Even though Hillary Clinton didn’t win, she still made US history by becoming the first female nominee for President on a major party ticket. Sadly, the United States still has the dubious honor of being one of the last industrialized nations to give a woman the reins of power. (Read a message from our President and CEO, Deborah Gillis, about the state of women’s advancement given the 2016 US Presidential election results.) Women around the world still have a long way to go, but we wanted to honor and reflect on a few other female firsts, political and otherwise, from recent history. Because every step forward is something to be celebrated and paves the way for our children’s future.
US Political Firsts to Cheer About
Kate Brown of Oregon is the first openly LGBT candidate to be elected Governor.
Kamala Harris is the first woman of color (she’s of Jamaican and Indian descent) to win a Senate seat in California.
Catherine Cortez Masto is the first woman and first Latina to win a Nevada Senate seat.
Ilhan Omar, a former refugee and a Muslim, is the first Somali-American to hold a seat in the Minnesota House.
The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It's a girl."—Shirley Chisolm
The first Black congresswoman. The first Black person to run for US president in one of the two major parties. The first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Shirley Chisholm has a category of firsts all to herself. She’s a pioneer and a true game changer in politics and beyond, for many women and for African Americans. Read more about her…
Learn more about women of color in leadership with these important tools and tips:
The editorial—written by a liberated man—suggested legal and social remedies but concluded that “perhaps we can begin with the ultra-radical notion that a woman is a human being.”—Katharine Graham
Katharine Graham was the first female Fortune 500 CEO. As the leader of The Washington Post Company (1963–1979) and chairwoman of the board (1973–1991), she controlled the fifth-largest publishing empire in the nation. Ms. Graham’s influence on politics and publishing was also recognized in many arenas, notably when her memoir, Personal History, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Learn more about her remarkable career…
Hey sky, take off your hat. I’m on my way!—Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova, the former textile worker turned Russian cosmonaut, was the first woman in space. Despite the success of her flight, it would take 19 years for another woman to travel to space. Learn more about this highly decorated woman…
You can do anything you want, even if you are being told negative things. Stay strong and find motivation.—Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland is the first Black female principal ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the leading US ballet companies. Despite her diminutive stature and starting at the age of the 13, she persevered through personal and professional challenges—continuing to break multiple barriers even today. Learn more about this inspirational woman...
Work hard and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want:
Around the globe, individuals and organizations are tearing down old definitions and creating new ways of thinking that propel us toward a more inclusive future. Since 1987, Catalyst has awarded innovative organizational initiatives that accelerate progress for women and who have redefined what diversity and inclusion programs can and should be. Join us on International Women’s Day to celebrate with and learn from Catalyst Award winners and supporters, as well as other experts, leaders and luminaries who are redefining our workplaces and world. See you on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in New York City!