Monday March 7, 2022
Every year, we celebrate Women’s History Month — an annual observance when the United States honors women’s significant achievements in American history. Originally a week-long event that started in Santa Rosa, California, this celebration became a month-long in 1987 when Congress passed a resolution designating March as Women’s History Month.
There are many notable figures often spotlighted during Women’s History Month, including Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart, but we wanted to shine a light on some of the unsung heroes and their important contributions. Here are some wonderful women who have made an impact on American history.
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree and practice medicine in the United States. This pioneer of women’s medicine opened a dispensary in the New York slums, organized the Women’s Central Association of Relief during the Civil War, and established the Women’s Medical College in New York with her sister. In 1949, the Blackwell medal was named after her, which is given to women with outstanding achievements in the practice of medicine.
Mountaineer Junko Tabei reached new heights when she became the first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest. In 1992, she would strengthen her legacy by becoming the first woman ever to reach the Seven Peaks (the highest points of the earth's seven continents).
In 1964, Shirley Chisholm became the second African American in the New York State Legislature. She introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation, fought for racial and gender equality, and for ending the Vietnam War. Chisholm also made history when she became the first Black woman to be elected into Congress in 1968, and the first woman and Black American to enter the Democratic presidential race.
Known as one of the great modernist painters of the 20th century, Georgia O’Keeffe was a major figure in American art for decades. She is famous for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and scenic landscapes. Curious to see her work in person? Permanent collections of O’Keeffe's work can be seen in multiple museums across the United States.
Dr. Jane Cooke Wright
Have you heard of Dr. Jane Cooke Wright? She is credited as one of the cancer researchers to discover chemotherapy. She was also one of seven physicians (and the only woman) who helped found the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 1971, she was the first woman elected president of the New York Cancer Society.
Carolyn S. Shoemaker
Fun fact: Carolyn S. Shoemaker didn’t start her career as an astronomer until she was 51. During her career, she was a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy, once held the record for the most comets discovered by an individual (32), and also discovered over 500 asteroids. In 1995, she received the Scientist of the Year Award.
We hope you learned something new about American history, and that these women’s impressive achievements inspire you to follow your dreams and conquer your own goals!