10 Modern Day Female History Makers You Should Know
By: Courtney Connley
While women continue to push past stereotypes and break down barriers every day of the year, Women’s History Month often serves as a reminder of just how much of an impact women have made and continue to make around the world. From pushing the envelope in politics, to breaking records in sports and cracking glass ceilings in business, women prove time and time again that they are in fact the superheroes who run our nation.
As we continue to honor the work and accomplishments of past history makers who’ve paved the way for the advancements of today, it’s important to also recognize the young millennial women who are carving their own path and etching a name for themselves in the history books for years to come.
1. Imelme Umana: Umana made history earlier this year as the first Black woman president of the Harvard Law Review after 130 years of its existence. Her historic title comes 27 years after former president Barack Obama held the position as the first black male president.
2. Ibtihaj Muhammad: Muhammad is a saber fencer who made history at the 2016 Olympics as the first American athlete to compete in a hijab.
3. Malala Yousafzai: At just 17, Yousafzai became the youngest person in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. After surviving a 2012 Taliban shooting in her home country of Pakistan for simply getting an education, Yousafzai used her tragic experience to peacefully speak up and become an activist on behalf of girls’ education and rights worldwide.
4. Briana Westry-Robinson: Earlier this year, Westry-Robinson made history as the youngest African American female judge in Alabama history. At just 28 years old, she has been elected to a six-year term as a district judge in Wilcox County.
5. Sonequa Martin-Green: If you’re a Walking Dead fan, then you’re likely already familiar with Martin-Green, but it won’t be long before this talented actress becomes a true household name. Earlier this year, it was reported that the starlet will be playing a lead role in CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery, making her the first African American woman to head a Star Trek cast.
6. Ilhan Omar: Despite the divisiveness of politics today, Omar made history in the November 2016 election by becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States. Winning a Minnesota House seat, Omar came to the U.S. with her family in 1995 after fleeing the Somali civil war and spending four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Now, the 34-year-old Muslim juggles life as a busy mom, wife and politician.
7. Gabby Douglas: This 21-year-old Virginia native made a name for herself in the 2012 Olympics by winning gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions. Douglas is the first woman of color and African American gymnast to do so in Olympic history.
8. Gina Rodriguez: Rodriguez made history in 2015 with her Golden Globe win for Jane the Virgin, making it The CW network’s first ever Golden Globe. In her moving speech about her proud Latino heritage, she said her win “represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.”
9. Laverne Cox: In 2014, the Orange is the New Black star made history by becoming the first openly transgender actress to receive an Emmy nomination. Most recently, the actress and activist made history again when it was announced last year that she will be playing in CBS’ new series Doubt, which will be the first broadcast series featuring a transgender regular character played by a transgender actor.
10. Elaine Welteroth: Much of Teen Vogue’s amazing new content around not just fashion and beauty, but politics, race, sexuality and more can be credited to having a new leader overseeing its glossy pages. Last year, then 29-year-old Welteroth made history as not just Teen Vogue’s first African American editor-in-chief, but as the youngest person ever to hold the prestigious title in Conde Nast history.
Courtney Connley is a writer, editor and digital journalist with a sweet spot for storytelling and helping millennials win in the workplace and in life. She considers brunching to be a full-time hobby and enjoys anything that involves avocado or a good book. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at courtneyconnley.com and follow her latest happenings on social media @classicalycourt.