100 Women In 100 Years

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. In honor of this significant milestone in history, I came up with 100 historical moments featuring women in America since the passage of women’s suffrage.

Suffragists parade down Fifth Avenue, 1917. Advocates march in October 1917, displaying placards containing the signatures of more than one million New York women demanding the vote. The New York Times Photo Archives
  1. Women are given the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment is ratified on August 18, 1920.
  2. Bessie Coleman is the first African American licensed pilot, earning her license on June 15, 1921. She had to go to France to accomplish this.
  3. Edith Wharton is the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921. It was for The Age of Innocence.
  4. Nellie Tayloe Ross is the first woman elected governor (Wyoming) in 1925.
  5. Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926.
  6. In 1928, Genevieve Rose Cline is the first woman appointed a U.S. federal judge.
  7. Pancho Barnes creates a union for motion picture pilots in 1930. The union improves safety and wages for the pilots.
  8. Jane Addams is the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
  9. Amelia Earhart is the first woman to pilot solo across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21, 1932.
  10. Hattie Wyatt Caraway becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932.
  11. Babe Didrickson wins gold and silver at the 1932 Summer Olympics. She is also the first woman to make the cut in a regular PGA Tour event, plus she is All-American in basketball.
  12. Frances Perkins becomes the first female cabinet member as secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
  13. In 1935, Lettie Pate Whitehead is the first woman to be appointed to the board of directors of a major corporation (Coca-Cola).
  14. Zora Neale Hurston, a writer and leader during the Harlem Renaissance, publishes her most popular novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in 1937.
  15. The first American woman to win a Nobel Prize for literature is Pearl Buck in 1938.
  16. Molly Kooks becomes the first registered female sea captain in North America in 1939.
  17. The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) is established by the army in 1942. Approximately 150,000 women serve during World War II.
  18. Planned Parenthood begins in 1942.
  19. Anna Leah Fox is the first woman to receive the Purple Heart in 1942.
  20. The first professional baseball league for women is formed in 1943.
  21. On August 5, 1943, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is established to assist with domestic military flying during World War II. The WASPs fly over 60 million miles on various missions.
  22. Grace Hopper is one of the first computer programmers of an early computer, the Harvard Mark I, in 1944. She also develops the first compiler. When she retires as a rear admiral for the Navy at the age of 79, she is the oldest serving officer in the U.S. armed forces.
  23. Ester McGowin Blake is the first woman in the U.S. Air Force. She enlists on July 8th, 1948.
  24. Georgia Neese Clark becomes the first female Treasurer of the United States in 1949.
  25. Eugenie Ander is the first woman to be appointed a U.S. Ambassador, also in 1949.
  26. In 1953, pilot Jerrie Cobb becomes the first woman to successfully undergo astronaut testing, although she is later denied the opportunity to become an astronaut.
  27. Fae Adams is the first female to receive a regular commission as a doctor in the U.S. Army.
  28. Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier on May 18, 1953.
  29. Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955, launching one of the defining events of the Civil Rights movement. When she died on October 24, 2005, she became the first woman in the nation’s history to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
  30. On May 9, 1960, the FDA approves the first commercially produced birth control pill in the world. The “pill” was commissioned by birth control advocate, Margaret Sanger.
  31. Wilma Rudolph is the first American woman to win three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics.
  32. In 1961, mathematician Katherine Johnson begins calculating flight trajectories for early space shuttle missions.
  33. Biologist Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring in 1962. This landmark work helps launch an environmental movement and leads to the banning of harmful pesticides.
  34. Judy Garland is the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. In the same year, she becomes the first woman to win the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
  35. President John F. Kennedy signs the Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963.
  36. Jerrie Mock is the first woman to fly solo around the world in 1964.
  37. When President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, employment discrimination  based on gender, race, or national origin is banned.
  38. The National Organization of Women (NOW) is founded on June 30, 1966.
  39. In 1966, Roberta Louise Gibb is the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon.
  40. Muriel Siebert is the first female member of the New York Stock Exchange in 1967.
  41. Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress in November, 1968.
  42. Maya Angelou publishes her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1969 which becomes the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman.
  43. Margaret Hamilton is lead developer for Apollo flight software. The on-flight software becomes critical in the success of the Moon landing in 1969.
  44. Diane Crump is the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 1970.
  45. Marine biologist Sylvia Earle heads the first all-women team to live in an underwater habitat in 1970. In 1979, she is the first to walk untethered along the ocean floor.
  46. The National Women’s Political Caucus is founded in 1971.
  47. Title IX of the Education Amendments is signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972. This amendment bars discrimination based on gender in any educational activity.
  48. Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington are the first women to be promoted to brigadier general in 1972.
  49. Also in 1972, Katharine Graham becomes the first female Fortune 500 CEO.
  50. Juanita Kreps becomes the first female director of the New York Stock Exchange in 1972.
  51. The U.S. Supreme Court votes in favor of Roe v. Wade, protecting a woman’s legal right to an abortion on January 22, 1973.
  52. Billie Jean King triumphs against Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes on September 20, 1973.
  53. Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to compete in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in 1977.
  54. Susan B. Anthony is the first woman depicted on an American coin.
  55. Housing and credit discrimination based on gender is outlawed by Congress in 1974.
  56. Sandra Day O’Conner becomes the first female Supreme Court justice on July 7, 1981.
  57. The first American woman to go to space is Sally Ride on June 18, 1983.
  58. Barbara McClintock wins a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1983, the only woman to receive a solo Nobel in medicine.
  59. Geraldine Ferraro becomes this first female vice president nominee by a major party on July 12, 1984.
  60. Kathryn Sullivan is the first female astronaut to go on an EVA or spacewalk on October 11, 1984.
  61. Wilma Mankiller becomes the first woman to lead a major Native American tribe when she became principal chief of the Cherokee in 1985.
  62. In 1985, Radia Perlman invents the Spanning Tree Protocol, a necessary component for the Internet to come.
  63. Libby Riddles is the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.
  64. Marine biologist Cindy Lee Van Dover is the first female pilot of a manned deep-diving submersible.
  65. Aretha Franklin is the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
  66. In 1992, Mae Jemison is the first African American woman in space.
  67. Toni Morrison is the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
  68. In 1993, Janet Reno becomes the first female Attorney General of the United States.
  69. The Violence Against Women Act is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
  70. Martha McSally is the first female fighter pilot to fly a combat mission in January 1995.
  71. Eileen Collins is the first female pilot (1995) and commander of a space shuttle (1999).
  72. Madeleine Albright is sworn in as the country’s first female secretary of state on January 23, 1997.
  73. Sheryl Swoopes is the first woman basketball player to be drafted for the WNBA in 1997.
  74. Carly Fiorina is the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company (Hewlett-Packard).
  75. In 2002, Halle Berry becomes first African American to win a Best Actress Oscar.
  76. By 2005, Michelle Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history.
  77. On October 19, 2007, Peggy Whitson becomes the first female commander of the International Space Station.
  78. Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman elected to Speaker of the House of Representatives on January 4, 2007.
  79. Danica Patrick is the first and only woman to win an IndyCar series race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. She also has a third place finish in the Indianapolis 500.
  80. Candace Parker is the first woman to dunk in an NCAA basketball tournament in 2006. Two years later, she is the second woman to dunk in an WNBA game.
  81. Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar in 2010. At this time, she is also the only woman to win Best Director.
  82. Lindsey Vonn is the first American woman to win a gold medal in the downhill at the 2010 Olympics. She also has two other Olympic medals, four World Cup titles, 82 World Cup victories, and two World Championship gold medals.
  83. Missy Franklin is the first American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics in any sport in 2012.
  84. In 2012, Katy Perry is the first female artist to have five consecutive number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
  85. Mary Barra becomes the first female CEO of a major automaker (General Motors) in 2013.
  86. Mia Hamm is the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
  87. Vanessa O’Brien is the first woman to climb the highest peak on each continent in 2013.
  88. Megan Brennan is named the first female United States Postmaster General in 2014.
  89. In 2014, Dr. Jedidah Isler becomes the first African American woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale.
  90. The Department of Defense opens up all combat positions in the U.S. military to female troops in January 2016.
  91. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to receive a presidential nomination from a major political party on July 26, 2016.
  92. Katie Ledecky is the most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympics with four gold medals, one silver medal, and two world records. Four years earlier, she is the youngest member of the Olympic team to win a gold medal.
  93. Simone Biles becomes the most decorated American gymnast in history with 25 Olympic and World Championship medals.
  94. In 2017, a record number of women are elected to Congress—104 female Representatives and 21 Senators.
  95. The first Latina, Catherine Cortez Masto, is elected to the Senate in 2017.
  96. Oprah Winfrey is the first African American woman to receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2018.
  97. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids become the first Native American women to be elected to Congress in 2018.
  98. The U.S. Women’s Soccer team wins their fourth World Cup in 2019 and has more wins than any other team in the world.
  99. Serena Williams is the only woman on the list of world’s highest paid athletes in 2019. She has the most Grand Slam titles of any active player.
  100. The first all-female spacewalk happens on October 18, 2019 when astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir do an EVA. Koch is also the current record holder for the longest single space flight at 328 days.

About KB Gibson

I am a writer who writes a little of everything--fiction, travel, children's books and articles, copywriting, curriculum.My perfect vacation would be to sit on a beach or look out over the mountains and read books. I never get to read as much as I want.
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