Special Report

Women Who Broke Barriers Every Year Since 1950

Source: AFGE / Wikimedia Commons

1990: Sharon Pratt Dixon
> Category: Politics

Sharon Pratt Dixon became the first black woman elected to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city when she was elected to lead Washington, D.C.

Source: 1991 FIFA World Cup / Wikimedia Commons

1991: U.S. women’s soccer team
> Category: Sports

The United States won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup that was held in China, accelerating the popularity of the sport in America.

Source: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

1992: Manon Rheaume
> Category: Sports

Goaltender Manon Rheaume from Quebec became the first woman to sign a contract with the NHL, by inking a pact with Tampa Bay Lightning. She played in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues and stopped seven of nine shots.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

1993: Janet Reno
> Category: Politics

Florida-born Janet Reno became the nation’s first female attorney general. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

Source: Bob Levey / Getty Images

1994: Mia Hamm
> Category: Sports

As American women’s soccer grew in force, Mia Hamm became the face of the sport. She was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1994.

Source: nasacommons / Flickr

1995: Eileen Collins
> Category: Science

Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a NASA space shuttle, and four years later became the first woman to command a space shuttle.

1996: Madeleine Albright
> Category: Politics

Madeleine Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia, became the first woman secretary of state, serving President Bill Clinton

Source: Getty Images

1997: Ellen DeGeneres
> Category: Literature

Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres came out in Time magazine with a cover saying, “Yep, I’m Gay.”

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

1998: J.K. Rowling
> Category: Entertainment

J.K. Rowling published her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in the United States in 1998. The Harry Potter book franchise became one of the most popular book and movie franchises ever, making Rowling one of the richest women in the U.K.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

1999: Carly Fiorina
> Category: Business

Carly Fiorina became the first woman to helm a company listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average when she was named chief executive officer of technology company Hewlett-Packard Company.