was the first woman who earned a commercial pilot’s license in South America.
She achieved this in 1937 in her native Argentina.
Her achievements include piloting an amphibious
aircraft on a 4000-mile journey, from Panama to Argentina, in 1940, and flying
to Uruguay with two other female aviators in 1943, officially representing
Argentina. She was also a strong proponent of women’s rights and fought for the
recognition of female aviators.
Senda Berenson Abbott (1868-1954) is an
important figure in women’s basketball for being the author of the first Basketball
Guide for Women, published in 1901. She adapted and modified the rules of the
sport in order to enable more female players to participate.
She was born in the Russian Empire and emigrated
to the US with her family at the age of seven. She joined the Boston Normal School
of Gymnastics, and later became a sports ambassador for various schools.
She was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1955, the first woman so honoured.
(1949-2014) was an
activist for better housing for the African-American community. She was active
around St Louis, Missouri.
She started advocating for better housing
from a very young age, leading a nine-month rent strike which involved more
than twenty-two thousand tenants who were living in intolerable conditions. She
eventually set up the first tenant management association in the city, which
rehabilitated and managed the Cochran Gardens Housing Project, greatly
improving the living conditions of thousands.
Evers-Williams (b. 1933) is a civil rights activist
and journalist, who served as chairwoman of the NAACP. She delivered the
invocation at President Obama’s second inauguration.
She worked for the desegregation of schools
and voter registration in her native state of Mississippi. After her husband,
also an activist, was killed by a white supremacist in 1963, she sought justice
for him for more than three decades.
Hinkson (1925-2014) was a dancer and choreographer,
best known for her collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She was
credited with breaking racial boundaries in ballet and modern dance.
She obtained formal training at the
University of Wisconsin and was recruited into Martha Graham’s company in 1951.
Two years later, she obtained the role of principal dancer in the production Bluebeard’s Castle. She was also a
teacher with the Juilliard School of Music and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Vaught (b. 1930) achieved a number of firsts in US
military history. She was the first woman to reach the rank of brigadier
general in the comptroller field, as well as the first woman to deploy with a
Strategic Air Command operational unit.
She served in Spain and Vietnam in addition
to her native US. She served as the leader of the Women in the Military Service
to America Memorial Foundation, which fought to gain recognition for the role
of women in American military history and led to the creation of a memorial in
the Arlington National Cemetery.
Ada Louise Huxtable (1921-2013) was the
recipient of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, awarded to her in
1970. She was an architecture critic who had a significant contribution in
bringing the art into the public dialogue.
She worked for the MoMA as Curatorial Assistant
for Architecture and Design, and was later the first architecture critic at The New York Times. She wrote numerous
books in the field and was one of the main driving forces behind the New York
City Landmarks Preservation Commission, founded in 1965.
Faye Glenn Abdellah (1919-2017) was the
first nurse officer to achieve the rank of two-star rear admiral in the U.S. She was also the first
woman to ever hold the position of Deputy Surgeon General of the United States
Public Health Service.
She obtained her PhD from Columbia University
and conducted pioneering research in nursing, changing the theory from a
disease-oriented to a patient-oriented approach. In 1989 she became the first
dean of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Mona Seif (b. 1986, pictured with her mother Laila, also an activist) is a human rights
activist from Egypt. She is most famous for her involvement in the 2011
Egyptian Revolution and her creative use of social media in support of the
She attended numerous
protests against the Mubarak regime and encouraged participation through social
media. After the downfall of the regime, she founded a group that aims to stop
military trials for civilians in the country. She also studied biology and
researched the BRCA1 breast cancer gene.
was a journalist and historian active in the area of Buffalo, New York. She was
the first woman in the city to become a professional journalist and the first
American woman who lectured at Cambridge University.
She worked for the Buffalo Express and then for the Buffalo Courier, while also organising
history classes for women in her home. She ended up giving lectures at several
institutions around the US and beyond, including at Cornell and Cambridge. She
was the first American woman whose work was accepted by the British Association.