List of women's firsts
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|Women in society|
This is a list of women's firsts noting the first time that a woman or women achieved a given historical feat. A shorthand phrase for this development is "breaking the gender barrier" or "breaking the glass ceiling." Other terms related to the glass ceiling can be used for specific fields related to those terms, such as "breaking the brass ceiling" for women in the military and "breaking the stained glass ceiling" for women clergy. Inclusion on the list is reserved for achievements by women that have significant historical impact.
- 1 Arts and entertainment
- 1.1 Academy Awards
- 1.2 Emmy Awards
- 1.3 Film (aside from the Academy Awards)
- 1.4 Grammy Awards
- 1.5 Fashion
- 1.6 Literature (aside from the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes)
- 1.7 Pulitzer Prizes
- 1.8 Television (aside from the Emmy Awards)
- 1.9 Theater (aside from the Tony Awards)
- 1.10 Tony Awards
- 1.11 Dance
- 1.12 Other
- 2 Aviation and Aerospace
- 3 Computing
- 4 Dentistry
- 5 Education
- 6 International bodies
- 7 Journalism
- 8 Library science
- 9 Mathematics
- 10 Military
- 11 Nobel Prizes
- 12 Police
- 13 Politics
- 14 Comparing women's integration into branches of government
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes
- 17 References
- 18 Further reading
- 19 External links
- 20 Racing
- 21 Religion
- 22 Sports
- 23 Voting
- 24 Women's rights
- 25 See also
- 26 Further reading
- 27 References
Arts and entertainment
- 1930: Frances Marion, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (for The Big House).
- 1940: Hattie McDaniel, first African American to win an Oscar for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (for Gone with the Wind).
- 1940: Anne Bauchens, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Film Editing (for North West Mounted Police).
- 1946: Muriel Box, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (for The Seventh Veil); she shared this award with her husband Sydney.
- 1973: Julia Phillips, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (for The Sting); she shared this award with Michael Phillips and Tony Bill.
- 1996: Rachel Portman, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score (for Emma).
- 2001: Halle Berry, first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress (for Monster's Ball).
- 2010: Kathryn Bigelow, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director (for The Hurt Locker).
- 2013: Brenda Chapman, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature; she shared this award with Mark Andrews.
- 2016: Sara Bennett, first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (for Ex Machina); she shared this award with Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, and Mark Ardington.
- 1949: Shirley Dinsdale, first ever recipient of the Emmy Award.
- 1985: Karen Arthur, first woman to win an Emmy Award for directing (Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Cagney & Lacey.)
- 2015: Uzo Aduba, the first actress to win both a drama and comedy Emmy Award for the same role.
- 2015: Viola Davis, first African-American to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Film (aside from the Academy Awards)
- 1946: Bodil Ipsen, first woman to win the Palme d'Or (for The Red Meadows.)
- 1984: Barbra Streisand, first woman to win Golden Globe Award for Best Director for Yentl.
- 2009: Kathryn Bigelow, first woman to win the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing (for The Hurt Locker).
- 2010: Kathryn Bigelow, first woman to win best director at the BAFTA awards (for The Hurt Locker).
- 2010: Kathryn Bigelow, first woman to win Critics' Choice Award for Best Director (for The Hurt Locker).
- 2015: Agnès Varda, first woman to receive an honorary Palme d'or.
- 2014: Ava DuVernay is the first African-American female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination and have a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
- 1958: Ella Fitzgerald, first woman to win multiple Grammy awards.
- 1961: Judy Garland, first woman to win Album of the Year.
- 1964: Astrud Gilberto, first woman to win Record of the Year.
- 1971: Carole King, first woman to win Song of the Year and first to win multiple General Field Grammys.
- 1996: Ashley Cleveland, first woman to win a Grammy award for best rock gospel album.
- 2018 Taleedah Tamer, first Saudi woman to be featured in an international fashion campaign and walk a couture runway
Literature (aside from the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes)
- 1970: Bernice Rubens, first woman to win the Man Booker Prize (for The Elected Member.)
- 1992: Mona Van Duyn, first female poet laureate of the United States.
- 2015: Julie Schumacher, first woman to win the Thurber Prize for American Humor.
- 2015: Zurinah Hassan, first female Malaysian National Laureate.
- 1918: Sara Teasdale, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for her work Love Songs.)
- 1921: Zona Gale, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (for Miss Lulu Bett.)
- 1921: Edith Wharton, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (for the novel The Age of Innocence.)
Television (aside from the Emmy Awards)
- 1949: Arlene Francis, first woman to host a television game show (Blind Date.)
- 1957: Decoy: Police Woman was the first television show to feature a female police officer, and in fact the first to be built around a female protagonist.
Theater (aside from the Tony Awards)
- 1956: Alice Childress, first woman to win an Obie Award, which she won for best off-Broadway play for her play Trouble in Mind.
- 2011: Cricket Myers, first woman to win a Drama Desk Award for outstanding sound design.
- 1998: Julie Taymor, first woman to win a Tony Award for best director of a musical.
- 2004: Phylicia Rashād, first African-American woman to win a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.
- 2013: Cyndi Lauper, first woman to win a Tony Award for Best Original Score solo.
- 2014: Audra McDonald, won a Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play this year, making her the first woman to ever earn six Tony Award wins (not counting honorary awards) and the first woman to win a Tony Award in all four acting categories.
- 2015: Tony Award for Best Original Score was won by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, making them the first female writing team to win that award.
- Llanchie Stevenson, first African-American woman to dance for the Radio City Music Hall ballet company and the National Ballet of Washington, D.C.
- 1982:Debra Austin, first African-American woman to become a principal at a major American ballet company.
- 1990: Lauren Anderson, first African-American woman to become a principal at Houston Ballet
- 2016: Stephanie Kurlow, first Hijabi ballerina
- 1922–1937: Aloha Wanderwell, first woman to drive around the world.
- 1949: Jenny Lou Carson, the first woman to write a No. 1 country music hit.
- 1960: Joanne Woodward, earns the first Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
- 1984: Lydia Canaan, listed in the catalog of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives as the first rock star of the Middle East.
- 1987: Aretha Franklin, first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- 1990: Rachel Rachel, first all-female Christian rock band in American and world Contemporary Christian music history.
- 2011: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, first woman to solely direct an animated feature from a major Hollywood studio (Kung Fu Panda 2).
- 2014: Judith Weir, first female Master of the Queen's Music.
- 2017: Patty Jenkins, first woman to direct a studio superhero comic book live-action theatrical release film (Wonder Woman).
Aviation and Aerospace
|June 4, 1784||Élisabeth Thible||First known woman to ride in a hot air balloon.|
|1805||Sophie Blanchard||First woman to pilot a hot air balloon.|
|March 8, 1910||Raymonde de Laroche||First woman to receive a pilot's license.|
|1910–1911||Lilian Bland||First woman in the world to design, build, and fly an aircraft.|
|1912||Harriet Quimby||First woman to fly across the English Channel.|
|1914||Eugenie Mikhailovna Shakhovskaya||First woman commissioned as a military pilot; she flew reconnaissance missions for the Czar in 1914.|
|1915||Marie Marvingt||First woman to fly a fighter plane in combat.|
|1928||Amelia Earhart||First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.|
|1930||Amy Johnson||First woman to fly from Britain to Australia.|
|1933||Lotfia ElNadi||First African woman and first Arab woman to earn a pilot's license.|
|May 18, 1953||Jacqueline Cochran||First woman to break the sound barrier.|
|June 16, 1963||Valentina Tereshkova||First woman in space.|
|1963||Betty Miller||First female pilot to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.|
|1964||Jerrie Mock||First woman to fly solo around the world.|
|1976||Emily Howell Warner||First woman to become an American airline captain.|
|1978||Judy Cameron||First female pilot hired to fly for a major Canadian carrier (Air Canada).|
|1984||Svetlana Savitskaya||First woman to space walk.|
|February 1995||Eileen Collins||First woman space shuttle pilot.|
|2004||Irene Koki Mutungi, from Kenya||First African woman to qualify to captain a commercial aircraft; she qualified to command the Boeing 737.|
|2005||Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi||First Saudi woman to become a commercial airline pilot.|
|September 18, 2006||Anousheh Ansari||First female space tourist.|
|2009||Patricia Mawuli Nyekodzi||Ghana's first female civilian pilot, and the first woman in West Africa certified to build and maintain Rotax engines.|
|2014||Nicola Scaife, from Australia||Winner of the first women's hot air balloon world championship, which was held in Poland.|
|2015||Dalia||Iraq's first female commercial airline pilot.|
|2015||Ouma Laouali||Niger's first female pilot.|
Born Lucy Hobbs on March 14, 1833 in Constable, New York. She was initially denied admission to dental school, then began private study with a professor from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. In November 1865, she entered the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, where in 1866 she earned her doctorate in dentistry, becoming the first woman in the United States to do so. She married James Taylor and he followed her into the practice of dentistry. The two moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where they practiced together until her husband's death in 1886. She retired and became active in women's rights, and died in 1910.
|1608||Juliana Morell||First woman to earn a doctorate degree.|
|1678||Elena Cornaro Piscopia||First woman to earn a Philosophy doctorate degree.|
|1732||Laura Bassi||First woman to officially teach at a European university.|
|1875||Stefania Wolicka-Arnd||First woman to receive a PhD in the modern era.|
- 1950: Geronima Pécson – first Filipino and first woman elected to the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- 1981: Jeane Kirkpatrick – First woman to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations.
- 1946: Katharine Graham first female publisher of a major American newspaper.
- 2004: Catherine Pepinster – first woman to be editor of British newspaper The Tablet in its 175-year history.
- 1903: Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics; she shared the prize with Antoine Henri Becquerel and Pierre Curie. First woman to win a Nobel Prize.
- 1905: Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Peace.
- 1909: Selma Lagerlöf, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- 1911: Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. First person (and only woman to date) to win two Nobel Prizes. Only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
- 1947: Gerty Cori, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; she shared the prize with Carl Ferdinand Cori and Bernardo Alberto Houssay. Although born in Prague, Gerty Cori is considered the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in medicine. She had become a U.S. citizen in 1928.
- 1977: Barbara McClintock, first woman to win an unshared Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and since she was American, the first American woman to do so.
- 2009: Elinor Ostrom, first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and since she was American, the first American woman to do so; she shared the prize with Oliver E. Williamson.
Historic firsts for women in government:
- Khertek Anchimaa-Toka, Tuvan People's Republic (1940–1944): The first female head of state (Chairperson of the Presidium of the Little Khural) of a partially recognized country.
- Sukhbaataryn Yanjmaa, Mongolia (1953–1954): The first female acting head of state (Chairperson of the Presidium of the State Great Khural).
- Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka (1960–1965): The first female prime minister (head of government). She served again 1970–77 and 1994–2000; in total she served for 17 years.
- Golda Meir, Israel (1969–1974): The first female prime minister in the Middle East.
- Indira Gandhi, India (1966–1977): The first female prime minister of a present-day G20 country. She served again 1980–1984.
- Soong Ching-ling, China (1968–1972): The first female acting co-head of state (Co-Chairperson). She later served as Honorary President for 12 days in 1981.
- Isabel Perón, Argentina (1974–1976): The first female president, head of state and head of government.
- Elisabeth Domitien, Central African Republic (1975–1976): The first female prime minister of an African country.
- Margaret Thatcher, United Kingdom (1979–1990): The first female prime minister of a G7/P5 country.
- Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Iceland (1980–1996): The first democratically directly elected female president. With a presidency of exactly sixteen years, she also remains the longest-serving elected female head of state of any country to date.
- Jeanne Sauvé, Canada (1984–1990): The first female head of state in North America.
- Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan (1988–1990): The first female prime minister of any muslim majority country. She served again 1993–96.
- Kim Campbell, Canada (1993): The first female head of government in North America.
- Lala Shevket, Azerbaijan (1993–1994): The first female Secretary of State.
- Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka (1994–2000): The first time that a nation possessed a female president (Chandrika Kumaratunga) and a female prime minister (Sirimavo Bandaranaike) simultaneously. This also marked the first time that a female prime minister (Sirimavo Bandaranaike) directly succeeded another female prime minister (Chandrika Kumaratunga).
- Ruth Perry, Liberia (1996–1997): The first female head of state in Africa. Carmen Pereira of Guinea-Bissau and Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi had previously acted as head of state for 2 days and 101 days respectively.
- Mary McAleese, Ireland (1997–2011): The first time that a female president directly succeeded another female president, Mary Robinson.
- Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland (2009–2013): As prime minister, she was the world's first openly lesbian world leader, first female world leader to wed a same-sex partner while in office.
- Elizabeth II, United Kingdom (1952–present): In 2015, she became the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history. In 2016, she became the longest currently serving head of state and longest currently reigning monarch.
- Carrie Lam, Hong Kong (2017–present): The first female chief executive of Hong Kong, elected with 777 votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee.
Some of the most prominent female leaders of world powers in recent decades were (listed by name then position):
- Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina
- Corazon Aquino, 11th President of The Philippines
- Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 14th President of The Philippines
- Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India
- Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Tansu Çiller, Prime Minister of Turkey
- Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Benazir Bhutto. Prime Minister of Pakistan
- Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
- Kim Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada
- Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia
- Edith Cresson, Prime Minister of France
- Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway
- Pratibha Patil, President of India
- Soong Ching-ling (AKA Rosamond Soong), Honorary President of the People's Republic of China
- Director of the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Zedong
- Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of Indonesia
Current women leaders of national governments
The following women leaders are currently in office as either the head of their nation's government or the head of state:
|Date term began||Title of office||Name||Country|
|22 November 2005||Chancellor||Angela Merkel||Germany|
|6 January 2009||Prime Minister||Sheikh Hasina||Bangladesh (also Prime Minister 1996–2001)|
|12 July 2009||President||Dalia Grybauskaitė||Lithuania|
|16 October 2013||Prime Minister||Erna Solberg||Norway|
|4 April 2014||President||Marie Louise Coleiro Preca||Malta|
|18 February 2015||President||Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović||Croatia|
|21 March 2015||Prime Minister||Saara Kuugongelwa||Namibia|
|5 June 2015||President||Ameenah Gurib||Mauritius|
|22 August 2015||President||Bidhya Bhandari||Nepal|
|6 April 2016||State Counsellor||Aung San Suu Kyi||Myanmar|
|20 May 2016||President||Tsai Ing-wen||Taiwan|
|28 January 2016||President||Hilda Heine||Marshall Islands|
|13 July 2016||Prime Minister||Theresa May||United Kingdom|
|10 October 2016||President||Kersti Kaljulaid||Estonia|
|29 June 2017||Prime Minister||Ana Brnabić||Serbia|
|14 September 2017||President||Halimah Yacob||Singapore|
|17 September 2017||Prime Minister||Mercedes Aráoz||Peru|
|26 October 2017||Prime Minister||Jacinda Ardern||New Zealand|
|30 November 2017||Prime Minister||Katrín Jakobsdóttir||Iceland|
|29 January 2018||Prime Minister||Viorica Dăncilă||Romania|
Women as cabinet ministers
Women holding prominent cabinet posts have grown in numbers worldwide during the 20th and 21st centuries, and in recent years have increasingly held the top profile portfolios for their governments in non-traditional areas for women in government, such as national security and defense, finance, revenue and foreign relations.
Ministers of foreign affairs
The following women have held posts in recent years as ministers of foreign relations or the equivalent for their respective national governments:
|Date term began||Title of office||Name||Country|
|1957–03 and 1983–07||Minister of Foreign Affairs||Tahira Tahirova||Azerbaijan|
|1983–07 and 1983–12||Minister of Foreign Affairs||Sima Eyvazova||Azerbaijan|
|1983–12 and 1987–12||Minister of Foreign Affairs||Elmira Gafarova||Azerbaijan|
|1993–07 and 1994–01||Secretary of State||Lala Shevket||Azerbaijan|
|2007–08 and 2011–||-||Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis||Cyprus|
|2008||-||(Acting) Helen Clark||New Zealand|
|2008–||-||Antonella Mularoni||San Marino|
|2009||-||Maria Adiato Diallo Nandigna||Guinea-Bissau|
|2009–13||Secretary of State||Hillary Clinton||United States|
|2009||-||Patricia Isabel Rodas Baca||Honduras|
|2009–||-||Maite Nkoana-Mashabane||South Africa|
|2009–||-||Naha Mint Mouknass||Mauritania|
|2010–||-||Baroness Ashton of Upholland||the European Union|
|2010||-||(Acting) Rasa Juknevičienė||Lithuania|
|2010–11||Minister of Foreign Affairs||Lene Espersen||Denmark|
|2010–11||-||Aminatou Maïga Touré||Niger|
|2010–||-||María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar||Colombia|
|2010–11||-||(Acting) Vlora Çitaku||Kosovo|
|2010–11||-||Trinidad Jiménez García-Herrera||Spain|
|2011–13||-||Hina Rabbani Khar||Pakistan|
|2011||-||(Acting) Erlinda F. Basilio||Philippines|
|2013–14||Minister of Foreign Affairs||Viola Onwuliri||Nigeria|
|2014–||Minister of External Affairs||Sushma Swaraj||India|
Ministers of defense and national security
The following women have held posts in recent years as ministers of defense, national security or an equivalent for their respective national governments:
|Date term began||Title of office||Name||Country|
|2002–04||Minister of Defence||Michelle Bachelet||Chile|
|2005–10||Minister of Defence||Nilda Garré||Argentina|
|2006–07||Minister of Defence||Viviane Blanlot Soza||Chile|
|2006–11||Minister of Defense||Cristina Fontes Lima||Cape Verde|
|2007–09||Minister of Defence||Vlasta Parkanová||Czech Republic|
|2007||Minister of Defence||Guadalupe Larriva González||Ecuador|
|2007||Minister of Defence||Lorena Escudero Durán||Ecuador|
|2007||(Acting) Minister of Defence||Marina Pendeš||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|2007–||Secretary General of Defence with Rank of Minister||Ruth Tapia Roa||Nicaragua|
|2007||Minister of Defence||Yuriko Koike||Japan|
|2007–09||Minister of Defence||Cécile Manorohanta||Madagascar|
|2008–||Minister of Defence||Carme Chacón i Piqueras||Spain|
|2008–10||Minister of Defence||Elsa Maria Neto D'Alva Texeira de Barros Pinto||São Tomé e Príncipe|
|2008–||Minister of Veterans' Affairs||Judith Collins||New Zealand|
|2008–||Associate Minister of Defence||Heather Roy||New Zealand|
|2008–||Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control||Georgina te Heuheu||New Zealand|
|2008–||Minister of Defence||Ljubica Jelušič||Slovenia|
|2008–||Minister of Defence||Rasa Juknevičienė||Lithuania|
|2009–13||Secretary of Homeland Security||Janet Napolitano||United States|
|2009–12||Minister of Defence and Veterans' Affairs||Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu||South Africa|
|2009–11||Minister of Defence||Bidhya Devi Bhandari||Nepal|
|2009–11||Minister of Defence||Angélique Ngoma||Gabon|
|2010–2011||Minister of Defence||Gitte Lillelund Bech||Denmark|
|2010||(Acting) Minister of Defence and Security||Lesego Motsumi||Botswana|
|2010–13||Minister of Security||Nilda Garré||Argentina|
|2011||Minister of Defence||María Cecilia Chacón Chacón||Bolivia|
|2012–||Minister of Defence and Military Veterans||Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula||South Africa|
|2012–||Minister of Defense||Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert||Netherlands|
|2013–||Minister of Defence||Mimi Kodheli||Albania|
|2013–||Minister of Defence||Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide||Norway|
|2013–15||Minister of Security||María Cecilia Rodríguez||Argentina|
|2013–||Minister of Defence||Ursula von der Leyen||Germany|
|2014–||Minister of Defence||Roberta Pinotti||Italy|
|2015–||Minister of Defence||Marise Payne||Australia|
|2015–||Minister of Security||Patricia Bullrich||Argentina|
|2016–18||Minister of Defence||Maria Dolores de Cospedal||Spain|
|2017–||Minister of Defence||Radmila Šekerinska||Republic of Macedonia|
|2017–17||Minister of Armed Forces||Sylvie Goulard||France|
|2017–||Minister of Armed Forces||Florence Parly||France|
|2018–||Minister of Defence||Margarita Robles||Spain|
Ministers of finance or revenue
The following women have held posts in recent years as ministers of finance, revenue, or an equivalent for their respective national governments:
|Date term began||Title of office||Name||Country|
|1952–07||Minister of Social Security||Zuleykha Seyidmammadova||Azerbaijan|
|1988–11||Minister of Social Security||Lydia Rasulova||Azerbaijan|
|1990–91||Minister of Economy||Zélia Cardoso de Mello||Brazil|
|1990–93||Minister of Finance||Ruth Richardson||New Zealand|
|1998–02||Minister of Finance||Brigita Schmögnerová||Slovakia|
|2003–06||Minister of Finance||Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala||Nigeria|
|2005–10, 2016–||Minister of Finance||Sri Mulyani Indrawati||Indonesia|
|2005–07||Minister of Economy and Public Finances||Felisa Miceli||Argentina|
|2008–11||Minister of Economy and Competitiveness||Fátima Maria Carvalho Fialho||Capo Verde|
|2008–11||Minister of Finance||Diana Dragutinović||Serbia|
|2008–||Minister for the National Investment Plan||Verica Kalanović||Serbia|
|2008||Minister of Finance||Wilma Josefina Salgado Tamayo||Ecuador|
|2008–||Minister of Finance||María Elsa Viteri Acaiturri||Ecuador|
|2009–||Minister of Economy||Helena Nosolini Embalo||Guinea-Bissau|
|2009–||Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors||Christina Romer||United States|
|2009–||Minister of Finance||Clotilde Niragira||Burundi|
|2009–11||Minister of Finance||Syda Namirembe Bumba||Uganda|
|2009–11||Government Councillor of Finance and Economy||Sophie Thevenoux||Monaco|
|2009–11||Minister of Finance and Economy||Elena Salgado Méndez||Spain|
|2009–||Minister of Finance||Ingrida Simonytė||Lithuania|
|2009–||Minister of Economic Affairs||Michelle Winklaar||Aruba (Dutch External Territory)|
|2009–11||Minister of Finance||Raya Haffar al-Hassan||Lebanon|
|2010–11||Minister of Economy||Lamia Assi||Syria|
|2010–||Minister of Economic Policy||Katiuska Kruskaya King Mantilla||Ecuador|
|2010–||Chairperson of Economic Planning Council||Christina Y. Liu||Taiwan|
|2010–||Economic Secretary to the Treasury||Justine Greening||United Kingdom|
|2010–||Minister of Economic and Stability Development||Vera Kobalia||Georgia|
|2010–||Minister of Economy||Darja Radić||Slovenia|
|2010–11||Minister of Finance||Wonnie Boedhoe||Suriname|
|2010–13||Minister of Finance||Penny Wong||Australia|
|2010–||Federal Councillor of Finance||Eveline Widmer-Sclumpf||Switzerland|
|2010–||Minister for Economy||Kim Wilson||Bermuda (British Dependent Territory)|
|2010||(Acting) Minister of Finance||Elfreda Tamba||Liberia|
|2010–||Finance Minister||Martina Dalić||Croatia|
|2011||(Acting) Minister of Finance||Dinara Shaydieva||Kyrgyzstan|
|2011–||Federal Minister of Finance||Maria Fekter||Austria|
|2011–||Minister of National Revenue||Gail Shea||Canada|
|2011–2014||Minister of Finance||Jutta Urpilainen||Finland|
|2011–||Minister of Budget||Valérie Pécresse||France|
|2011–||Minister of Economy and Finances||Adidjatou Mathys||Benin|
|2011–||Minister of Budget, Finances, Taxes, Numeric Economy||Sonia Backès||Nouvelles Caledonie (French External Territory)|
|2011–||Minister of Finance and Economic Planning||Maria Kiwanuka||Uganda|
|2011–||Minister of the Treasury||Anne Craine||Isle of Man|
|2011–2014||Minister of Economy||Margrethe Vestager||Denmark|
|2011–2015||Coordinating Minister for the Economy||Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala||Nigeria|
|2012–2013||Minister of Finance||Katrín Júlíusdóttir||Iceland|
|2013–2015||Minister of State and Finance||Maria Luís Albuquerque||Portugal|
|2013–||Minister of Finance||Siv Jensen||Norway|
|2014–||Minister of Finance||Magdalena Andersson||Sweden|
|2015–||Minister of Finance||Kemi Adeosun||Nigeria|
|2018–||Minister of Finance||María Jesús Montero||Spain|
|2018–||Minister of Economy||Nadia Calviño||Spain|
Comparing women's integration into branches of government
Women have been notably in fewer numbers in the executive branch of government. The gender gap has been closing, however, albeit slowly The first women other than monarchs to hold head of state positions were in socialist countries. The first was Khertek Anchimaa-Toka of the Tuvan People's Republic from 1940–1944, followed by Sükhbaataryn Yanjmaa of the Mongolian People's Republic 1953–1954 and Soong Ching-ling of the People's Republic of China from 1968–1972 and 1981.
Following the socialist countries, the Nordic countries have been forerunners in including women in the executive branch. The second cabinet Brundtland (1986–1989) was historical in that 8 out of 18 cabinet members were women, and in 2007 the second cabinet Stoltenberg (2005–2013) was more than 50% women.
In 2003, Finland had a historical moment when all top leaders of the country were women and also represented different political parties: Social democrat Tarja Halonen was President, Riitta Uosukainen from National Coalition Party was Speaker of the Parliament and after the parliamentary elections of 2003 Anneli Jäätteenmäki from Center party was on her way to become the first female Prime Minister of Finland. By June 22, 2010 Mari Kiviniemi of the Centre Party was appointed the second female Prime Minister of Finland.
Between 2007 and 2011 the Finnish cabinet was 60% female, with a female Prime Minister from 2010 to 2011. Between 2014 and 2015 the Finnish cabinet was 59% female.
The present Danish government is a coalition between the Social Democrats, the Social-Liberal Party and the Socialist People's Party. All three parties have female leaders. Helle Thorning-Schmidt is Prime Minister.
It was not until World War I and the first socialist revolutions that the first few women became members of governments. Alexandra Kollontai became the first female to hold a minister position, as the People's Commissar for Social Welfare in Soviet Russia in 1917. Nina Bang, Danish Minister of Education from 1924–26, was the world's second full female cabinet minister.
The first female head of government was Evgenia Bosh, the Bolshevik military leader who held the People's Secretary of Internal Affairs position in the Ukraine People's Republic of the Soviets of Workers and Peasants from 1917–1918, which was responsible for executive functions. Nevertheless, development was slow and it was not until the end of the 20th century that female ministers stopped being unusual.
The first government organization formed with the goal of women's equality was the Zhenotdel, in Soviet Russia.
According to a 2006 report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 16% of all parliament members in the world are female. In 1995, the United Nations set a goal of 30% female representation. The current annual growth rate of women in national parliaments is about 0.5% worldwide. At this rate, gender parity in national legislatures will not be achieved until 2068.
The top ten countries in terms of number of female parliamentary members are Rwanda with 56.3%, Sweden (47.0%), Cuba (43.2%), Finland (41.5%), the Netherlands (41.3%), Argentina (40.0%), Denmark (38.0%), Angola (37.3%), Costa Rica (36.8%), Spain (36.3%).As of 30 August 2008[update] Cuba has the highest percentage for countries without a quota. In South Asia, Nepal is highest in the rank of women participation in politics with (33%). Among East Asian countries, Taiwan has the highest percentage of women in Parliament (38.0%). In the United States in 2008, the New Hampshire State Senate became the first state legislature upper house to possess an elected female majority.
The United Kingdom and United States are roughly in line with the world average. The House of Lords has 139 women (19.7%), while there are 125 women (19.4%) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
On November 6, 2012, New Hampshire made US History by having all-female congressional delegation to Congress with Annie Kuster being elected to represent New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives, Carol Shea-Porter regained her House seat to represent New Hampshire's 1st congressional district in the House of Representatives, and with Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte both represented New Hampshire in the United States senate.
On November 8, 2016, New Hampshire again made US History by having an all-female, all-Democratic delegation to the US Congress. Incumbent Republican senator, Kelly Ayotte, was defeated by then-New Hampshire Governor, Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, in the senate election to serve alongside Democratic senator, Jeanne Shaheen. Representative Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, defeated incumbent representative, Frank Guinta, a Republican, again in New Hampshire's 1st congressional district to serve alongside Ann Kuster, who represents New Hampshire 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatove to achieve another historic "women's first".
There has been an increasing focus on women's representation at a local level. Most of this research is focused on developing countries. Governmental decentralization often results in local government structures that are more open to the participation of women, both as elected local councilors and as the clients of local government services. A 2003 survey conducted by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a global network supporting inclusive local governments, found that the average proportion of women in local council was 15%. In leadership positions, the proportion of women was lower: for instance, 5% of mayors of Latin American municipalities are women.
According to a comparative study of women in local governments in East Asia and the Pacific, women have been more successful in reaching decision-making position in local governments than at the national level. Local governments tend to be more accessible and have more available positions. Also, women's role in local governments may be more accepted because they are seen as an extension of their involvement in the community.
The local panchayat system in India provides an example of women's representation at the local governmental level. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1992 mandated panchayat elections throughout the country. The reforms reserved 33% of the seats for women and for castes and tribes proportional to their population. Over 700,000 women were elected after the reforms were implemented in April 1993.
- European countries by percentage of women in national parliaments
- List of the first female holders of political offices
- List of elected or appointed female heads of state
- List of elected or appointed female deputy heads of government
- Council of Women World Leaders
- Women in positions of power
- Critical mass (gender politics)
- Women in Parliaments Global Forum
- Women in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
- Women in the House of Lords
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- 1949: Sara Christian became the first woman to race in NASCAR.
- 1976: Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify and compete in the Indianapolis 500
- 1977: Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify and compete in the Daytona 500
- 1989: Shawna Robinson became the first woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned stock car race, winning in the Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series at New Asheville Speedway.
- 2005: Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500
- 2008: Danica Patrick became the first woman to win a Indy Car Series race.
- 2013: Danica Patrick became the first woman to race a complete full-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series schedule.
- 2013: Danica Patrick became the first woman to win a pole position for NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series in the 2013 Daytona 500.
- 2013: Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the Daytona 500.
- 1935: Regina Jonas became the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi.
- Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–1976): Largest Christian following in American History.
- 1980: Marjorie Matthews, first woman to become a bishop of the United Methodist Church.
- 1989: Barbara Harris, first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion.
- March 12, 1994: The first women were ordained as Church of England priests; 32 women were ordained together.
- 2006: Katharine Jefferts Schori, first woman presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
- 2008: Kay Goldsworthy, first woman consecrated bishop in Australia; she was made a bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia.
- 2014: Libby Lane, first woman consecrated bishop in the Church of England.
- August 6, 1926: Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim across the English Channel.
- 1937: Grace Hudowalski was the ninth person and first woman to climb all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks.
- 1940s: Lois Fegan Farrell became the first female reporter to cover a professional hockey team in America.
- 1960: Mary McGee becomes the first official female motorcycle racer in the United States by earning a license from the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme. She is also the first woman to compete in the Baja 500 off-road race.
- 1960-- Wilma Rudolph, track and field champion, became the first American woman to win three gold medals in the Rome Olympics. She elevated women's track to a major presence in the United States. As a member of the black community, she is also regarded as a civil rights and women's rights pioneer. Along with other 1960 Olympic athletes such as Cassius Clay (who later became Muhammad Ali), Rudolph became an international star due to the first international television coverage of the Olympics that year.
- November 27, 1968: Penny Ann Early, first woman to play major professional basketball, in an ABA game (Kentucky Colonels vs. Los Angeles Stars).
- August 15, 1970: Patricia Palinkas, first woman to play professionally in an American football game.
- May 16, 1975: Junko Tabei, first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1993: Halli Reid became the first woman to swim across Lake Erie, swimming from Long Point, Ontario, to North East, Pennsylvania, in 17 hours.
- October 18, 1997: Liz Heaston, first female to play and score in a college football game, kicking two extra points in the 1997 Linfield vs. Willamette football game.
- December 26, 2008: Sarah Thomas, first woman to officiate a NCAA football bowl game.
- September 4, 2009: Carolynn Sells becomes the first woman to win a solo motorcycle race on the Snaefell Mountain Course in the Isle of Man when she won the Ultra Lightweight race at the 2009 Manx Grand Prix. Carolynn won the race in a time of 1hr 25mins 24.51seconds (106.022 mph) in wet and windy conditions, beating her nearest opponent by 1 minute and 2 seconds.
- May 4, 2012: Rosie Napravnik became the first woman jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks, riding Believe You Can.
- August 9, 2012: Shannon Eastin becomes the first woman to officiate a National Football League game in a pre-season matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers.
- 2012: Anna Wardley, from England, became the first person to complete a solo swim around Portsea Island recognized by the British Long Distance Swimming Association.
- May 31, 2013: Lydia Nsekera became the first female FIFA Executive Committee member.
- May 18, 2013: Rosie Napravnik places third in the Preakness Stakes on Mylute, making her the first woman to have ridden in all three Triple Crown races. On June 8, 2013 she rode the filly Unlimited Budget to a 6th-place finish in the 2013 Belmont, becoming the first woman to ride all three Triple Crown races in the same year.
- June 2013: Ashley Freiberg became the first woman to claim an overall GT3 Cup Challenge victory in North America, winning the Porsche IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge.
- September 23, 2013: Sarah Outen arrived in a small harbor on the Aleutian island of Adak, and thus became the first person to row solo from Japan to Alaska, as well as the first woman to complete a mid-Pacific row from West to East.
- 2013: Davie Jane Gilmour became the first woman to lead the Board of Directors for Little League.
- 2013: UFC 157, which took place in February, featured not only the first women's fight in UFC history but also the first UFC event to be headlined by two female fighters (Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche).
- 2013: On her fifth attempt and at age 64, Diana Nyad became the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage, swimming from Havana to Key West.
- 2013: Scotland's solicitor general, Lesley Thomson, became the first woman to be appointed to Scottish Rugby's board.
- 2013: Anna Wardley, from England, became the first woman to swim non-stop around the Isle of Wight.
- 2013: Peggy O'Neal, an American-born lawyer, became the first woman in the Australian Football League to hold the position of club president, being chosen as the president of the Richmond Football Club.
- 2013: Tracey Gaudry became the first woman appointed as vice president of the Union Cycliste Internationale.
- 2013: Maria Toor, a squash player from South Waziristan, became the winner of the first ever women's event in the Nash Cup in Canada by beating Milou van der Heijden of the Netherlands 13–11, 11–3, 11–9.
- 2013: Tatyana McFadden became the first athlete to win six gold medals at a championships during the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon. She claimed gold in every event from the 100 meters through to the 5,000 meters.
- 2013: Tatyana McFadden won the Boston, Chicago, London, and New York marathons in 2013. This makes her the first person – able-bodied or otherwise – to win the four major marathons in the same year. She also set a new course record for the Chicago Marathon (1 hour, 42 minutes, 35 seconds).
- 2013: Denise Fejtek became the first woman to complete the "Peak to Heat Double" – the combination of summiting Mount Everest and finishing the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She reached the Everest Summit on May 23, 2010 and finished the Hawaii Ironman in October 2013.
- 2013: Sonya Baumstein became the first person to stand-up paddleboard across the Bering Strait.
- 2013: Meredith Novack became the fastest person, and first woman, to pull a double crossing of the Auau Channel in Hawaii. Her time was 11 hours and one minute.
- 2013: Rosie Napravnik won 17 races to become the first woman to capture the leading rider title at Keeneland.
- 2013: Olivia Prokopova became the first woman to win the World Crazy Golf Championship.
- 2013: Mia Hamm became the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame in Pachuca, Mexico.
- 2013: Emily Bell became the first woman to kayak the length of Britain.
- 2013: Casey Stoney became the first female member of the Professional Footballers' Association's management committee.
- 2013: Jodi Eller became the first woman to complete the 1,515 mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.
- 2013: On March 1, 2013, Privateers owner and president Nicole Kirnan served as the team's coach for the first time, making her the first woman to coach a professional hockey team in the United States.
- 2014: Torah Bright became the first woman to qualify for three snowboard disciplines at a Winter Olympics, specifically snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle.
- 2014: Ashley Freiberg became the first woman to win an overall race in Continental Tire Challenge History when she won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Her co-driver was Shelby Blackstock.
- 2014: The first women competed in ski jumping at the Olympics.
- 2014: Jennifer Welter became the first woman non-kicker or placekick-holder to play in a men's pro football game; she played running back for the Texas Revolution.
- 2014: Abbey Holmes became the first woman to kick 100 goals in one regular season of Australian Rules football.
- 2014: Annabel Anderson, from New Zealand, became the first woman to cross Cook Strait standing on a paddleboard.
- 2014: Peta Searle became the first woman appointed as a development coach in the Australian Football League when she was chosen by St Kilda as a development coach.
- 2014: 16-year-old Katie Ormerod, from Britain, became the first female snowboarder to land a backside double cork 1080.
- 2014: Shelby Osborne became the first female defensive back in American football when she was drafted by Campbellsville University in Kentucky.
- 2014: Amélie Mauresmo became the first woman to coach a top male tennis player (specifically, Andy Murray).
- 2014: Corinne Diacre became the first woman to coach a men's professional soccer team (Clermont Foot) in a competitive match in France on August 4, 2014, her 40th birthday.
- 2014: Cecilia Brækhus, from Norway, became the first Norwegian and the first woman to hold all major world championship titles in her weight division (welterweight) in boxing.
- 2014: On August 15, 2014, Mo'ne Davis was the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game for the Taney Dragons and earned the win, and she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history.
- 2014: Amy Hughes, from England, ran 53 marathons in 53 days, thus setting the record for the most marathons run on consecutive days by any person, male or female.
- 2015: Jennifer Welter became the first woman hired to coach in men's pro football when the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football league announced that Welter was hired to coach linebackers and special teams.
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