Romana Acuesta Bañuelos (1925-2018) was the first Hispanic treasurer of the United States. She served in this position from 1971 to 1974.
Even though she was born in the USA, she was deported to Mexico at a young age, and made a living at first as a dishwasher and tortilla maker. Eventually, she started her own tortilla business, Ramona’s Mexican Food Products, which grew to a multi-million-dollar corporation. She was a co-founder of the Pan-American National Bank, aiming to help struggling Latinos in Los Angeles.
Edith Nourse Rogers (1881-1960) was one of the first women to serve in the United States Congress, and the first in the state of Massachusetts. She supported numerous legislation bills in support of veterans.
She was a social volunteer during WWI, after which she was appointed inspector of the new hospitals for veterans. Additionally, she was the Chair of the Comittee on Veteran’s Affairs, and the first woman to preside as speaker over the House of Representatives.
Emilie Kempin-Spyri (1853-1901) was the first woman to obtain a law degree in Switzerland. Since she was not allowed to practice in her native country afterwards, she emigrated to the United States and established a law school for women.
She graduated from the University of Zurich in 1887 as the first female Doctor of Law in Europe. She applied to become a lecturer at the university, but was rejected twice, on account of her not being an active citizen – Swiss women were denied citizenship at the time.
Lya Imber (1914-1981) was a
Venezuelan physician of Ukrainian origin. She was the first woman in Venezuela
to earn a Doctorate in medical sciences.
She emigrated to Venezuela at the
age of 16, and earned her Doctorate in 1936. She was the Head of Service at the
Municipal Children’s Hospital in Caracas, and President of the Venezuelan
League of Mental Hygiene.
Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was the
first person in the world to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. She
is also said to be the first woman to ever create a photograph.
She studied botany, and later
became interested in photography. She used the cyanotype photographic process
to create photograms of algae, that she published in the form of a book in 1843.
The book is of considerable historical importance and rarity; only 17 copies
are known to exist, held in institutions such as The British Library and the
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Thakral (1914-2008) was an Indian aviator, the first woman in her country to fly
an aircraft. She obtained her pilot license in 1936, at the age of 21.
She was the first woman to obtain an ‘A’ license in India, after she
accumulated over a thousand hours of flying. In addition to this, she was an
artist and business woman, designing clothes and jewellery.
Taylor (1833-1910) was the first woman to graduate from dental school in the
United States. She finished her studies at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery
She tried to pursue a medical career early on, but was denied entry to
the Ohio Eclectic Medical College on account of her gender. She studied
dentistry privately and opened a practice, joining the Iowa State Dental
Society without any formal qualifications. Eventually, women were allowed to
study medicine, and she managed to obtain her doctorate in dentistry.
Jemera Rone (1944-2015) was a dedicated human rights
activist, working mostly throughout Africa and South America. She is best known
for years of reporting on human rights issues in Sudan.
She graduated from Barnard College and Rutgers
University Law School, and later served as the Coordinator of the Human Rights
Watch of East Africa. She has overseen investigations in these matters in 24
countries, such as El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Duckworth (b. 1968) is a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. She is
the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in the state, and the second
in the entire country.
She is also the first disabled woman to be elected
to Congress – she had lost both her legs while serving as a US Army helicopter
pilot on Iraq. She was the Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran
Affairs for three years.
Barbara (1923-2002) was the first woman to serve as President of Malta, from 1982
to 1987. She was also the longest standing female member of Parliament in the
In 1947, she became the first and only woman MP in
Malta, and remained in office until 1982, when she became President. During
this time, she implemented compulsory basic education for all children,
abolished university fees, and introduced laws for equal pay, paid maternity
leave and unemployment benefits.