Jeannette Pickering Rankin was an American pacifist, suffragist and human rights advocate who lived in the early 20th Century. During her life, Rankin fought for women’s right to vote and she was hired as an organizer by the New York Women’s Suffrage Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In 1917 she became the first female member of Congress elected to the House of Representatives. That year she voted against entering WWI, earning her immediate vilification by the press.
In 1940, Rankin was re-elected to Congress, this time on an anti-war platform. She voted against entering WWII, being the only member of Congress to do so. At this point, her political ideas were not listened to, but her commitment with peace did not end there: From 1947 to 1971 she traveled to India seven times to study the non-violent civil disobedience methods of Mahatma Gandhi. She opposed the Korean War and the U.S. military action in the Vietnam War, and she also led and participated in anti war marches in Washington D.C., Georgia and South Carolina.