Influential women in the vegan movement

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Today, on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day – a day which gives recognition to women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Here we will acknowledge powerful females who have helped to support the vegan movement and further a common interest for a compassionate and sustainable future, in no particular order.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis is best known for her human rights campaigning since the 1960’s. In 2009 she announced that she was vegan and more recently her lecture at the University of Cape Town in South Africa caught attention. She spoke of human and animal rights, saying “how can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings, but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet?”.

Sally Shrigley

Sally Shrigley (top row, third from the right) and other founders attended the 1947 World Vegetarian Congress in Stonehouse, England.

Elsie “Sally” Shrigley co-founded The Vegan Society in 1944 with Donald Watson and four others. As she said, it was “a Sunday, with sunshine and a blue sky – an auspicious day for the birth of an idealistic movement”. This was the year the word ‘vegan’ was coined to describe a group of non-dairy vegetarians who do not eat eggs. The word ‘vegan’ uses the beginning and end of the word ‘vegetarian’, representative of vegan roots growing from vegetarianism.

Dr Melanie Joy

Melanie Joy, PHD, is most noted for her work on Beyond Carnism and her highly recognized title, “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism”. She is also known for her pragmatic approach to activism with her first title “Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation”, which seeks to help vegans build a strategy around activism and avoid pitfalls. Her recent contribution, “Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters”, aims to bridge communication barriers between vegans and non-vegans.

Fiona Oakes

Fiona Oakes has been vegan since the age of 6, despite losing her kneecap as a teenager she has held world records for marathon running. Fiona runs Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, rescuing many animals from the food industry. She is also an ambassador of The Vegan Society.

Genesis Butler

Genesis Butler. Image credit: Livekindly

Genesis went vegan at the age of six and became a passionate activist, she became the youngest TEXx speaker at age 10. Now at the age of 12, alongside her charity Genesis for Animals, she is also a representative for global vegan charity Million Dollar Vegan.

Aph Co

As a decolonial throrist and digital media producer, Aph Co has also co-written “Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters” which provides advocacy for nonhuman animals, and feminism using theoretical frameworks. She has also given a platform and a voice to the black vegan community via Black Vegans Rock.

Heather Mills

Heather Mills is the owner of successful vegan brand V Bites Foods which are Trademarked by The Vegan Society. As well as being an entrepreneur she is also an investor in plant-based foods, including a recent investment in popular pizza brand One Planet Pizza who also hold the Trademark. She is also a vegan campaigner and a passionate advocate for animal rights.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim is most famous for her roles as Blossom in the 90’s TV series and as Amy in the Big Bang Theory – a very fitting role for someone who completed her doctorate in neuroscience in 2007. She has worked with PETA on their Trash Meat Go Vegan campaign and today she shares her passion for veganism and being a vegan mum via her YouTube channel.

Tammy Fry

Tammy is the eldest daughter of the Fry family, most recognized as The Fry Family Food Company, a popular range of vegan food products that are Trademarked by The Vegan Society. As well as being an international marketing director she is also a passionate animal advocate and a 5th Black belt for Karate. Tammy does all of this whilst writing her own blog, attending events for public speaking and is a mother of two boys.

Monami Frost

Monami Frost at Frost Burgers. Image credit: Livekindly

Monami Frost is most known for her online presence where she uploads regularly to her YouTube channel. She uses her platform to promote a positive vegan message and share her life with her vegan family. On World Vegan Day in 2018 Monami opened a street food restaurant, Frost Burgers. Since opening, the demand for Frost Burgers has been much higher than anticipated which has led to shortages of menu items – adding to the recent trend of popular sold out vegan options.

This is not exhaustive list, to include all inspiring and notable women in the vegan movement would make this an incredibly long post! Please leave a comment and share the women who have inspired you and why.

By Jennifer Jones

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