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Feminist Baby Names Empower Girls and Boys

Feminist Baby Names Empower Girls and Boys

Feminist baby names reflect the values of feminism: equality, justice, and strong independent women.

If you’re looking for a name for your little feminist, whatever their gender, there are options to suit every style. From ancient goddesses to modern virtues, iconic classics to clever new inventions, get inspired with names that will smash that glass ceiling.

Feminist Symbol Names

These names are inspired by the values and symbols of feminism, and are full of fierce female energy.

Virtue names like Justice, Truth, Verity, Bravery, and Liberty.

Names connected to hammers (a symbol of feminism), such as Smith, Thor and Maccabee.

Names meaning purple: one of the Suffragettes’ colors, and now the color of International Women’s Day. There’s an abundance of girl names — Violet, Lavender, Amethyst — but also a few for boys, like Indigo and Porfirio.

Names meaning (up)rising, such as Arrow, Lark, Phoenix, Rebel, Asani, Zerah, and March (which, as well as a peaceful protest, is also the month of International Women’s Day).

Goddess names channel divine feminine power: popular choices include Freya, Phoebe, Maia, and Juno. There are also male names derived from goddesses, like Artem, Dimitri, and Isidore.

“Bad girl” names: once disreputable or even taboo, biblical “bad girls” like Lilith and Delilah have been reclaimed as strong, independent women, and are climbing the charts accordingly (and for their fashionable sounds).

Famous Feminist Names

If you’re thinking of naming a child (of any gender) after a strong, empowered woman, well, there are plenty to choose from. Here’s a sampling of women who not only are feminist icons, but also have particularly stylish first names and/or surnames. Who would you add?

Politics: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ida B. Wells, Kamala Harris, Kate Shepperd, Nancy Astor, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony

Writers: Audre Lorde, George Eliot, Helen Keller, Jane Austen, Maya Angelou, Virginia Woolf

Artists/performers: Adele, Alicia Alonso, Frida Kahlo, Isadora Duncan, Joan Jett, Lorna Simpson, Louise Bourgeois

Scientists: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Jane Goodall, Mae C. Jemison, Rachel Carson, Rosalind Franklin, Sally Ride, Tiera Fletcher, Vera Rubin

Masculinized Names

Many girl names are feminizations of male ones, but you could tip the patriarchy on its head by using a masculine version (whether traditional or recently-invented) of a female name.

Bonus points if it's inspired by a strong, fierce woman. For example…

August (Augusta Ada King, aka mathematician Ada Lovelace)

Billy (Billie Jean King, tennis player)

Grayson (Grace Hopper, computer scientist)

Elio (Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Fitzgerald)

Emile or Emilian (Emmeline Pankhurst,Amelia Earhart, Emily Dickinson, Emily Wilding Davison...)

Florent (Florence Nightingale, nursing pioneer)

Harry or Henry (Harriet Tubman, abolitionist)

German (Germaine Greer, writer)

Marius (Marie Curie, Nobel Prize-winning scientist)

Michael or Michel (Michelle Obama)

Ninian (Nina Simone, singer)

Simon (Simone de Beauvoir, writer and philosopher)

Valentin (Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space)

Feminine Surnames

Hundreds of surname names derive from male names — Jackson and Harris, for instance — but there’s also a special group that come from female names and occupations. They could honor special women, or maybe you just love them for their style. Here are some of our favorites (and there are more in this list at British Baby Names).

Ames (from Amice)

Anson (from Anne)

Baxter (a female baker)

Brewster (a female brewer)

Ellery (from Eulalia or Hilaria)

Emmett (from Emma)

Madison (from Matilda)

Mariott (from Mary)

Sealey (originally a feminine name)

Webster (a female weaver)

Wilmot (originally a feminine form of William)

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or Scoop.it, or reach her at clare@nameberry.com