Celebrating Women's History Month: Women Firsts
We're continuing our celebration of Women's History Month! And how better to celebrate women's history than by highlighting some incredible female "firsts" in U.S. history?
So many of the freedoms women currently enjoy in this country are thanks to courageous female leaders and their fearlessness in being the first of their gender to reach these groundbreaking milestones. These women remind us why it's so important to take risks in the face of adversity.
Their legacy? Empowering women to make their own informed choices about their careers, lifestyles, and families.
That's why controlling your reproductive health is so important. Having the rights and tools to decide whether, when, and with whom to have a family is what ensures that women can write their own destinies.
While this list is certainly not comprehensive, these female firsts are important moments in U.S. history and charge us with protecting and expanding the role of women in science, politics, and society:
- Althea Gibson became the first African-American and first female African-American tennis player to win a singles title in tennis at Wimbledon in 1957.
- Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981. As a justice, O'Connor was as a key swing vote in many important cases, including upholding Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She retired in 2006.
- Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1969.
- Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a presidential primary contest in 2008.
- Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet in 1932.
- Tammy Baldwin became the first openly lesbian woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
- Sally Ride became the first American and LGBT woman to enter outer space in 1983.
- Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007.
- Ella Fitzgerald became the first African-American woman to win a Grammy award in 1959.
- Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to U.S. Congress in 1916.
- Mazie Hirono became the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
- Madam C.J. Walker became first African-America female self-made millionaire in the early 1900s.
- Wilma Mankiller became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 1985.
- Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State in 1997.
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