Project For Girls

“I hope for women and girls of the next generation that we have a world in which our lives are not disposable, that we are not by virtue of being a woman or girl, denigrated, abused, assaulted, or rendered property. I hope for, and work towards, a world for the next generation in which every girl and woman is valued, and can live out her full potential free from violence.”

Wagatwe Wanjuki, campus sexual assault activist

“I hope that women of the next generation will be able to attend school under the leadership of administrators who won’t see sexual assault as a public relations issue, but rather a safety issue they can address. And I really hope that survivors of all identities of color, queer, low-income, with disabilities, trans, gender nonconforming, from community college, in relationships, etc. — will find it easier have their stories heard.”

Shannon Turner, founder of Hear Me Code, an organization offering all-female coding classes

“I hope that the next generation of women leaders continue to extend the ladder once they’ve climbed up. I hope that change continues because as far as we’ve come, we still have so far to go especially when it comes to equal pay and equal treatment in the workplace.”

Sera Bonds, founder of Circle of Health International, a women's healthcare NGO

“Don’t be afraid. Period. Don’t be afraid of success, of failure, of rejection, of joy. Just do what needs doing, according to the values that you hold dear. Laugh too much, and love, love, love.”

Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, founder of Akilah Institute, the first women’s college in Rwanda

“My hope is that the next generation of young women in East Africa have the same opportunities as young men so that they can play a part in creating jobs, building businesses, and alleviating poverty in their communities.”

Ruth Ann Harnisch, founder of The Harnisch Foundation

“I hope the next generation will see every person as worthy of dignity and respectful treatment. My hope is for a world in which everyone’s contributions are valued, in which individuals are free to fulfill their potential and are supported in their choices. I hope fairness is built into systems as solidly as inequity is now. I hope the next generation of women lives in a world in which they are welcome and equal.”

Eileen Carey and Lauren Mosenthal, co-founders of Glassbreakers

“We hope the next generation of women makes up 50% of the C-suite.”

Vivien Labaton and Tracy Sturdivant, co-founders of Make It Work Campaign

Vivien: “As the mother of a young son and a daughter, my hopes are really for the next generation of women and men. I don’t want my children’s success to be dictated by their gender. I don’t want either of my kids to feel pressured by limiting gender norms about work or care giving. I want my daughter to be able to pursue her professional ambitions unencumbered by outdated expectations, and I want my son to be supported to be an engaged parent and caregiver — in part because I want him to be able to help take care of me when I get old. Honestly, I just want them both to be able to pursue their dreams and have the ability to support families of their own one day if that’s what they choose to do. One of the best ways to ensure that is to keep working to advance common sense policies that have the potential to transform economic realities for families.”

Tracy: “My hope is that the next generation doesn’t have to limit their dreams of who they want to be in the world because we don’t have systems in place that allow them to be their best selves. Whether that’s being valued in the workplace or valued at home, women are the backbones of families and we need supports in place that allow us to show up in the workplace and pursue success and happiness. My hope is that the next generation won’t have to make some of the difficult choices between showing up for work and showing up for a loved one in need that some of us have had to make. It’s our job to show the next generation that we value women.”