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    Women in History to be Thankful For

    Women in History to be Thankful For

    by Sarah Vice, intern for GirlSpring

    I am thankful for women’s rights and for the women who stood up and spoke out in favor of those rights. You always hear people saying to give thanks for the veterans that defend our freedom, which I am thankful. I am eternally grateful to all people who stand up and fight for me. But this does not stop at war veterans. This includes the women in history and today who put their lives or livelihoods at risk just so that we can have equal rights.

    I wouldn’t be able to write this post if it were not for a long list of women who fought for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, women’s rights, and a strong sense of leadership. Some honorable mentions are below.

    Susan B. Anthony

    Some of these names might be familiar to you. That’s good. We can start with the earliest member of the list, Susan B. Anthony. Recently, the midterm elections led a flock of people to leave their “voting” stickers on her memorial stone.

    By the age of 17, Anthony was already involved with pushing anti-slavery petitions. She was young, but she knew what was right versus what was wrong. In 1863, she had nearly 400,000 people sign a petition to abolish slavery. In 1866, Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton created the American Equal Rights Association, which boasted freedom for both women and people of color. At the age of 46, Anthony began a newspaper in support of women’s rights.

    In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting. Can you imagine the bravery it would take to risk remaining in jail the rest of your days so that you could have a single vote in an election? But that’s not all it was. It was not just a single vote. It was a vote for womankind and the demand for the right to have a voice. Because of her bravery, I received the right to vote from the legal age of 18. This is one reason why I vote. Because it was not a given, it was a battle to have that right.

    Harriet Tubman

    The next woman on the list that I am thankful for is Harriet Tubman. This woman was abused from a young age. She legally belonged to someone. If that sentence doesn’t break your heart and enrage you, then you do not deserve her bravery. Tubman broke free of her chains, and instead of moving on with her newfound freedom, she chose to keep coming back for those she loved and eventually other slaves. She didn’t find the time to pity herself. She was so busy saving as many people as she could through the Underground Railroad.

    Once the Civil War began, Tubman served as a spy for the United States Army. In doing so, I am sure countless lives were spared and brought free from their bonds. Her courage goes on into fighting for women’s rights. In response to the question of why women should be given the right to vote, Tubman exclaimed that her suffering gave her the right to it. She continued her life in support of women’s activist groups and the suffragist movement.

    Clara Barton

    The list continues to pattern women of strength and courage. Clara Barton was none too shy of showing the world what women are capable of. She brought the American Red Cross to America in 1864. After years of military nursing experience, it was time for Clara to begin heading a major organization that would later become the largest disaster relief in Northern America. Even now, the name is probably familiar with recent catastrophes or blood drives.

    Though Barton’s take on the American Red Cross was dismissed by the belief that her humanitarian efforts would drag the organization down—by a male-dominated board—she resumed trying to memorialize the brave women from the war. She would later create a new foundation that would aid in local relief. It was called the National First Aid Society.

    These three women are part of a long list of independent thinkers who found a way to give us a better present and future. The list will continue to grow as young girls like yourselves are inspired by the work of others. If something seems hard now, just consider what the reward will be for those who come after you. Be selfless and selfish all the same.

    So this holiday, as you are passing the turkey around and drooling over that sweet potato pie, remember to give thanks to those who have made improvements in your life and the lives of others.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Articles, Health, Sheroes, Woman's History

    Important Women in the Field of Mental Health

    May has just ended, and is mental health awareness month, which is why I want to celebrate the achievements of some of the many women who have made significant advancements in the field of mental health. Before we can get into that, here are some important mental health resources:

    Free online counseling: https://www.betterhelp.com/
    Birmingham Crisis Center Teen Hotline (call or text the following number): 205 328 5465

    Here are some of the most important ladies that have made some lasting impressions on the field of mental health.

    Dorothea Dix (1802-1887)
    Dix was an important activist on behalf of the mentally ill in the US. She helped establish the first generation of American mental asylums through a rigorous process of lobbying. Additionally, she helped change people’s perception of the mentally ill as being more human than animal in the US and in Europe.

    Eve Johnstone (1943- present)
    Johnstone has contributed a hefty amount of research to the clinical study of schizophrenia. She is most famous for her 1973 study that shows the differences in the brains of schizophrenic patients vs the control group. Additionally, she has written a total of 6 books on the topic of schizophrenia.

    Melanie Klein (1882-1960)
    Klein was a psychoanalyst that contributed knowledge and techniques that influenced child psychology and therapy. She thought that children’s play was their primary way of emotional communication, and attempted to decipher the specific meaning of child’s play.

    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004)
    Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in near death studies. Near death studies is a field of psychology and psychiatry that studies the after effects of near death experiences on individuals. She innovated the 5 stages of grief, which is known as the Kubler-Ross model. Her book On Death and Dying came out in 1969, and was groundbreaking for the time period.

    Sula Wolff (1924-2009)
    Wolff worked as a child psychiatrist in Britain with children who were mostly socially withdrawn and reclusive. She is the author of 2 different books on the topic of child psychology. Additionally, she was the first person to receive a grant from the Medical Research Council Grant to study child psychiatry. Her work emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

    Wolff also understood and pushed the importance of talking to and addressing children in a non stigmatizing way. In the end, her work became used as the basis for a lot of research being done today on Aspergers and autism.

    sources:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Dix
    https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/dorothea-lynde-dix
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalysis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Johnstone
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Klein
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_K%C3%BCbler-Ross
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sula_Wolff
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_studies
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/famous-psychologists/sula-wolff.html

  • GirlSpring.com, TRENDING, Woman's History

    Get to Know the Women from the 2018 Midterm Elections Who Made History

    Jeannette Rankin began breaking ground in 1917 as the first woman in history in the House of Representatives. She was also one of the key people in pushing the 19th Congressional Amendment, which allowed women to have equal voting rights. Now, thanks to her bravery and devotion to women’s rights, we have a record-breaking number of women recently elected to Congress.

     

     

    On November 6th, 2018, a remarkable number of women were elected to Congress, making the overall number of women representing the House more than 100. It doesn’t stop there, either. The 2018 midterm elections were followed by several firsts.

    Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Tlaib will be America’s first Palestinian-American congresswoman, and Omar will be the first Somali-American congresswoman. Rashida Tlaib is a lawyer and a politician. She previously served a full term as a Democratic member of Michigan’s House of Representatives.  She won the recent election with over 136,000 votes uncontested. She is a single mother of two sons. She once was removed from a venue where President Trump was being honored with an official Purple Heart. She claimed that he had not earned it. She stood her ground and was escorted respectfully.

    Ilhan Omar was the first non-white woman elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives and is the first Muslin refugee to be elected. Omar won the election with more than 267,000 votes. Omar was once a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota and was nominated as a rising star in the Party’s Women’s Hall of Fame. She also lives happily with her husband and three children. She spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya in the early ‘90’s after the start of the war. After immigrating to the states in 1995, Omar was able to learn the English language in less than three months. She graduated with a degree in political science and international studies from the University of North Dakota in 2011.

    Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Native American congresswomen. Davids is not only a member of the Native American Ho-Chunk nation, making congressional history, but she is also the first publicly declared lesbian in Congress and a former professional MMA fighter. Davids is a strong young woman who chose to leave MMA fighting in 2013 to follow her democratic political dreams in representing Kansas in Congress. She received her Juris Doctor—degree in Indian law—from Cornell Law School in 2009. She won over 164,000 votes in the midterm election.

    Deb Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo people from New Mexico. She received a bachelors in English and continued onto graduate school to claim her Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico Law School. Haaland is a single mother who enjoys running marathons and gourmet cooking.

    Marsha Blackburn is Tennessee’s first woman elected to Senate. Blackburn brandishes herself as a conservative Republican. She has been a member of Tennessee’s Senate, and a U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 7th congressional district. She is a strong supporter of “traditional marriage,” pro-life, and non-government-controlled healthcare. She is a former member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and is married with two children.

    Janet Mills is elected Maine’s first female governor. She ran as part of the democratic party and earned 318,000 votes in the election, winning by nearly 7%. She was an assistant attorney general and then the district attorney for three counties in Maine. She was the first woman elected to be Maine’s district attorney. She is the widowed mother of five stepdaughters and has three grandsons.

    Ayanna Pressley is the first black person elected into Massachusetts’s House of Representatives. She is the first female black women elected to Congress. Pressley was raised by her mother who worked incredibly hard to give her a better life. Pressley was a cheerleader in high school and did some voice-over work for Planned Parenthood advertisements. She supports the “take a knee” movement that gives recognition of the U.S.’s need for equality. Pressley is also a survivor of sexual crimes in which she fights against for herself and other young women. She believes that the states should defund the Immigration and Customs Enforcement laws as they endanger immigrant communities.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected into Congress at age 29. She will be representing New York’s 14th Congressional district beginning January 2019. She ran as part of the democratic party. In high school, Ocasio-Cortez had a small asteroid named after her when she won second place for a research project on microbiology during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. After facing financial struggles shortly after high school, she was awarded funds from Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, which allowed her to start a small publishing firm. She went on to be an educator for the National Hispanic Institute, which is a non-profit organization. Ocasio-cortex supports free education for universities and colleges. She supports 100% renewable energy sources. She is for the impeachment of Trump and would like to the U.S. Customs and Enforcement agency to be abolished.

    Abbey Finkenauer is the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress. She is a member of the democratic party. She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Drake University in Iowa. She was endorsed by Barack Obama in her candidacy for this year’s midterms. She is the second youngest woman to be elected into Congress at age 30, following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 29.

    Let these women represent everything that you can achieve in life. If someone says you can’t, or if the world feels like it’s against you, do not back down. Women in history have worked hard to get us to where we are today, and these newly elected women will help lead that venture. We are strong. We are smart. We are women.

  • Articles, Technology, Woman's History

    Hedy Lamarr: An Unknown Genius

    Hedy Lamarr: An Unknown Genius

    Hedy Lamarr. She was one of the most beautiful Hollywood stars in the 1940’s. She was well recognized for the roles she played in Hollywood hits Algiers and Sampson and Delilah. The fairy tale character Snow White was modeled after her in the 1937 cartoon. Hedy Lamarr was also the inspiration for the comic book character Catwoman. Lamarr’s beauty and glamour definitely did not go unnoticed in the film industry. However, her creative and intelligent mind was hidden from society. Not only was she a talented actress, she held a patent for frequency-hopping technology. This technology is now used for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Hedy Lamarr, was born as Hedy Kiesler in Austria in late 1910’s . In the documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Lamarr’s son tells of how Hedy took apart her toy music box and then put it back together at a young age. It was obvious she had a knack for inventing. Hedy’s father had helped her find that passion. He was in finance, but was very interested in technology. Furthermore, Hedy lived in a very cultured part of Austria. She would go to the opera, the theater, and she attended a prestigious school.

    Hedy had somewhat of an acting career, acting in small Viennese films. However, when she was on the boat the U.S. Normandie, she encountered Louis B. Mayer. He owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was the company producing the big Hollywood movies. He offered her to be a Hollywood actress and she complied. In order to ensure a movie-star persona, Mayer gave her the name: Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr did have some trouble finding a movie to star in, when, one night at a party, she met a man named Charles Boyer. Boyer found her captivating and asked her to be in his movie, Algiers. After starring in that movie, she instantly became one of the most popular stars in Hollywood. However, her career did dwindle a little, but she gained success when she starred in Boom Town (1940). After that movie, she was constantly starring in well-known and well-written movies. The 40’s were when Hedy Lamarr’s acting career peaked. She was constantly working and in her free time, she would work on her inventions. She had a relationship with Howard Hughes, who was a famous expert on building planes. She had come up with ideas to help him improve planes he was building. Despite the exciting events that Hedy was a part of, the 40’s were a time of anxiety and turmoil since World War II was going on.

    After a shipload of 293 people sank due to German U-boats, Hedy decided she had to do something. She thought of a solution to combat Nazi submarines and decided a radio-controlled torpedo could solve the problem. This was where her idea of frequency-hopping technology came in. The torpedoes the US used had one transmit frequency communicating, making it easy for the signal to be jammed. Frequency-hopping technology would be able to prevent the jamming of radio signals. With the help of George Antheil, a renowned musician, Hedy come up with an outline to build radio-controlled torpedoes that used frequency-hopping technology. They showed their idea to the National Council of Inventors. One of the inventors, Charles Kettering, transferred them to Professor Sam S. Mackeown, who was a physicist at Caltech. Mackeown. He was responsible for designing the electronics of George and Hedy’s project. When the patent was issued, it was issued to George and Hedy. However, since the Navy was against using the device, George and Hedy did not get money at first. Hedy’s invention was not used until the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. However, at the time Hedy did not get paid. Finally, Hedy got some recognition through Forbes in 1990. By then, her technology was already being used in GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi technology, military satellites, and more. Hedy Lamarr died in 2000, leaving a legacy that will forever be remembered.

    To learn more about Hedy Lamarr’s story, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a great documentary to watch. It is available on Netflix.

    Sources used: Field, Shivaune. “Hedy Lamarr: The Incredible Mind Behind Secure WiFi, GPS And Bluetooth.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Mar. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/shivaunefield/2018/02/28/hedy-lamarr-the-incredible-mind-behind-secure-wi-fi-gps-bluetooth/#197f105541b7.
    Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Dir. Alexandra Dean. Perf. Hedy Lamarr. Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber, 2017. Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/title/80189827
    Picture credits: “Hedy Lamarr.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr.

  • Articles, Woman's History

    Different Waves of Feminism

    You may have heard about the different waves of feminism online or in various feminist groups. This article will go into the different waves of feminism as they occurred in the US and define some of the lingo I’ve been hearing in different feminist circles.

    First Wave Feminism
    This wave of feminism happened during the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and seemed to focus on getting women the right to vote, on allowing women to own property, allowing women to execute wills, giving married women the right to control their own income, etc.

    Second Wave Feminism
    This period of feminist thought and activity took place starting in the 1960’s and lasted until about the 1980’s. Second wave feminism focused on women’s access to birth control, gender issues in the workplace, women’s domesticity, domestic violence, equal pay, marital rape, rape crisis centers, women’s shelters, and led to changes in laws regarding custody and divorce.

    Third Wave Feminism
    This feminist movement began in the 90’s and lasted up until 2012. Third wave feminism emphasized intersectional feminism, transfeminism, ecofeminism, and sex positivity. This particular wave sought to challenge the idea that feminism was only for white women (a big criticism of second wave feminism), and to discuss the intersection of race and gender. It emphasized the importance of diverse feminism.

    Fourth Wave Feminism
    This wave started in 2012 and is the wave of feminism we are in now. It addresses issues regarding the wage gap, sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, implicit bias against women, rape culture, domestic violence, intersectionality/ inclusivity, and trans inclusive feminism.

    Feminist Lingo / Terminology You Should Know About
    -Intersectional: This term was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw as a way to describe how overlapping oppressed minority identities operate in systems of oppression. One example of an intersection would be a woman who is both queer and a PoC. Crenshaw has written about her intersection as an African American woman.

    -Transfeminism: Transfeminism or trans inclusive feminism describes a branch of feminism that addresses issues that trans women face. It talks about transmisogyny, that is, the oppression that comes with being a woman and being transgender.

    -Ecofeminism: This philosophical view combines environmental concerns with feminist ones. Ecofeminists use gender dynamics as a way to look at how humans treat the environment.

    -Sex positivity: This is a social idea that sex is not something to be ashamed of. It promotes ideas of safe and consensual sex, and does not tolerate slut shaming.

    -TERF/ RadFem/ Radical Feminism: This acronym stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminism”, which essentially states that trans women’s experiences should not be included in feminism because of the idea that trans women benefit from male privilege. By nature, trans exclusionary radical feminists discredit the experiences of trans women in a very toxic and transphobic manner.

    -SWERF: “Sex worker exclusionary radical feminism” is the idea that women should not be sex workers, and often involves discrimination against woman sex workers. The idea being that sex workers are constantly sexually objectified and are therefore participating in their own oppression by working these types of jobs.

    -Slut shaming: The idea that sexually active or promiscuous women should be shamed.

    -Reclamation of derogatory words: Many feminists think that women using words that have been used to oppress them, such as “bitch”, “slut”, or “cunt” can take the sting away from hearing it used negatively. It gives the oppressed some level of power over the language used to harm them.

    -Pop feminism: This terms refers to surface level ideas and understanding of feminism, or feminism that is promoted by brands/ corporations in advertisements that only care about your money. One example would be the “ban bossy” campaign, or those deodorant commercials that feature a woman standing in a bathroom at her office trying to convince herself to ask for a pay raise.

    -White feminism: This term describes the type of feminism that only concerns itself with liberating white women.

    Sources:
    First wave feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-wave_feminism
    Second wave feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism
    Third wave feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism
    Fourth wave feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth-wave_feminism

  • Photography, Woman's History

    Alabama’s Finest Female: Autherine Lucy Foster

    Autherine Lucy Foster was the first black student to be admitted to an all-white public school or university in the entire state of Alabama. Foster was recently honored by The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on September 17, 2017. The university asked Autherine Lucy to speak about her experiences, and the enormous obstacles she has overcome to get to where she is today. She was then presented with a campus landmark dedicated in her name, on The University of Alabama’s Graves’ lawn. Foster’s actions and determination to actively make change in a prejudiced society have paved the way of civil equality today.
    Foster’s success has become an inspiration to many African-Americans worldwide. Autherine Lucy Foster who is currently 87, attempted to enroll at The University of Alabama in 1952. She was originally accepted, until admissions found out that she was African-American. Attorneys fought for Foster’s right to attend the university, and about a year later she was admitted into the school. Not even one hundred years ago, Foster was the first African-American student to attend a public university.
    Unfortunately it does not end there, Foster’s education at Alabama was cut short. Less than a week into her attendance at the university, Foster was harassed on campus and bombarded with endless threats. When Foster spoke on September 17, she talked about her experience of the 3000 Klansmen waiting for her to step outside and chanting racial statements at her. Foster was suspended for “her safety, and the safety of other students,” and she was later on expelled.
    Over thirty years later, her expulsion was finally annulled and Foster returned to the University of Alabama and earned her Master’s degree in education. Foster’s ambition and actions have left an impact on Alabama, and on the entire nation. Her courage to fight against social injustice at the university has qualified her a legacy on the campus. Foster truly is an inspiration, and an empowering woman to look up to. She has strived for greatness, and continues to impact lives of many students.

  • Shero, TRENDING, Woman's History

    FAMOUS FIRSTS IN WOMEN’S HISTORY

    American women’s history has been full of pioneers: Women who fought for their rights, worked hard to be treated equally and made great strides in fields like science, politics, sports, literature and art. These are just a few of the remarkable accomplishments that historians not to mention people across the United States celebrate.

    What “Famous Firsts” will American women achieve next?

     

    First women’s-rights convention meets in Seneca Falls, New York, 1848

    In July 1848, some 240 men and women gathered in upstate New York for a meeting convened, said organizers, “to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women.” One hundred of the delegates–68 women and 32 men–signed a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, declaring that women, like men, were citizens with an “inalienable right to the elective franchise.” The Seneca Falls Convention marked the beginning of the campaign for woman suffrage.

    Wyoming Territory is first to grant women the vote, 1869

    In 1869, Wyoming’s territorial legislature declared that “every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this territory, may at every election…cast her vote.” Though Congress lobbied hard against it, Wyoming’s women kept their right to vote when the territory became a state in 1890. In 1924, the state’s voters elected the nation’s first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross.

    Californian Julia Morgan is first woman admitted to the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris, 1898

    The 26-year-old Morgan had already earned a degree in civil engineering from Berkeley, where she was one of just 100 female students in the entire university (and the only female engineer). After she received her certification in architecture from the Ecole de Beaux-Arts, the best architecture school in the world, Morgan returned to California. There, she became the first woman licensed to practice architecture in the state and an influential champion of the Arts and Crafts movement. Though she is most famous for building the “Hearst Castle,” a massive compound for the publisher William Randolph Hearst in San Simeon, California, Morgan designed more than 700 buildings in her long career. She died in 1957.

    Margaret Sanger opens first birth-control clinic in the United States, 1916

    In October 1916, the nurse and women’s-rights activist Margaret Sanger opened the first American birth-control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Since state “Comstock Laws” banned contraceptives and the dissemination of information about them, Sanger’s clinic was illegal; as a result, on October 26, the city vice squad raided the clinic, arresting its staff and seizing its stock of diaphragms and condoms. Sanger tried to reopen the clinic twice more, but police forced her landlord to evict her the next month, closing it for good. In 1921, Sanger formed the American Birth Control League, the organization that eventually became Planned Parenthood.

    Edith Wharton is the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, 1921

    Wharton won the prize for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence. Like many of Wharton’s books, The Age of Innocence was a critique of the insularity and hypocrisy of the upper class in turn-of-the-century New York. The book has inspired several stage and screen adaptations, and the writer Cecily Von Ziegesar has said that it was the model for her popular Gossip Girl series of books.

    Activist Alice Paul proposes the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time, 1923

    For almost 50 years, women’s-rights advocates like Alice Paultried to get Congress to approve the amendment; finally, in 1972, they succeeded. In March of that year, Congress sent the proposed amendment–“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”–to the states for ratification. Twenty-two of the required 38 states ratified it right away, but then conservative activists mobilized against it. (The ERA’s straightforward language hid all kinds of sinister threats, they claimed: It would force wives to support their husbands, send women into combat and validate gay marriages.) This anti-ratification campaign was a success: In 1977, Indiana became the 35th and last state to ratify the ERA. In June 1982, the ratification deadline expired. The amendment has never been passed.

    Amelia Earhart is the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, 1928

    After that first trip across the ocean, which took more than 20 hours, Earhart became a celebrity: She won countless awards, got a ticker-tape parade down Broadway, wrote a best-selling book about her famous flight and became an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. In 1937, Earhart attempted to be the first female pilot to fly around the world, and the first pilot of any gender to circumnavigate the globe at its widest point, the Equator. Along with her navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart successfully hopscotched from Miami to Brazil, Africa, India and Australia. Six weeks after they began their journey, Earhart and Noonan left New Guinea for the U.S. territory of Howland Island, but they never arrived. No trace of Earhart, Noonan or their plane was ever found.

    The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.

    – Oprah

     

    Frances Perkins becomes the first female member of a Presidential cabinet, 1933

    Perkins, a sociologist and Progressive reformer in New York, served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. She kept her job until 1945.

    The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League becomes the first professional baseball league for female players, 1943

    Women had been playing professional baseball for decades: Starting in the 1890s, gender-integrated “Bloomer Girls” teams (named after the feminist Amelia Bloomer) traveled around the country, challenging men’s teams to games–and frequently winning. As the men’s minor leagues expanded, however, playing opportunities for Bloomer Girls decreased, and the last of the teams called it quits in 1934. But by 1943, so many major-league stars had joined the armed services and gone off to war that stadium owners and baseball executives worried that the game would never recover. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the solution to this problem: It would keep ballparks filled and fans entertained until the war was over. For 12 seasons, more than 600 women played for the league’s teams, including the Racine (Wisconsin) Belles, the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches, the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Chicks and the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daisies. The AAGPBL disbanded in 1954.

    The FDA announces its approval of “The Pill,” the first birth-control drug, 1960

    In October 1959, the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle applied for a license from the federal Food and Drug Administration to sell its drug Enovid, a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, for use as an oral contraceptive. FDA approval was not guaranteed: For one thing, the agency was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing doctors to prescribe drugs to healthy people; for another, the young bureaucrat assigned to the case was fixated on moral and religious, not scientific, objections to the pill. Despite all this, Enovid was approved for short-term use in October 1960.

    Janet Guthrie is the first woman to drive in the Indy 500, 1977

    Guthrie was an aerospace engineer, training to be an astronaut, when she was cut from the space program because she didn’t have her PhD. She turned to car racing instead and became the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Mechanical difficulties forced her out of the 1977 Indy race, but the next year she finished in ninth place (with a broken wrist!). The helmet and suit that Guthrie wore in her first Indy race are on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

    President Ronald Reagan nominates Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first woman on the Supreme Court, 1981

    O’Connor was confirmed that September. She did not have much judicial experience when she began her Supreme Court term—she had only been a judge for a few years and had never served on a federal court—but she soon made a name for herself as one of the Court’s most thoughtful centrists. O’Connor retired in 2006.

    Joan Benoit wins the first women’s Olympic Marathon, 1984

    At the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, Joan Benoit (today known as Joan Benoit Samuelson) finished the first-ever women’s marathon in 2:24.52. She finished 400 meters ahead of the silver medalist, Norway’s Grete Waitz.

    Manon Rheaume is the first woman to play in an NHL game, 1992

    Manon Rheaume, a goalie from Quebec City, Canada, was no stranger to firsts: She was well-known for being the first female player to take the ice in a major boys’ junior hockey game. In 1992, Rheaume was the starting goalie for the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lighting in a preseason exhibition game, making her the first woman to play in any of the major men’s sports leagues in the U.S. In that game, she deflected seven of nine shots; however, she was taken out of the game early and never played in a regular-season game. Rheaume led the Canadian women’s national team to victory in the 1992 and 1994 World Hockey Championships. The team also won silver at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

    Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State, 1997

    In January 1997, the international-relations expert Madeleine K. Albright was sworn in as the United States’ 64th Secretary of State. She was the first woman to hold that job, which made her the highest-ranking woman in the federal government’s history. Before President Bill Clinton asked her to be part of his Cabinet, Albright had served as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In 2004, Condoleezza Rice became the second woman–and first African-American woman to hold the job. Five years later, in January 2009, the former Senator (and First Lady) Hillary Rodham Clinton became the third female Secretary of State.

    Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, 2010

    The American film director Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 film “The Hurt Locker” garnered six Oscars on March 7, 2010, including the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. Written by Mark Boal, a former journalist who covered the war in Iraq, the movie follows an Army bomb squad unit as they conduct dangerous missions and battle personal demons in war-torn Baghdad. Bigelow, whose previous films include “Strange Days” and “Point Break,” was the first woman to take home the Best Director distinction. She triumphed over her former husband, James Cameron, whose science fiction epic “Avatar” was another presumed front-runner.

    Hillary Clinton becomes first female presidential nominee of a major party, 2016

    On July 26, 2016, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state was officially nominated as the Democratic nominee, becoming the first woman from a major party to achieve that feat. Clinton had previously mounted an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008 (before losing to Barack Obama in the Democratic primary), and fought off a strong challenge by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016 before clinching the glass ceiling-breaking nomination.