The First Women
In a world where men rule, it is rare seeing a woman make headlines. But, here is a list of women who broke records, rose to the top, and broke the glass ceiling and beyond!
- Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is the first democratically elected female head of state - more specifically, Iceland. She served as president for a term of 16 years, the longest serving female leader to date, and the only female president of Iceland so far! When she ran for President in 1980, women made up only 5% of the parliament in Iceland! Female political participation in Iceland significantly increased after Finnbogadóttir’s win. As of 2018, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world. They have recently enacted a law which makes the gender pay gap illegal. Finnbogadóttir’s academic profile is beyond impressive. She has been part of a theatre company, taught in Universities and was appointed the President of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology.
- Valentina Tereshkova holds the record as the first woman in space when she launched on the Vostok 6 mission in 1963. She completed 48 orbits of the Earth in her 3 days in space. She rose from being a worker at a textile factory, to an amateur skydiver, to honorary member of the Soviet Air Force! Inspired by Yuri Gagarin, Tereshkova volunteered for the Soviet space program. She was selected out of 400 applicants and after 18 months of training with 4 other women, she was the only one chosen to be sent to space. Tereshkova also remains to be the only woman to go to space on a solo mission.
- Hélène de Pourtalès is the first woman to participate in the Olympics. She took part in the 1 to 2 ton sailing event in the 1900 Paris Olympics, as a crewmember of the boat Lérina. She also holds the record for being first woman to win a gold medal in the history of sports! Pourtalès grew up in a well-to-do, influential family. She is revered as a sports icon; revolutionizing the field of women's sporting.
- Gauhar Jaan is the first woman to record a song. IN Novmebr 1902, she recorded a raga, ‘Jogiya’, at the Great Eastern Hotel in Calcutta. By 1903, her records had begun appearing in markets, and she shot to fame. She is a multidisciplinary artist, excelling in Kathak dance forms and a variety of music forms. She has recorded more than 600 songs in 10 different languages between 1902 and 1920.
- Junko Tabei was the first woman to climb Mount Everest. Tabei started mountain climbing at the age of 10, while on a class climbing trip to Mount Nasu, Japan. At the age of 35 in 1975, Tabei reached the 29,000 foot summit of Mount Everest. Later, she summited the highest peaks in more than 70 countries. In 1992, she became the First Woman to scale the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents!
So which of these women inspired you the most? Tell us below.