Women’s History Month: Firsts Throughout History


Anjali Chinnareddy, Reporter

What began as a local festivity in Santa Rosa, California, is now honored by people all over the country. Women’s history month is celebrated during March and looks back on all the women who made sacrifices and changes to make this world more inclusive. 

Looking back at history, most of these groundbreaking events for women’s equality happened not too long ago.

The first convention for women’s rights was held in 1848. Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, these women started campaigning for equality and suffrage. Wyoming became the first state to allow women to vote in 1869.

 In 1933, Frances Perkins became the first woman to be appointed to the Presidential cabinet under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nominated by Ronald Reagan, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme court in 1981. Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State in 1997. Women are still challenging traditional roles in government to this day, with Kamala Harris being the United State’s first female vice president. 

In 1916, activist Margaret Sanger opened the country’s first birth control clinic, which fought against the Comstock Laws banning birth control shipped by mail. Sanger later created the American Birth Control League, now known as Planned Parenthood. 

These trailblazers paved the way for women in men-dominated industries. Manon Rheaume was the first woman to play in an NHL game. She played as goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. Although she was taken out of the game early on, she had a successful career in hockey by leading Canada’s women’s national hockey team to their win in the World Hockey Championship. Virne Beatrice, also known as Jackie Mitchell, was one of the first female pitchers in major league baseball. While playing, she struck out two of the greatest baseball players, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Babe Ruth was later quoted in a newspaper saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen if they let women in baseball. Of course, they will never do good. Why? Because they are too delicate. It would kill them to play ball every day.”

Even though these women fought for equality, there are many issues women face today. About 66% of female soldiers experience sexual assault or harassment, the wage gap still exists, a man’s dollar is equivalent to a woman’s 82 cents, the pink tax still continues to take over stores, female products cost more just because they are aimed at women, and feminine health products such as tampons and pads are still unaccessible to people who can’t afford them.

It is important to bring awareness to these problems in order to see change. We can look at these women as inspiration for change. These women carved out the trail, but there is still a long way to go.