“Am I good enough? Yes, I am.” - Michelle Obama
In the last decade, women have accomplished many ‘firsts’ and advanced to positions of leadership and influence in a wide variety of fields. In honor of Mother’s Day, we would like to celebrate women around the world by highlighting some of their most recent achievements within Government, Business, Science / Math, Sports, and the next generation. By bringing attention to these brilliant accomplishments, we hope to inspire and encourage women of all ages to embrace their unique strength and reach for the stars!
- In January 2021, Kamala Harris achieved three different “firsts”. She became the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first female Vice President of the United States.
- Estonia is currently the only country to be governed by two female leaders. Kaja Kallas was elected the first female Prime Minister of Estonia in February 2021. She joins President Kersto Kaljulaid who was elected in 2016 as the country’s first female President.
- A record shattering 117 women were elected or appointed to the US Congress in the 2018-midterm elections.
- Between 2018-2021, forty countries had or currently have women as head of state or government, paving the way for generations of women to become President, Prime Minister, or Chancellor of their country.
- In February 2020, FEDEX appointed Romona Hood to the role of CEO, making her the first female and the first African American CEO of the company.
- Gita Gopinath is the first woman chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. Christine Lagarde, who ran the International Monetary Fund and the first woman to hold that position, appointed her in 2018.
- Mary Barra has been General Motors’ CEO since 2014, the first woman to lead one of the big three automakers in the US. In 2018, GM was one of only two global businesses to have no gender pay gap.
- Economist Janet Yellen became the first woman to be named the US Secretary of the Treasury since it was founded in 1789. She was also the first person in US history to lead the three most powerful economic bodies in the Federal government: the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Science / Math
- In March of 2021, American mathematician, Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the prestigious Abel award, considered the de facto Nobel Prize of Mathematics. Given only once every four years, Uhlenbeck was recognized for her work in analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.
- For the first time in history, the 2020 Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry went to two women, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A Doudna, for their work editing genomes.
- Christina Koch and Jessica Meir first made headlines in 2019 when they participated in the first all female spacewalk. The walk was supposed to take place earlier but was postponed because NASA did not supply enough medium space suits for the women to wear during the walk. Since then, the International Space Station has been equipped with suits of all sizes, for all genders. Astronaut, Christina Koch, set another new record in 2020 for time spent in space for a woman. She spent a 328 days in space, beating Peggy Whitson’s previous record of 289 days. Koch was just 12 days shy of the longest single space flight ever by a NASA astronaut, Mark Kelly, who spent 340 days.
- In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers coach, Katie Sowers, became the first female in history to coach a NFL team in a Super Bowl.
- The US Women’s National Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup 2019, the fourth time they have won the title. The US team is hopeful that they will also win their battle with the US Soccer Federation for equal pay. In 2020, equal pay was established for women’s soccer teams in Brazil and Sierra Leone - joining the current list that includes Australia, England, Norway, and New Zealand.
- Gymnast Simone Biles won her 25th World medal in 2019 to become the most decorated gymnast in Gymnast World Championship history.
- Oregon University Women’s basketball superstar, Sabrina Ionescu, is the only player in NCAA Division I history, male or female, to have scored 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.
the next generation
- At 22 years old, Amanda Gorman became the first US National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest poet to perform at a presidential inauguration in 2021. Within weeks, she made history again as the first poet to perform at a Super Bowl game.
- In February 2021, English woman Jasmine Harrison became the youngest female to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. At 21 years old, Harrison completed the trek in 70 days, 3 hours and 48 minutes.
- Sixteen year old, Greta Thunberg, captured the attention of the world with her powerful warning about the damaging effects of climate change. The outspoken climate campaigner and environmental activist was asked to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019.
- Gitanjali Rao was named America’s Top Young Scientist when she invented a device that detects lead contamination in water in 2017 when she was 13 years old! More recently, Rao developed an app named Kindly, which uses artificial intelligence to detect possible early signs of cyber-bullying.