I’m speaking today for the Cisco/Citibank International Women’s Day event in San Jose, and in prepping came across these interesting women who were first in their fields…

The world’s first novel,The Tale of Genji,was published in Japan around A.D. 1000 by female author Murasaki Shikibu

British Queen Victoria ruled from 1837 – 1901, over one of the largest empiresin the history of the world – at one point controlling land on nearly every continent.

The first country to grant women the right to votein the modern era was New Zealand in 1893.

Marie Curie is the only woman to ever win two Nobel Prizes,one for physics for spontaneous radiation (1903) and the other in chemistry for radioactivity (1911).

Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, was the first woman elected to serve in Congress. She was elected in both 1916 and 1940. A lifelong pacifist, she was the only member of Congress to vote against entering World War II.

The first female governor of a U.S. state was Nellie Tayloe Ross in Wyoming, elected in 1924. Wyoming was also the first state to give women the right to vote, in 1869.

Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1931) for founding Hull House, an organization that improved quality of life for people by improving education and living conditions.

The first female member of a president’s cabinet wasFrances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D Roosevelt. She remained in office for the duration of FDRs terms (1933 – 1945) and helped put together the labor programs needed for the New Deal to succeed.

The first woman torule a country as an elected leaderin the modern era was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka,who was elected Prime Minister in 1960 and later re-elected in 1970.

So many more women whose stories may never be published or widely told are worthy of recognition. I know many don’t you?



Queen Victoria of Britain


Marie Curie, Nobel Prize Winner


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