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Famous Female Firsts: Aretha Franklin and 57 Trailblazing Women Who Made History

Celebrate the history-making women who have blazed the trail toward equality.

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Stele with a hymn to Amun. Detail of hieroglyphic writing. Egypt.PHAS/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

MerNeith and Sobekneferu, first female Pharaohs

Around 2950 BC, MerNeith, the daughter of one pharaoh, wife of another, and mother of another, is believed to have ruled Egypt in her own right for some period of time. The first female pharaoh whose reign was confirmed by scientific evidence was Sobekneferu, who ruled Egypt between 1806 and 1802 BC, following the death of her brother, Amenemhat IV. These are just two impressive women in history—here are 20 confidence-boosting from seriously awesome women in history.

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Mary I of England (1516-1558).PHAS/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

Mary Tudor, first female to rule England

Though Elizabeth I gets all the acclaim, it was her half-sister Mary Tudor, the only adult child of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who was crowned the first Queen of England in 1553. This was after the death of Henry in 1547 and a short reign by Henry’s ill-fated teenage son, Edward (who was Henry’s child with his third wife, Jane Seymour). Known historically as “Bloody Mary” for her sometimes violent political acts, she was succeeded in death by Elizabeth in 1558.

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Pile of old booksmelis/Shutterstock

Juliana Morell, first woman to graduate from a doctoral program

Born in Barcelona in 1594, Juliana Morell was so brilliant that by the age of four, her teachers informed her father they had nothing left to teach her. Home-schooled after that, Juliana had written and defended theses on ethics and morality by the tender age of 12. In 1608, she became the first female ever to earn a university doctoral degree. Women like Julia have a way with words, which is why you need to know these 14 quotes from female authors that every woman should read.

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Scrolls of sheet musicBest Shot Factory/REX/Shutterstock

Francesca Caccini, first female opera composer

Italian Francesca Caccini was 38 years old when La Liberazione di Ruggiero, the opera she composed, was performed for the first time in Florence. The year was 1625, and Caccini was not only an accomplished composer, but also a lute player, poet, and music teacher. She wrote or co-wrote 15 more opera works before her death in the 1640s.

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Anne (1665-1714), Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1702. Portrait. Taken from [Angliae Notitia] [Magnae Britanniae Notitia, or the Present State of Great Britain, with divers remarks upon the antient state thereof]. Originally pub./prod. in London, 1669-1755.British Library/Robana/REX/Shutterstock

Queen Anne, the first female ruler of Great Britain

In 1707, Queen Anne was crowned ruler of England. That very same year, the kingdoms of England and Scotland merged to form Great Britain, making Anne the first ruler of Great Britain, period. You should never call the current queen of England by her given name.

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Hand of a person casting a ballot at a polling station during voting.Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock

Lydia Taft, first woman to vote legally in America

In 1756, a century before woman’s suffrage became a movement, Lydia Chapin Taft became the first female to vote in America. Lydia was the widow of an influential landowner in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, whose recent death was thwarting the town’s plan to help finance the ongoing French and Indian war. So to get stuff done, Lydia was asked to vote in her dead husband’s place. Guess word of Lydia’s voting never reached President Grover Cleveland, who famously said that “sensible” women don’t vote. He really said that, but here are some famous quotes that were totally wrong.

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ASTORIA, OREGON - JUNE 1, 2017: A bronze statue of Sacagawea at Fort Clatsop in Lewis and Clarke National Park.Kirk_Zamieroski/ Shutterstock

Sacagawea, first (and only) woman to accompany Lewis and Clark

In 1805, Sacagawea, a member of the Shoshone tribe, became the first and only woman to accompany the Lewis and Clark expedition, exploring the West and seeking a route to the Pacific. Barely a teenager, and also a brand new mother, Sacagawea kept her baby strapped to her back as she acted as a Shoshone interpreter, brokered deals for supplies, and served as a skilled navigator. The fact that she was there may have been the difference between life and death for many on the expedition.

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Detail of a pile of international newspapersClaudio Divizia/Shutterstock

Ann Franklin, first female newspaper editor in America

You’ve heard of Ben Franklin, but how about his sister-in-law, Ann Smith Franklin, who was married to Ben’s brother, James? After James died in 1837, leaving Ann a widow with five kids, she took over as publisher of the Mercury, a Newport, Rhode Island newspaper, which Ann had helped James to launch. She later printed an almanac series and went on to be inducted into the University of Rhode Island’s Journalism Hall of Fame.

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M.s. Blanchard, (madeleine Sophie Armand) French Aeronaut, 19th Century Engraving.Universal History Archive/REX/Shutterstock

Sophie Blanchard, first woman to pilot a hot air balloon

Sophie Blanchard learned her aeronautical skills from her husband, who died of a heart attack beside Sophie while she was piloting a balloon. “Tiny” and “nervous,” according to Smithsonian, Sophie nevertheless found flight to be a “sensation incomparable.” Unfortunately, Sophie also became the first woman to die in an aviation accident, when her balloon caught fire and crashed to the ground in 1819.

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Augusta Ada, Countess Lovelace (1815-1852) English mathematician and writer. Daughter of the poet Byron. Friend of Charles Babbage. Devised programme for his Analytical Engine. Portrait by Margaret Carpenter.Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

Ada Lovelace, first female computer programmer

Ada Lovelace was not only the first female computer programmer, but also the first computer programmer overall. A brilliant mathematician born in England, she wrote the world’s first machine algorithm for an early computing machine called the “Analytical Engine.” It calculated Bernoulli numbers, thanks to Lovelace’s data input. It’s not shocking since there is a proven advantage that the female brain has over the male brain.

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Stethoscope on open book isolatedlenetstan/Shutterstock

Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States

Apparently, Elizabeth Blackwell was admitted as a prank among the men at the Geneva Medical College in western New York state, but the joke was on them when Dr. Blackwell received her medical degree in 1849.

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Dr. Helen B. Taussig, co-developer of the blue baby operation, examines an X-ray at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she is still active at the age of 69. She believes heart transplants one day may save infants born with severely malformed heartsWilliam A. Smith/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Helen Taussig, first female president of the American Heart Association

Born in 1898 Helen Brooke Taussig, was also a scientific pioneer in the movement to ban Thalidomide, a drug for morning sickness. It caused malformations in children’s limbs when their mothers took it during pregnancy.

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Metallic dentist tools close up in a dentist clinic.hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

Lucy Hobbs Taylor, DDS, first female dentist

Initially denied admission to dental school, Lucy Beamon Hobbs Taylor at first studied privately with a professor but then gained admission in 1865 to the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. There, she earned her Doctorate in Dental Surgery the following year. The man she later married, James Taylor, followed her into the practice of dentistry. After James’ death, Lucy became a woman’s rights advocate.

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Law concept.Zolnierek/Shutterstock

Arabella Mansfield and Ada Kepley, first female lawyers in the United States

In 1869, Arabella Mansfield, born Belle Aurelia Babb, became the first female lawyer in the United States when she was admitted to the Iowa state bar association after studying and apprenticing (an alternative to passing the bar exam after attending law school). The first woman to graduate from law school was Ada Kepley, who graduated the following year from the school that would eventually become Northwestern University.

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Maths formulas written by white chalk on the blackboard background.ChristianChan/Shutterstock

Winifred Edgerton Merril, PhD, first female mathematics PhD

In 1886, Winifred Edgerton Merril became the first woman to receive a degree from Columbia University, as well as the first woman to receive a PhD in mathematics. Proving that practice makes perfect, the vote to award her a doctorate was made unanimously by the Board of Trustees on Merril’s second try.

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Portrait of Marie Curie in laboratoryEwing Galloway/UIG/REX/Shutterstock

Marie Curie, first female Nobel Prize winner

Arguably the most famous female scientist of them all, Marie Curie, born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw in 1867, was a young revolutionary before she began her studies in physics and math at the Sorbonne in Paris. It was there she met her husband, Pierre Curie, a physics professor. In 1903, the couple was awarded half the Nobel Prize for research on radiation led by Henri Becquerel (he got the other half). Curie earned her own Nobel Prize in 1911 in chemistry and remains the only female Nobel Prize winner.

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Instruments and switches of old aircraft cockpitgorosan/Shutterstock

Raymonde de Laroche, first female licensed pilot

A former actress who’d been born Elise Raymonde Deroche in Paris in 1882, Raymonde de Laroche was inspired to take up flying after seeing the Wright Brothers’ flight demonstrations in 1907 in France. Though she wasn’t the first female aviator, de Laroche was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1910.

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Rankin Former U.S. congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R-Montana) prepares to leave Washington, for a speaking tour calling for a peace plank in the Republican and Democratic party platforms. As the first woman elected to Congress, she did not vote for war in 1917AP/REX/Shutterstock

Jeannette Rankin, first female Member of Congress

In 1916, Jeannette Rankin was elected to the House of Representatives as a representative from Montana. At the same time, Rankin also became the first woman ever to be elected to national office in the United States.

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Washington, Dc, March 4, 1917 - President Woodrow Wilson And Mrs. Wilson (Edith Galt Wilson) At The President's Second InaugurationNara Archives/REX/Shutterstock

Edith Wilson, first woman “Secret President”

Edith Galt Wilson was the first lady of Woodrow Wilson and the first woman who is known to have made executive decisions on behalf the United States, earning her the moniker, “Secret President.” Mrs. Wilson’s run as the stand-in Chief Executive began in 1919, when Woodrow suffered a stroke. For many months, the nation didn’t know the president had fallen ill, but over time, people came to suspect that Mrs. Wilson was in charge. Years later, the extent of Mrs. Wilson’s political power was confirmed by historians. America’s first ladies are all quite accomplished—and you may not know these fascinating facts about them.

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Edith Newbold Wharton Nee Jones American Novelist 1862 - 1937Historia/REX/Shutterstock

Edith Wharton, first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize

Another Edith became a “first woman” in 1921 when Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence. Wharton was the first woman ever to win this prestigious literary prize, and appropriately, the book, itself, was a critique of society. Judge these books by female authors that belong on everyone’s must-read list for yourself.

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EDERLE Nineteen-year-old Gertrude Ederle of New York City becomes the first woman to swim the English Channel, as she crosses the waterway in 14 hours and 31 minutesAP/REX/Shutterstock

Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim across the English Channel

On August 6, 1926, Gertrude Caroline Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Ederle, who lived to be 98 and died in 2003, was also an Olympic swim champion and five-time world record-holder in five swimming events.

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Earhart Amelia Earhart takes the $80,000 flying laboratory for a trial run over San Francisco Bay, Oakland, Ca., for her around-the-world flight6659973a

Amelia Earhart and Jerrie Mock, first women in cross-ocean aviation

Amelia Earhart may be best known for her mysterious disappearance during an ill-fated around-the-world-flight (the first woman to successfully make the around-the-world flight was Jerrie Mock, who flew a single-engine Cessna-180 around the world in 1964). A decade before Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific Ocean, however, she became the first woman ever to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928, earning herself a ticker-tape parade and even an editorship at Cosmopolitan. Her solo plane travel is just one of the fascinating facts about Amelia Earhart.

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Frances Perkins Secretary of labor Frances Perkins testifies, before the house committee on interstate migration, advocating extension of the benefits of certain social legislation to the "Okies" and "Arkies," migrant farm workers she said the migrants should be placed under the wage-hour law, social security act and other legislation now covering other workersAP/REX/Shutterstock

Frances Perkins, first female member of a Presidential cabinet

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins, a sociologist and political reformer from New York, his Secretary of Labor, a job she kept until 1945. She’s one of the lesser-known women pioneers who changed the world.

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Arlene Francis American Actress. Box 0559 080515 00112a.jpg.ANL/REX/Shutterstock

Arlene Francis, first TV game show host

Arlene Francis, born Arlene Francis Kazanjian in 1907, always wanted to be a serious actress. Instead, she became a serious radio and television personality and the first woman to host a television game show, Your Big Moment. That was in 1949, and Francis continued that gig until 1952. She also served as a panelist on CBS’s What’s My Line, for the show’s entire 25-year television run.

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Jazz Singer Ella Fitzgerald Ella Jane Fitzgerald (april 25 1917 A June 15 1996) Also Known As The 'first Lady Of Song' 'queen Of Jazz' And 'lady Ella' Was An American Jazz And Song Vocalist. With A Vocal Range Spanning Three Octaves (d?3 To D?6) She Was Noted For Her Purity Of Tone Impeccable Diction Phrasing And Intonation And A 'horn-like' Improvisational Ability Particularly In Her Scat Singing. Fitzgerald Was A Notable Interpreter Of The Great American Songbook. Over The Course Of Her 59-year Recording Career She Was The Winner Of 13 Grammy Awards And Was Awarded The National Medal Of Arts By Ronald Reagan And The Presidential Medal Of Freedom By George H. W. Bush. Date Unknown.Mike Hollist/ANL/REX/Shutterstock

Fitzgerald, Garland, Gilberto, and King, female Grammy firsts

At the very first Grammy Awards in 1958, Ella Fitzgerald, known as the “First Lady of Song” was awarded two Grammys, making her the first woman to win two and the first African American to win at all.  In 1961, Judy Garland made more Grammy history by becoming the first woman to win for Album of the Year (Judy At Carnegie Hall). Other female Grammy firsts include:

  • Astrud Gilberto: first woman to win Record of the Year in 1964 for “The Girl From Ipanema,” an honor she shared with Stan Getz
  • Carole King: first woman to win Song of the Year and Record of the Year, solo, for “It’s Too Late” in 1971.

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Mountain climber Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to stand on the summit of Mt. Everest in Nepal onTabei Kikaku Co. Ltd/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Junko Tabei, first woman to summit Everest

Junko Tabei stood just 5-feet tall and weighed only 92 pounds, but her diminutive size was matched by enormous fortitude, bravery, and stamina. In 1975, she co-led a group of 15 women to the summit of Mt. Everest, becoming the first female ever to reach the peak. She would eventually ascend the highest summit on every continent.

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STS-7 mission specialist, Sally K. Ride on the flight deck of the space shuttle ChallengerREX/Shutterstock

Valentina Tershkova, Sally Ride, and Eileen Collins, first female astronauts

In 1983, America sent its first woman into space—Sally Kristen Ride, who had joined NASA only five years earlier. The first female astronaut of all time, however, was Russia’s Valentina Tershkova, who in 1963 spent three days in space and orbited our planet 48 times in a space capsule. The first female pilot and commander of a U.S. spacecraft was Eileen Collins, who captained Space Shuttle Mission STS-93 in 1999.

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Twenty-seven-years-old Joan Benoit of Freeport, Maine, waves the American flag enthusiastically in Los Angeles after finishing the first-ever Olympic women's marathon in the fastest-ever time for that distance. 2.24:52 for the 26-mile, 385-yard courseDieter Endlicher/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Kathrine Switzer, Nina Kuscik and Joan Benoit, first major female marathoners

In 1967, 20-year-old Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, even though race officials had tried to stop her. Nina Kuscsik became the first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon, 1972. In 1984, American Joan Benoit became the first winner of the Women’s Olympic Marathon, finishing 400 meters ahead of Norway’s Grete Waitz. It’s one of the 13 moments that changed women’s history forever.

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Shirley Chisholm Rep. Shirley Chisholm of New York presents her views in Washington, before the panel drafting the platform for the Democratic National ConventionJames Palmer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Shirley Chisolm, first African American female member of Congress

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American Congresswoman. In 1972, she made history yet again when she became the first African American (and second woman) to make a bid for the presidency. In 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Watchf Associated Press Domestic News New York United States APHS34576 ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER IsraelI Foreign Minister Golda Meir is shown at the United Nations General AssemblyJOHN LINDSAY/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Golda Meir, first female prime minister in the Middle East

In 1969, Golda Meir became the fourth prime minister of Israel and the first woman to hold the title. Born in 1898 in Kiev, Russia, Meir came to Wisconsin with her family and became part of the pro-Israel, Zionist, movement. For nearly three decades prior to her appointment as prime minister, Meir worked for the Israel government in various roles.

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Sally J. Priesand, the only female rabbi in the world, speaks in New York, . She is an assistant rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New YorkMarty Lederhandler/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sally Preisand, first female rabbi in the United States

In the 1950s and ’60s in Cleveland, Ohio, where Sally Priesand grew up, it was virtually unheard of for a female to occupy leadership roles in any religion. Nevertheless, Preisand enrolled in rabbinical school after a stint at the University of Cincinnati and was fully ordained in 1972. Throughout her career, she spoke out for equality in the Jewish religion.

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Danica Patrick during media day for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, FlaTerry Renna/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick, first female Indy contender and winner

No complaints about woman drivers, please: Janet Guthrie, an aerospace engineer who was training to be an astronaut, turned to car racing when she was cut from the space program for not having completed her PhD. In 1977, Guthrie became the first female Indy 500 contender. She didn’t take the lead, but Danica Patrick did. In 2005 and in 2008, Patrick became the first woman ever to win an Indy Car Series.

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Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister 1992 Margaret Thatcher. ...baroness Thatcher...prime Ministers . Rexmailpix.Monty Fresco/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

Margaret Thatcher, first female prime minister of England

Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher (aka Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS, FRIC), born 1925, was a British stateswoman who served not only as the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but also the longest-serving British PM of the 20th century. And this was after she bet against herself (and every other woman) in 1969, predicting that “no woman” would become Prime Minister during Thatcher’s own lifetime. Her prediction missed the mark just like these 12 other historical predictions that completely missed the mark.

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JEANE KIRKPATRICK Republican presidential hopeful Elizabeth Dole named Kirkpatrick, as her principal foreign policy adviser as she seeks the GOP nomination and James H. Burnley IV, former transportation secretary, as her main domestic adviserAP/REX/Shutterstock

Jeane Kirkpatrick, first female U.S. Ambassador to the UN

Jeane Kirkpatrick had first served as President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy advisor during his 1980 presidential campaign before being appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1981.

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O'Connor Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor smiles during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary CommitteeRON EDMONDS/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sandra Day O’Connor, first female Supreme Court Justice

Also in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated by President Regan to serve as Supreme Court of the United States. With little prior judicial experience, O’Connor nevertheless made a name for herself as one of SCOTUS’s most “thoughtful centrists.” But long before Justice O’Connor, another woman was making judicial history: In 1880, Belva Lockwood became the first woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Us Director Kathryn Bigelow Holds Her Award As She Stands with Presenter and Us Singer Barbara Streisand (r) at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood California Usa 07 March 2010 Bigelow Won For Achievement in Directing For 'The Hurt Locker ' the Oscars Are Awards Presented For Outstanding Individual Or Collective Efforts in Up to 25 Categories in Filmmaking United States HollywoodPaul Buck/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Barbara Streisand and Kathryn Bigelow: Film industry firsts

In 1984, Barbra Streisand became the first woman ever to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Director. The film was Yentl, in which Streisand starred, playing a woman pretending to be a man. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for Best Director. The film was The Hurt Locker, and one of the other nominees was Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron for Avatar. They might be fictional, but the 10 strongest female literary characters of all time will inspire you.

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TAYMOR Julie Taymor holds her two Tony Awards backstage at New York's Radio City Music Hall . Taymor, the driving force behind "The Lion King," won for Best Direction of a Play and for Best Costume DesignRICHARD DREW/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Julie Taymor and Cyndi Lauper: Theater world firsts

It wasn’t until 1998 that a woman won a Tony Award for Best Director of a musical. That was Julie Taymor, who won for The Lion King. In 2013, Cyndi Lauper became the first woman to win (solo) a Tony Award for Best Original Score for Kinky Boots.

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Oprah Winfrey attends the world premiere of "BOO! A Madea Halloween" in Los Angeles. Winfrey has a new book imprint called An Oprah Book under Flatiron Books. The first release will be Winfreyâ?™s â?œFood, Health and Happinessâ?? cookbook, coming out Jan. 3John Salangsang/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Oprah Winfrey, first woman to own and produce her own TV talk show

Oprah Winfrey wasn’t comfortable in her role as a TV news anchorwoman from ages 19 through 24, and her empathy with her interviewees earned her criticism, rather than accolades from her bosses. It wasn’t until she was given the opportunity to host her own talk show that Winfrey began to feel comfortable in her own skin. “I’ve found my home,” she remarked to Time. Her own talk show debuted in 1986, and Winfrey is now considered one of the most influential women on television. Now there are even more TV shows with strong female leads should be on your watch list.

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Aretha Franklin attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New YorkInvision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Aretha Franklin, first female Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer

In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman ever to be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. The late “Queen of Soul” may be most famous for her reworking of Otis Redding’s Respect, which the Hall of Fame now views as Franklin’s “assertion of selfhood in the women’s movement.”

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ALBRIGHT United Nations Ambassador Madeleine Albright smiles as she answers questions after a meeting of the Security Council, at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Albright is on the short list to replace outgoing Secretary of State Warren ChristopherOSAMU HONDA/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Madeleine Albright, first female U.S. Secretary of State

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Madeleine K. Albright the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. The appointment made her the highest-ranking woman in the federal government’s history. In 2004, Condoleezza Rice became the second woman, as well as the first African American woman, to hold the job. Five years later, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the nation’s third female Secretary of State. Here are 21 other women pioneers who helped change the world

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Argentinian president visits Chile, Santiago - 27 Jun 2017 Michelle BacheletMARIO RUIZ/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, first female president of Chile

First elected president in 2006, Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, known publicly as “Michelle Bachelet,” was the first woman in her country to hold the office. Leaving office in 2010, she found she couldn’t stay away for long. In 2013, she was re-elected president with over 62 percent of the vote, making her not only the first female president of Chile, but also the first person since 1932 to win the presidency twice in contested elections.

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Argentinean President Cristina Fernández De Kirchner Looks to the Skies During the Commemoration of the 203 Years of the May Revolution and the Tenth Anniversary of the Arrival of Néstor Kirchner to the Power on 25 May 2003 at the May Square (plaza De Mayo) in the City of Buenos Aires Argentina 25 May 2013 Argentina Buenos AiresDavid Fernández/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, first female elected president of Argentina

Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, was not only the second woman to serve as president of Argentina but also the first directly elected by the people. Her first term began in 2007. In 2011, she was re-elected, making her the first woman re-elected to the office. Her political approach has been given its own name: Kirchnerism.

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Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presents human rights awards at Georgetown University, Washington, USA - 05 Feb 2018MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Hillary Clinton, first female presidential nominee (major party)

In 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, was nominated by the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate. She was the first woman from a major party ever to achieve this feat. Clinton was not the first woman to run for POTUS, however, that was Victoria Woodhull, who ran unsuccessfully in 1872. Woodhull is one of the 9 incredible women you didn’t learn about in history class that you should know.