A Brief History
On September 15, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee to become the first female Justice of the Supreme Court. Here 5 spectacular firsts accomplished by women are listed, shining examples for girls to emulate and for boys and men to respect. Let us know who else belongs on this list for our upcoming articles on this topic. By the way, in this list, the alma mater of each of these accomplished women is mentioned (the author, for example, is a Cleveland State University graduate).
5. Dr. Rachel Maddow, First Openly Lesbian Rhodes Scholar, 1995 / First Openly Lesbian US News Anchor, 2008
Educated at Stanford University, Maddow earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford and became the first openly homosexual recipient of such a scholarship. After earning her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2001, she embarked on a radio career until the opportunity to work as the first openly homosexual prime time television news anchor presented itself when MSNBC offered her a job. The admittedly liberal newscaster is often disparaged by conservatives, but laughs off the insults.
4. Dr. Angela Dorothea Merkel, First Female Chancellor of Germany, 2005.
Still serving as Chancellor of Germany, “Angie,” as she is affectionately called by her countrymen, is the first woman to hold that office and is arguably the most powerful woman in the world. Before delving into politics, this brilliant woman received a PhD in Physical (Quantum) Chemistry from the University of Leipzig and worked as a research scientist.
3. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, First Female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1979.
The first and so far the only woman to hold the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the “Iron Lady” was a tough politician and inspirational leader. In fact, Thatcher was in office longer than any other British prime minister during the 20th century (1979-1990) and saw the UK through the war with Argentina. Like Merkel, she also studied science; her degree being in chemistry which she received from the University of Oxford. She proudly noted that she was the first British prime minister with a science degree, ever! Thatcher also studied for the bar, and became a barrister (lawyer) in 1953. She died in 2013.
2. Sandra Day O’Connor, First Female Supreme Court Justice, 1981.
Appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, Justice O’Connor also retired under a Republican president when she left the bench in 2006. Since O’Connor’s groundbreaking appointment, 3 other women have been appointed to the Supreme Court and are still serving (Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan). O’Connor received her law degree from Stanford University.
1. Nancy Pelosi, First Female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 2007.
With her appointment to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi, a graduate of Trinity Washington University, became the highest-ranking female in American political history and second in line for the presidency (after the vice president) should the president become disabled or die. Many other positions of great responsibility have been held by women throughout history, and the day when the United States finally has a female president may well be soon.
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