This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, we recognize women who achieved historic firsts throughout history.
A nurse known as “the lady with the lamp” for her travels checking on patients at night, Florence Nightingale played a vital role in changing the public perception of nurses while establishing cleanliness guidelines for hospitals.
Rosalind Franklin, an expert crystallographer, snapped the famous photograph 51, an X-ray picture of a double helix structure of DNA. This photo was the key piece of evidence to mapping the human genome and understanding the chemical foundations of heredity.
Grace Hopper earned the first Ph.D. in mathematics awarded to a woman by Yale University. She worked on the earliest computers and helped develop COBOL, which became IBM’s primary computer programming language.
Girl Socut founder, Juliette Gordon Low formed the first Girl Scout troop in 1912. A remodeled carriage house behind her Savannah home served as Girl Scouts’ first headquarters. Today, more than 1.7 million girls in the United States are Girl Scouts.
When discrimination prevented Bessie Coleman from earning a pilot’s license in the United States, she traveled to France to earn one there, becoming the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license. When she returned to the United States, Coleman became a stunt pilot, refusing to perform before segregated audiences. She also raised money to fund a school for black aviators.
The youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai is an activist for female education. Born in Pakistan in 1997, Malala survived an assassination attempt while leaving her school. After her recovery, she created a non-profit focused on providing free, safe and quality education for every girl. She currently attends Oxford University.
The most decorated gymnast in American history, and the world’s third most decorated, Simone Biles has earned 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. She is currently training in preparation for the 2020 Olympics and is a vocal critic of USA Gymnastics and its handling of recent abuse scandals.
Known as the “Iron Lady” because of her strong will, Margaret Thatcher served more than a decade as the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom. Less than ten years before she took office, she questioned whether a women would become prime minister in her lifetime.
In 1975, Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. She continued climbing throughout her life. In 1992, when she 51, Tabei became the first woman to conquer the Seven Summits, the tallest peaks on each continent.