Born Bella Savitzky on July 24, 1920, in New York, New York, bold and outspoken, Bella Abzug was a leading liberal activist and politician in the 1960s and 1970s, especially known for her work for women’s rights. She knew from experience the challenges women faced professionally and politically. Abzug had applied to the Harvard Law School, but she was rejected because of her gender.
After graduating from Columbia University’s law school, Bella Abzug worked as a lawyer for a number of years. In the 1960s, she became involved the antinuclear and peace movements. Abzug helped organize the Women Strike for Peace in 1961. To promote women’s issues and to lobby for reform, she helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus with leading feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.To have a greater impact on the political process, Bella Abzug ran for Congress, winning a seat in the House of Representatives. After taking office in 1971, she fought for women’s rights and objected to the war in Vietnam.
After winning re-election twice, Abzug left office in 1977. She made a bid for mayor of New York City, but lost to Ed Koch in the primaries. Abzug continued to work on many causes in the 1980s and 1990s and established the Women’s Environmental Development Organization.
Known for her big hats and an even bigger voice, Bella Abzug left her mark on U.S. politics as a women’s rights champion and determined antiwar activist. She died on March 31, 1998, in New York City, from complications following heart surgery. She was married to Martin Abzug from 1944 until his death; the couple had two daughters.
Biography courtesy of BIO.com