Every day in March brings notable events, achievements, births and deaths in recognition of History Month. The following is a brief timeline of notable American women who throughout the decades have defied the odds to make America the great 1 and it is.
March 1, 1945 – Nancy Woodhull is born. She was a founding editor at USA TODAY and worked to redefine how women are covered in the news.
March 2, 1950 – Karen Carpenter is born. The three-time Grammy-award winning singer and drummer brought attention to eating disorders, which affect 20 million women in the U.S.
March 3, 1887 – Helen Keller meets Anne Sullivan, her teacher and life-long friend. Sullivan helped Keller become the first blind-deaf person to graduate from college, and the pair advocated for people with disabilities.
March 3, 1962 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee is born. The six-time Olympic medalist is considered one of the world’s greatest female athletes and holds the world record in the heptathlon.
March 4, 1917 – Jeannette Rankin, R-Mont., takes her seat as the first female member of Congress. Rankin was a life-long pacifist and opposed both World Wars while in office.
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March 5, 1931 – Geraldyn (Jerrie) Cobb is born. She became the first woman to pass qualifying exams for astronaut training in 1959 but wasn’t allowed to train because of her gender.
March 6, 1986 – Georgia O’Keefe dies. She was a pre-eminent artist who laid the foundation for American modernism with her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes.
March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie is born. She became a female race car driver and qualified for and competed in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 in 1977.
March 8, 1914 – International Women’s Day is held. After the 1914 celebration and push for equality, the day has become an annual staple for global awareness around women’s issues.
March 9, 1959 – The first Barbie doll debuts. The fashion toy has become a symbol of both female empowerment and unrealistic beauty standards.
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March 9, 1910 – Sue Lee is born. The San Francisco labor organizer led a 15-week strike against a garment factory, fighting for better working conditions and increased wages.
March 9, 1928 – Graciela Olivarez is born. The first woman and Latina graduate from Notre Dame Law School, she fought for Mexican-American rights and worked to decrease poverty.
March 10, 1903 – Clare Booth Luce is born. She served as ambassador to Italy in the 1950s, one of the top ambassador positions held by a woman at the time.
March 11, 1993 – Janet Reno is confirmed as the first woman to be U.S. Attorney General.
March 12, 1912 – First-ever Girl Scouts meeting is held in Savannah, Ga. The organization has grown to 2.7 million members.
March 12, 1968 – Tammy Duckworth is born. She became the first disabled woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the second Asian-American woman in the Senate.
March 13, 1986 – Susan Butcher wins Iditarod, becoming the second woman ever to win the Alaskan dog sled race.
March 14, 1997 – Simone Biles is born. She becomes the most decorated American gymnast, winning four gold medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
March 15, 1933 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg is born. She is the second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice and spent her legal career advocating for women’s rights before taking the bench.
March 16, 1850 – Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is published. Hawthorne’s work explored women’s societal roles in Puritan Boston.
March 17, 2000 – Julia Roberts becomes the first female actor ever to earn $20 million for a single film in Erin Brockovich.
March 18, 1964 – Bonnie Blair is born. She is a five-time Olympic speed skating gold medalist and the most decorated female Winter Olympian in U.S. history.
March 19, 1947 – Glenn Close is born. A multi-time Emmy, Tony and Oscars Award winner, she has also advocated for women’s and LGBT rights.
March 20, 1982 – Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n Roll hits No. 1 on Billboard charts. Jett is a pioneer for female rock musicians.
March 20, 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published and becomes the best-selling book of the 19th century.
March 21, 1986 – Debi Thomas becomes the first African-American woman to win the World Figure Skating Championship.
March 22, 1972 – Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment, which granted equal rights for women but was never ratified by the required number of states.
March 23, 1924 – Bette Nesmith Graham is born. She invented Liquid Paper correction fluid, a brand of white-out.
March 24, 1912 – Dorothy Height is born. She served more than 40 years as president of the National Council of Negro Women and worked to foster interracial dialogue.
March 25, 1934 – Gloria Steinem is born. She became a leader of “second wave” feminism and remains one today.
March 26, 1940 – Nancy Pelosi is born. She became the first and so far only female U.S. speaker of the House in 2007.
March 26, 1930 – Sandra Day O’Connor is born. She became the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1981.
March 27, 1924 – Margaret Butler is born. She was the first female fellow at the American Nuclear Society and advocated for women in science and math fields.