Avenger of the Week | Leonora O'Reilly, Suffragist and Trade Union Organizer

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Today, on her birthday, we honor activist Leonora O’Reilly. Known as “the agitator”, O’Reilly became involved with the women’s rights movement at the young age of 16. Recognized by the Manhattan elite for her work, O’Reilly was mentored, educated, and eventually supported by them financially, enabling her to give up working in a factory in order to focus exclusively on labor organizing. Frequently referring to women workers as intelligent and ‘thinking women’, her efforts focused on empowerment rather than sympathy.

O’Reilly founded the local chapter of the United Garment Workers of America, and expanded her focus in 1909 by joining the recently founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), supporting African American rights.

Recognizing that women in factories were more than just machines, @GenderAvenger's Avenger of the Week Leonora O’Reilly made it her life’s work to ensure their voices counted. #genderavenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/avenger-of-the-week-leonora-oreilly