In honor of March being recognized as Women’s History Month, we would like to dedicate a blog post each week to spotlighting a few leading ladies from years past that have helped pave the way for future Boss Ladies to come. Because of the accomplishments of these amazing women, we can encourage our daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends to dream big and reach for the stars fearlessly. Here are a few women that have broken down barriers in United States politics.
Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973)
In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress as a representative of Montana in the House of Representatives. Jeannette was a major advocate for the creation of the Woman Suffrage Committee and as a member, she gave an influential speech on the constitutional amendment that would give women the right to vote, largely credited as the reason for its passage.
Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977)
Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman to serve as a governor in the United States in 1924, following the death of her husband. After her term as governor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Nellie as Director of the Mint in 1933. To this day, Nellie remains as the only woman to serve as the Governor of Wyoming.
Sandra Day O’Connor (1930- )
Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed as the first female Supreme Court Justice in 1981 after her nomination was confirmed by the Senate 99-0. Often a swing vote within the court, Sandra is famous for her deciding vote in the influential cases of Bush v. Gore, Roe v. Wade, and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. In 2009, President Obama honored Sandra’s work for the country with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Madeleine Albright (1937- )
In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, making her the highest-ranking woman in the United States Government. As a child of parents who fled Nazi Germany in 1939, Madeleine used her position to advocate for human rights, pushing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to intervene in Kosovo in 1999 and normalize U.S. relations with China and Vietnam. Madeleine was also the first Secretary of State to travel to North Korea.
Nancy Pelosi (1940 – )
In 1987, Speaker Nancy Pelosi succeeded Sala Burton in a special election, winning her first election into the U.S House of Representatives. Since then, she has served on influential committees such as the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees and was the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee until her election as Minority Leader. In 2006, she was unanimously elected by the Democratic caucus to become the first female Speaker of the House and, following her 2019 as Speaker, is the first person to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.