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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Wowed by Women!

Feb 28, 2011 12:00AM

Rihanna. Miley. Lady Gaga. While today’s pop stars are all the rage, history is full of influential women who deserve to be center-stage. March is Women’s History Month… Check out these fun facts.

Science and math and computers, oh my!

  • Nobel Prize-winning scientist Gertrude Belle Elion (1918–1999) co-developed two drugs to treat leukemia.
  • Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992) is considered one of the mothers of computer languages and was also one of the first women to become a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

Painting Outside the Lines.

  • Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) was the only American artist invited by the French Impressionists to exhibit her paintings and pastels of women, mothers and children.
  • American artist Georgia O’Keefe (1887–1986) created over 2000 works of art depicting flowers, shells and other natural objects.

Saving Planet Earth.

  • Scientist Susan Solomon (1956–) helped identify the causes of the hole in the ozone layer.
  • Kenyan Wangari Maathai (1940–) is the first woman and first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her “Green Belt Movement” launched a world-wide tree planning campaign.

Shoot for the Moon!

  • American pilot Jacqueline Cochran (1906–1980) was the first woman to break the sound barrier.
  • Russian Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (1937–) became the first women in space in 1963.
  • American astronaut and astrophysicist Sally Ride (1951–2012) followed in 1983.

Hello, Madam President.

  • In 1960 Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became the first woman elected to lead a country.
  • In 2016 Hilary Rodham was formally nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016, becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. 

Before There Was Dora.

  • Primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall’s (1934–) ground-breaking studies of chimpanzees and her youth-centered Roots and Shoots program have helped make the world more aware of the plight of endangered species.

Justine Ickes, a freelance writer, makes sure her two boys get their daily dose of inspirational facts about women.