shattering the glass ceiling


Irrespective of your political affiliation, no one can deny the fact that this past week, on July 26, 2016, a defining moment in American history was made when Hillary Clinton was elected as the first woman Presidential nominee of a major US national party...on her way to *potentially* becoming the first woman President of the US.  A possibility that our current and future generations can, as Michele Obama stated, take for granted.

So it got me thinking...what do I, a first-generation American born and raised woman with deep roots in India, take for granted?  What things do I love doing (and admire others for doing) today that perhaps women weren't allowed to do long (or not too long) ago?

For all you American women out there, consider this as a reminder to appreciate the many brave women who shattered glass ceilings in order to make our lives just a bit easier! Listed below are some of my personal favorites.

The first American woman to...

Entertainment / Notable Prizes:
-become published as a writer (poet): Anne Bradstreet in 1640
-become a Modernist artist: Marie Owens in 1890
-be hired by the Metropolitian Opera as a trained opera singer: Eleonora de Cisneros in 1899
-conduct a symphony orchestra: Mary Davenport-Engberg in 1914
-win a Pulitzer Prize: Edith Wharton (for fiction) in 1921
-win a Nobel Prize in Peace: Jane Addams in 1931
-be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Aretha Franklin in 1987
-win a Grammy Award: Ashley Cleveland in 1996
-win a Tony Award: Julie Taymor in 1998
-win an Academy Award for “Best Director”: Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 

Science / Engineering:
-be granted a patent: Hannah Wilkinson Slater in 1784
-earn a medical degree: Elizabeth Blackwell in 1849
-practice as a professional architect: Louise Blanchard Bethune in 1876
-become an automotive engineer: Marie Luhring in 1920
-become an astronaut and sent into space: Dr. Sally Ride in 1983
-command a space shuttle mission: Lt. Col. Eileen Collins in 1999

-become a lawyer: Arabella Mansfield in 1869
-serve as a Director of a major corporation: Letite Pate Whitehead in 1934 (for The Coca-Cola Company)
-own a seat on the NYSE: Muriel Siebert in 1967
-become CEO of a Fortune 500 firm: Katharine Graham in 1972 (for Washington Post)
-become chairperson of the Federal Reserve Board: Janet Yellen in 2014

-be elected to the US House of Representatives: Jeannette Rankin in 1916
-be appointed onto the US Presidential Cabinet: Frances Perkins in 1933
-become a Justice of the US Supreme Court: Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981
-become US Attorney General: Janet Reno in 1993
-become US Secretary of State: Madeleine Albright in 1997
-become Speaker of the House of Representatives: Nancy Pelosi in 2007

-win an Olympic gold medal: Margaret Abbott (for golf) in 1900
-winat Wimbledon: May Sutton in 1905
-swim across the English Channel: Gertrude Ederle in 1926
-fly across the Atlantic Ocean: Ameila Earhart in 1932
-coach an NFL team: Jennifer Welter in 2015

-assume the role of soldier (during the American Revolution): Margaret Corbin in 1776
-receive the Congressional Medal of Honor: Mary Walker in 1866
-enlist in the US Navy: Loretta Perfectus Walsh in 1917
-enlist in the US Marines: Opha May Johnson in 1918
-receive a Purple Heart: Anna Leah Fox in 1942
-achieve the rank of major general in the US Army: Mary Clarke in 1978
-head the Air Force: Shiela Widnall in 1993
-graduate from the Citadel (formerly an all-male military school): Nancy Ruth Mace in 1999

You can check out the following lists to see many more amazing women "firsts", both in the US and abroad:
American Women "Firsts" in Wikipedia
International Women "Firsts" in Wikipedia
Famous Women "Firsts" on History
Famous Women "Firsts" on InfoPlease

Thank you women pioneers!  Let's keep breaking new glass ceilings!