11 Incredible Female Firsts Throughout History

Today is International Girls Day—a celebration of females all around the nation and a reminder that girls can do anything!

Women have been defying gender stereotypes and rising up in the ranks of different professions for centuries. In honor of this special day, we're presenting to you 11 special women who prove females know no limitations.

Charlotte Cooper (1900): First Woman to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

Charlotte Cooper, a female tennis player from London, won five single titles at the Wimbledon Championships and in 1900 won the tennis singles game at the Olympics, becoming the first female Olympic champion. Pretty cool, huh?

First woman to win an Olympic gold medal, Charlotte Cooper

(via Getty)

 

Marie Curie (1903): First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize

In 1903, Marie Curie, her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their joint research on the study of radiation. How nobel of Marie!

Marie Curie, the first female to win a Nobel Prize

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Raymonde de Laroche (1910): First Woman to Receive a Pilot's License

French female pilot Raymonde de Laroche paved the way for women pilots around the world when in 1910 she became the first woman ever to receive a pilot's license. She always knew that the sky was the limit. ✈️

Raymond de Leroche, the first woman to receive a woman's pilot license

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Edith Wharton (1921): First Woman to Win the Pulitzer Prize

The American novelist Edith Wharton became the first female Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 1921 for her 12th novelThe Age of Innocence. Fun fact, Edith didn't publish her first novel until she was 40, proving you're never too old to start chasing your dreams.

"The Age of Innocence" novel by Edith Whallton

(via Literary Traveler)

 

Amelia Earhart (1928): First Woman to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean

You've probably heard about this iconic woman in your history classes, but, ICYMI, this aviation pioneer and author inspired fellow female aviators when she flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Upon her return, Amelia received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for her accomplishment and went on to set several flying records and release best-selling books about her epic flying adventures. She mysteriously disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

Amelia Earhart

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Katharine Graham (1972): First Woman Fortune 500 CEO

If you want to be a girl boss yourself one day, look to American publisher Katherine Graham for inspiration. Katharine lead her family's newspaper, The Washington Post, for more than 20 years and helped play a key role in unveiling the Watergate conspiracy. This lady did not mess around.

Katherine Graham first woman CEO

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Junko Tabei (1975): First Woman to Summit Mount Everest

This Japanese mountaineer reached new heights of awesomeness when in 1975 she became the first woman to conquer Mount Everest. Junko went on to establish another climbing first for women when she ascended all Seven Summits by climbing to the highest peak on every continent. Pretty incredible.

Junko Tabei, firt woman to summit Mount Everest

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Margaret Thatcher (1979): First Female Prime Minister of Great Britain

Nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her uncompromising politics, Margaret Thatcher was not only the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain, but also the longest serving British Prime Minister in the 20th century. Major.

Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain

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Sandra Day O'Connor (1981): First Female Supreme Court Justice

Sandra Day O'Connor established a lot of firsts in the court system for women. Prior to her appointment to the Court, Sandra was an elected official and judge in Arizona and served as the first female Majority Leader in the United States as the Republican leader in the Arizona Senate. This woman is the definition of girl power. Sandra Day O'Connor, First Female Supreme Court Justice

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Sally Ride (1983): First (and Youngest) American Female in Space

This American physicist and astronaut was literally out of this world. Sally joined NASA in 1978 and five years later she became the first American woman (the third woman overall) to set foot in space. Sally, who was only 32 at the time of her first trip, still remains the youngest American astronaut (both male or female) to go to space. Incredible, right?

Sally Ride, First Female American Astronaut to go to Space

(via Getty)

 

Kathryn Bigelow (2010): First Woman to Win an Academy Award as Best Director

In 2010, American film director, producer and writer, Kathryn Bigelow, made major headway for females in the entertainment business by becoming the first woman to win an Academy Award as best director. She won the award for her thriller war film, The Hurt Locker. In the 88 years of Oscar history only four female directors have been nominated for this award, and Kathryn is the only one who has taken it home. Who will be next?

Kathryn Bigelow First Female Director to Win an Academy Award

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Who will be next?

 

Feels pretty good to be female right about now, right? If you're looking for some more inspiration from another fierce woman, hop on over HERE for Rachel Platten's motivating advice about overcoming hardships.