Special Report

Women Who Broke Barriers Every Year Since 1950

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1960: Wilma Rudolph
> Category: Sports

Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. At the Olympic Games in Rome, Rudolph won the 100- and 200-meter sprints, and then anchored the victorious U.S. team in the 4×100-meter relay.

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1961: Dana Ulery
> Category: Science

Dana Ulery became the first woman engineer hired at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

1962: Rachel Carson
> Category: Science

Noted biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson alerted the world to the dangers of pesticides with her groundbreaking book “Silent Spring,” which was published in 1962.

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1963: Valentina Tereshkova
> Category: Science

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space.

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1964: Geraldine Mock
> Category: Aviation

Geraldine Mock was the first woman to fly solo around the world. She joined other aviation pioneers from Ohio such as the Wright Brothers and Neil Armstrong.

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1965: Myrtle Simpson
> Category: Science

Radiologist and explorer Myrtle Simpson became the first woman to ski across Greenland.

1966: Bobbi Gibb
> Category: Sports

Clad in men’s shorts and boys’ running shoes, Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon unofficially.

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1967: Kathrine Switzer
> Category: Sports

Kathrine Switzer, a 20-year-old journalism student, became the first woman to officially enter and complete the the Boston Marathon.

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1968: Shirley Chisholm
> Category: Politics

New Yorker Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American congresswoman. She represented a part of Brooklyn.

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1969: Diane Crump
> Category: Sports

Diane Crump was the first woman allowed to compete as a jockey in the United States. In 1970, she became the first woman to ride at the famous Kentucky Derby.