First Females To...

These inspirational women in history are changing the world, have broken barriers, and worked hard to earn the titles of the first women to…..

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell (M.D.).jpg
By Hobart and William Smith Colleges Archives -, Public Domain, Link

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor in the United States. She was born in 1821. After being the first woman to graduate from medical school she promoted the education of other women in medicine. What made her become involved in medicine, was when one of her friends died from probable uterine cancer and said that if she had a woman doctor she might have had less pain and suffering. Her sister, Emily, was the third woman in the United States to receive a medical degree.

Sandra Day O’Connor

Sandra day O Connor.jpg
By Kingkongphoto & from Laurel Maryland, USA - Sandra day O Connor, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to be part of the Supreme Court. O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas on March 26, 1930. She grew up on her family’s ranch, Lazy B. She attended Stanford Law in 1950. She was nominated as the first female to serve in the Supreme Court in 1981.

Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas Rio 2016.jpg
By Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, CC BY 3.0 br, Link

Gabby Douglas is an American gymnast. In the Summer Olympics of 2012, she became the first African American gymnast to win the individual all-round event. At 8 years old, Gabby won a gymnastics state championship and is currently a member of the American Olympic Gymnastic team. She was born on December 31, 1995.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart standing under nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, small.jpg
By Underwood & Underwood (active 1880 – c. 1950)[1] -, Public Domain, Link

Amelia Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also set many different flying records. However, this isn’t the only thing she is known for. Earhart wrote many books about her travels and flying experiences. She was a member of the National Woman’s Party.

Aretha Louise Franklin

Aretha Franklin 1968.jpg
By Atlantic Records (Life time: Published before 1978 without a copyright notice) - Original publication: Billboard Magazine Immediate source: page 7, Public Domain, Link

Aretha Louise Franklin was the first female Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee. Her love of music began as a child, singing in the church that her father was the minister of. Aretha began her actual career at the age of 18, writing and recording songs for Columbia Records. By the end of the 1960s, she was called “The Queen of the Soul”, and she was inducted into the hall of fame in 1987.

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates 2009.jpg
By Bill_og_Melinda_Gates_2009-06-03_(bilde_06).JPG: Kjetil Ree derivative work: Jacek555 - This file was derived from: Bill og Melinda Gates 2009-06-03 (bilde 06).JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Melinda Gates, along with her husband Bill Gates (the founder of Microsoft), is the founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is currently the world’s largest private charitable organization. In 2012, Melinda Gates donated 560 million dollars to improve access to contraception for women in poor countries. She also has been ranked multiple times as one of the world’s most powerful woman by Forbes.

Mae Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison.jpg
By NASA - NASA Image and Video Library (file), Public Domain, Link

Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to be admitted into a NASA astronaut training program on June 4, 1987. On September 12, 1992, she became the first African-American woman to go into space when she traveled on the Endeavour on its mission STS 47. Mae is also a physician and served in the Peace Corps for 2.5 years. She was born on October 17, 1956.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace portrait.jpg
By Alfred Edward Chalon - Science Museum Group, Public Domain, Link

Ada Lovelace was a computer programmer who wrote instructions for the first computer program. She introduced many computer concepts to the world. She wrote and translated an article on the computer and artificial intelligence. Ada grew up with a mother who taught her tons of things about math. She had ideas of computers not just being used for calculations and math, but for things like music and “to become an extension of the human mind.” The second Tuesday in October is called Ada Lovelace Day, which is dedicated to remembering the amazing breakthroughs that she had. 1815-1852

Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei.jpg
By Jaan Künnap - Jaan Künnap, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Junko Tabei’s love of mountain climbing all began with a classroom expedition as a child. However, she grew to become the first woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits, which are the tallest mountains on each continent. She also founded the Ladies Climbing Club, which was the same group she scaled Everest wIth.

Valentina Tereshkova

RIAN archive 612748 Valentina Tereshkova.jpg
By RIA Novosti archive, image #612748 / Alexander Mokletsov / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Valentina Tereshkova was born in 1937 in Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Russia. In 1963, Tereshkova became the first woman in space.  She was selected from 400 different applicants. Previously, she was a textile factory assembly worker and an amateur skydiver.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher (1983) (cropped).jpg
By Rob Bogaerts / Anefo, CC0, Link

Margaret Thatcher became the first female British Prime Minister in 1979. She retired from office in 1990, making her the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century. Some newspapers called Thatcher the “Iron Lady”, owing to her uncompromising leadership style. Margaret Thatcher passed in 2013.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey in Strøget, Denmark on 30 September 2009 (cropped).jpg
By Bill Ebbesen - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 3.0, Link

Oprah Winfrey is most known for being the first woman to own and produce her own talk show. Her show called “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was aired for about 25 years before it ended. Born on January 29, 1954, Oprah has become a huge icon for more than 3 decades.

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull.jpg
By EraserGirl - Matthew Brady, Public Domain, Link

Victoria Woodhull was born in 1838 and became the first female presidential candidate in 1872. She was part of the women’s suffrage movement and was also an all-around activist for women’s rights. Another thing Woodhull believed in was free love, which meant she believed that anyone had the right to divorce and marry without government influence. Woodhull passed in 1927.

Here are additional resources to read about female firsts: