By Amanda Moses
Since 1978, March has been deemed by Congress as a time when women are celebrated for their achievements and contributions. During this commemorative period, many advocate for women’s rights, continuing the conversations on how to improve the growth of female opportunities, empowerment and the overall fight for gender equality. As we place recognition of past trailblazers, such as the pioneer suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Candy Stanton and Lucy Stone, we must also tip our hats to our modern-day activists like Gloria Steinem, former UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
In honor of their collective influence, the Spring Creek Sun salutes these, gender barrier breakers and champions of female rights during National Women’s History Month (March 1st to March 31st).
Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first American former first lady to ever win a public office seat in 2001. In 2009, she became the 67th U.S. Secretary of State. In 2016, she became the first woman in U.S. history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party.
Mae Jemison became the first African-American female astronaut when she flew into space in 1992 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. On the voyage, her title was that of a science mission specialist, which required that she conduct crew-related scientific experiments, such as the effect of zero gravity on the body and motion sickness.
Mona Van Duyn was an American poet, who won every major American award for poetry (Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Bollingen Prize, National Book Award for Poetry, Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and more.) She was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1985, served as the first woman Poet Laureate of the United States from 1992 to 1993 and was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame (1993).
Dr. Antonia Novello is the first women, and first Hispanic, to be appointed as the United States (US) Surgeon General. Throughout her years of schooling, she studied medicine and became deputy director with the National Institutes of Health. Then in 1990, she broke gender and race barriers when President George H.W. Bush appointed her as US Surgeon General.
Nancy Pelosi was the first female Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives as well as the first female Speaker of the House. Pelosi’s political career has often seen her lobbing for: the development of better paying jobs, access to college education and affordable health care for all, and revised energy policy that focuses on cleaner, more efficient domestic alternatives.
Effa Manley was an American sports executive, and the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1935, Manley and her husband Abraham, co-owned a Negro League baseball team, called the Eagles, in Brooklyn, New York (relocating the following year to New Jersey). Manley was the business manager for the team and was involved in the financial management, contractual negotiations, and team promotion. Her team won the Negro League World Series in 1946.