Special Report

Women Who Broke Barriers Every Year Since 1950

Source: Ted West / Getty Images

1970: Billie Jean King
> Category: Sports

Billie Jean King became an early outspoken advocate for equal pay for women tennis players and for LGBTQ rights.

Source: Rama & Musée Bolo / Wikimedia Commons

1971: Evelyn Berezin
> Category: Inventions

Evelyn Berezin invented the word processor. She was also the founder of Redactron Corporation, which became the first company exclusively engaged in manufacturing and selling word processors.

Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

1972: Gloria Steinem
> Category: Activism

One of the most high-profile feminists, Gloria Steinem co-founded Ms. magazine, the first glossy publication run and owned by women.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1973: Patsy Cline
> Category: Entertainment

Country singer Patsy Cline, who died in a plane crash in 1963, became the first solo woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Source: Naval History and Heritage Command / Wikimedia Commons

1974: Rosemary Mariner
> Category: Military

Rosemary Mariner, who was among the first female fliers in the Navy, became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

1975: Junko Tabei
> Category: Sports

Junko Tabei from Japan flouted cultural conventions by leaving her toddler with her husband to become the first woman to summit Mount Everest. She was also the first woman to climb the highest peak on every continent, collectively known as the “Seven Summits.”

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

1976: Emily Howell Warner
> Category: Aviation

Emily Howell Warner became the first female captain of a major U.S. carrier, Frontier Airlines.

Source: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

1977: Janet Guthrie
> Category: Sports

Janet Guthrie, a trained physicist and engineer, became the first woman to compete at the Indianapolis 500, the nation’s most prestigious auto racing event.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense / Wikimedia Commons

1978: Mary E. Clarke
> Category: Military

Mary E. Clarke became the U.S. Army’s first woman two-star general.

Source: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

1979: Ann Meyers
> Category: Sports

Women’s basketball superstar Ann Meyers was the first woman signed to an NBA contract when she signed with the Indiana Pacers. She was cut a week later.