Important Women In American History


Important Women In American History You May Not Have Heard Of

Top 10 Important Milestones In US Women’s History

Submitted by Vandana,

When we talk of American history, we find innumerable names which find a prominent place there and most of them are that of men. However, it has been seen that there are many powerful and influential women who have had a significant part in American history. Though some of these names are quite popular, some of the names have disappeared into oblivion. In this article we will discuss some famous women in American history:

Hedy Lamarr

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People know Hedy Lamarr as a glamor girl of Hollywood, but most do not know that she is also an inventor. She worked alongside George Antheil, who was a composer for developing the idea of frequency hopping. This would have helped military radios from being bugged. Initially, her patent was ignored by the US Navy. But later, many technologies were developed based on the same concept, without giving the lady any credit for the same. It was much later that the original patent was discovered and the lady was honored with an Electronic Frontier Foundation Award before her death in the year 2000.

Lee Krasner

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Harriet Powers

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Sybil Ludington

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Harriet Chalmers Adams

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Check out these superwomen from America who created a great impact in the history of the country with their contributions.


Arabella Mansfield And Ada Kepley First Female Lawyers In The United States

In 1869, Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the United States when she was admitted to the Iowa state bar association after studying and apprenticing . 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.

Valentina Tershkova Sally Ride Mae Jemison Jessica Watkins And Eileen Collins First Female Astronauts

Russias Valentina Tershkova became the first woman in space in 1963, when she spent three days orbiting Earth 48 times in a space capsule.

In 1983, America sent its first woman into spaceSally Ride, who had joined NASA only five years earlier. And although she didnt officially come out during her lifetime, in a statement prepared prior to her death, Ride confirmed she was gay, making her the first acknowledged LGBTQ+ NASA astronaut.

Nine years later, American doctor and engineer Mae Jemison made history as the first Black woman in space, as one of seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. After that, it was another three decades before NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins became the first Black woman in space to be on an International Space Station crew.

Another important first occurred on February 3, 1995, when Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle. Collins made history again on July 23, 1999, when she became the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. If youd like to learn more, check out these other amazing facts about the women of NASA.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Benigna Zinzendorf Founder Of The First Boarding School For Girls In Colonial America

Back in 1742, at a time when girls were expected to marry young and spend their lives caring for their husbands and families, Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville founded the first boarding school dedicated to the education of girls in the 13 colonies, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Two months later, the school, known as the Bethlehem Female Seminary, moved roughly 70 miles north to Bethlehem, where, in addition to teaching the household arts , reading, writing and religion were also part of the curriculum. The school quickly earned a reputation for providing a high-caliber education to girls, counting the nieces of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson among its students. She may not be one of the most famous women in history, but Zinzendorf deserves more credit for her work.

Barbra Streisand And Kathryn Bigelow Film

17 Famous Women in American History Who Improved Your Life

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 also 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 Bigelows ex-husband, James Cameron, for Avatar. If you havent seen these flicks, get to ittheyre two of the best movies of all time.

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The Fda Announces Its Approval Of The Pill The First Birth

In October 1959, the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle applied for a license from the federal Food and Drug Administration to sell its drug Enovid, a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, for use as an oral contraceptive. FDA approval was not guaranteed: For one thing, the agency was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing doctors to prescribe drugs to healthy people for another, the young bureaucrat assigned to the case was fixated on moral and religious, not scientific, objections to the pill. Despite all this, Enovid was approved for short-term use in October 1960.

Merneith And Sobekneferu First Female Pharaohs

Around 2950 BC, MerNeiththe daughter of one pharaoh, wife of another and mother of yet anotheris believed to have ruled Egypt in her own right for some period of time. If thats accurate, it would have made her not only the first female pharaoh but also the first female monarch in recorded history.

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.

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Sara Josephine Baker First Director Of A Child Health Bureau In The United States

Although Sara Josephine Baker, MD, DrPH, is probably best known today for her work in containing a 1907 typhoid outbreak in New York City, she made history a year later when she was appointed the first director of the citys new Bureau of Child Hygiene, the first department of its kind in the United States. When Baker retired in 1923, New York City had the lowest infant mortality rate of any major American city. In the mid-1930s, she moved to New Jersey, where she shared a house with Ida Wyliea novelist and her life partnerand another woman physician named Louise Pearce.

Writing Women’s History: The Early Years

A Leader Of Women’s Rights | Susan B. Anthony | Biography

Home Washing Machine & Wringer.

Although the revival of feminism encouraged a giant leap forward in the 1970s, women’s history did not start from scratch. Women’s history itself has a history, which, in turn, has influenced how the field developed, what kinds of questions were asked at various points in time, and how the field interacted with larger contours of American history in general. This process is ongoing. One of the most vibrant things about the field of women’s history is its determination to avoid complacency. According to Linda Gordon, women’s historians have been continuously self-critical of our generalizations.4 To revisit some of those earlier generalizations and to examine how the questions have been recast and deepened over time provides a good introduction to the field as a whole.5

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Rosa Parks Civil Rights Equal Pay

: Black seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. The move helps launch the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks sitting in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, after the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal on the city bus system on December 21st, 1956.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

May 9, 1960: The Food and Drug Administration approves the first commercially produced birth control pill in the world, allowing women to control when and if they have children. Margaret Sanger initially commissioned the pill with funding from heiress Katherine McCormick.

: President John F. Kennedy signs into law the Equal Pay Act, prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination between men and women performing the same job in the same workplace.

: President Lyndon B. Johnson, signs the Civil Rights Act into law Title VII bans employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or sex.

: Betty Friedan, author of 1963s The Feminine Mystique, helps found the National Organization for Women , using, as the organization now states, grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

READ MORE: Six Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement

Writing Women’s History: Today

One way to think about women’s history today is to realize how many of its major concerns are focused and oriented toward relationships: in addition to the reigning trilogy of race, class, and gender, the field addresses relationships between groups of women, between structures of power and their subjects, between regions and nationalities, and so forth. Many of these relationships are power relations, as Mary Beth Norton cogently documents in Founding Mothers and Fathers:Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society , and they are all fluid formations, constantly shifting and mutating. What women’s history seeks is a multifaceted approach that will be sufficient, in the words of Joanne Meyerowitz, to illuminate the interconnections among the various systems of power that shape women’s lives.

One of the greatest accomplishments of women’s history over the past three decades has been the extensive documentation of the contours of African American women’s history. This rich outpouring of research, on everything from education to suffrage to work to slavery to music, has brought the enormous contributions made by African American women to their communities and to the country at large into the historical record. As monographs were being written and oral history interviews conducted, new documents and sources were uncovered which are now available to scholars and researchers.

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A Timeline Of Civil Rights Movements And Important Women In American History

Many of the civil rights battles women find themselves fighting are overlapping and ongoing. Women have been structurally disenfranchised in multiple ways since the U.S. was founded. New frontiers and opportunities for immigration and westward expansion created new fronts for struggle. The vote was perhaps the most obvious of these, but not the most consequential.

At the same time as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other middle-class white women were leading the suffrage movement, immigrant, Black, and Native American women like Lucy Parsons formed unions that fought for protections we enjoy to this day, such as the 40-hour workweek and eight-hour workday.

For African American women in history, civil rights have never been an either/or, only a both/and. Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and suffragette. Rosa Parks was an anti-rape advocate and civil rights activist. Lucy Parsons was a labor organizer and birth control advocate. Without the groundbreaking work of Black women and other women of color, many of the rights and freedoms we claim as birthrights today would remain a dream.

Well begin our timeline of civil rights struggles with womens suffrage, a movement that was a source of collaboration and conflict for many important women in American history.

Gertrude Ederle First Woman To Swim Across The English Channel

17 Famous Women in American History Who Improved Your Life

On August 6, 1926, Gertrude Caroline Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channeland accomplished the feat with a time almost two hours shorter than the fastest man to complete the swim. While that earned her a world record, it was far from Ederles first: Between 1921 and 1925, she set 29 U.S. and world records for swimming, as well as won a gold medal and two bronze medals in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Though shes not one of the most famous women in history, at the peak of her career, she was one of the best-known athletes in the world.

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Deb Haaland First Indigenous Person To Serve In A Cabinet Position

Deb Haaland made history in March 2021, when she was confirmed as the Secretary of the Interior of the United Statesthe first Indigenous person of any gender to hold a Cabinet position. A member of the Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland has spent much of her career focused on environmental justice and climate change.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images

The Name To Know: Barbara Jordan Politician 1936 1996

Image credit: U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Her story in brief:

Barbara Jordan was born in 1936, in Houston, Texas to a teacher and Baptist preacher. A Career Day speech at her segregated high school given by lawyer Edith Sampson, the first Black American delegate to the United Nations, inspired Jordan to become an attorney.

Before entering politics, she taught political science at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1966. To say that her election was exceptional is an understatement: She was the first Black woman elected to the State Senate, and the last time a Black person had been elected to that office was nearly a century earlier . During Jordans time there, she helped pass the states first minimum wage law and was instrumental in creating its Fair Employment Commission.

But Jordans non-combative style did not mean she shied from speaking truth to power. Her impressive oratory skills earned her acclaim in Congress during the waning days of the Nixon Administration. Barbara, the daughter of a Baptist minister, took to the floor of Congress and delivered a stirring address to demand that the countrys elected officials do what was right and impeach the president, wrote Drs. Berry and Gross.

Why her story should be told:

Watch Dr. Daina Ramey Berrys TED-Ed Lesson on Sojourner Truth now:

Watch Dr. David Ikards TEDxNashville Talk about the real Rosa Parks here:

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Madeleine Albright Becomes The First Female Secretary Of State 1997

In January 1997, the international-relations expert Madeleine K. Albright was sworn in as the United States 64th Secretary of State. She was the first woman to hold that job, which made her the highest-ranking woman in the federal governments history. Before President Bill Clinton asked her to be part of his Cabinet, Albright had served as the countrys Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In 2004, Condoleezza Rice became the second womanand first African American woman to hold the job. Five years later, in January 2009, the former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton became the third female Secretary of State.

Nancy Pelosi Hillary Clinton Kamala Harris

6 Famous Women Who Were Secretly Spies | History Countdown

: U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female speaker of the House. In 2019, she reclaims the title, becoming the first lawmaker to hold the office two times in more than 50 years.

: The U.S. military removes a ban against women serving in combat positions.

: Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to receive a presidential nomination from a major political party. During her speech at the Democratic National Convention, she says, Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on stage at the Chase Center before President-elect Joe Biden’s address to the nation November 7, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

: Kamala Harris is sworn in as the first woman and first woman of color vice president of the United States. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said after getting elected in November.

The daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris served as Californias first Black female attorney general and won election to the U.S. Senate in 2016. She made her own unsuccessful presidential bid before being selected by former vice president Joe Biden as his running mate.

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The Name To Know: Augusta Savage Artist 1892 1962

Image credit: Archives of American Art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Her story in brief:

Born to the family of a conservative Methodist minister in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Savage exhibited a passion and a talent for art from an early age, in particular for molding objects out of clay. But her father discouraged her creations through corporal punishment, claiming they were sinful. Father licked me five or six times a week and almost whipped all the art out of me, Savage recalled in interviews.

Savage put aside her art and got married. Shortly after she gave birth to her only child, her husband passed away. After another marriage and an inspiring encounter with a local potter, Savage left her husband and joined the Great Migration, heading to New York in 1921. There, she reinvented herself, shaving 10 years off her age, referring to her then-14-year-old daughter as her sister, and contributing her talents to the creation of a new Black cultural identity during the Harlem Renaissance.

Savages greatest professional accomplishments include traveling to study in Paris, being the first Black artist elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, and receiving a commission to create art for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair .

Why her story should be told:

Ingrid Kosarinvented The Pizza Bag

If youve ever had a pizza delivered, then you owe a debt of gratitude to Ingrid Kosar. Before Ingrid came along, chains like Dominos and Papa Johns had a tough time delivering pizzas because no one knew how to keep the food warm during the long trek between the restaurant and the customers front door.

Some people wrapped the pizzas in blankets. Some even kept sterno heaters in the backseat of their cars which, obviously, was kind of dangerous. Fortunately, Ingrid Kosar had the perfect solution, an invention that revolutionized the delivery business. Ingrid created the pizza bag.

Inspired after finding a lunch bag made of padded cotton, Ingrid teamed up with a friend named Bill Seliskar, and the two started mixing and matching fabrics in an effort to design the perfect pizza bag. To test her inventions, Ingrid actually bought multiple pizzas and drove them around town in her prototype pouches, trying to keep the pies at 60 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes.

Unfortunately, things have gotten difficult since her patent expired in the early 2000s and other companies started making cheaper, inferior knock-offs. But despite competition and bankruptcy, Thermal Bags by Ingrid is still alive and kicking. So the next time you have a pizza delivered, remember to thank Ingrid for keeping your dinner nice and hot.

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