As Edwards AFB continues to celebrate Women’s History Month, a few more facts about women’s history for your enrichment. To gain further understanding of the impact these women had in history, a link regarding the fact is provided.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright was nominated for the position by President Clinton and was sworn in Jan. 23, 1997. At that time, she became the first female secretary of state and the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. Albright had previously served as a representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet and National Security Council.
In 1918, Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. At that time, about 305 women joined the Marines to perform jobs vacated by male Marines who left to fight in World War I. Female Marines could not be promoted above the rank of sergeant and performed jobs within the United States.
Deborah Sampson was born in 1760. At 21-years old, she became the first American woman to serve in combat by enlisting in the Continental Army under the name Robert Shurtleff during the Revolutionary War. She kept her gender hidden by tending to her own battle wounds, but she was discovered when she was hospitalized for a fever. In 1783, she was discharged from the Army. She later received a pension when a court found that she had performed a soldier’s duties.
Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 into a Quaker family who considered women and men equal. Anthony spent her life working for equality and promoted temperance and the abolition of slavery. She is best known as a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Anthony was a member of the Equal Rights Association and a founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1872, she was arrested and convicted for voting. She fought for women’s equality until she died in 1906.
Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Old Horn-Purdy grew up on the Crow Agency Reservation in Montana learning stories of her ancestors from her family while attending school off the reservation. Her desire to learn was her main reason for joining the Navy. In 1985, she was one of the first women on her deployed ship, and in 1999, she was among the first women on a combatant ship. She was in engineering but couldn’t be called a machinist for three years until the field opened to women.
Nellie Tayloe Ross became the 14th governor of Wyoming and the first female governor in the United States in 1925. Ross was elected to replace her husband, who died while in office. In 1869, Wyoming had been the first state to grant women the right to vote, and many in Wyoming wanted their state to be the first governed by a woman. In 1933, Ross was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the first female director of the U.S. Mint, a position she held until 1953.
In 2011, Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho became the Army’s 43rd surgeon general. She was the first woman and the first nurse appointed as the Army’s top medical officer. In this position, she is the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command and directs the third-largest healthcare system in the U.S. Before being appointed as surgeon general of the Army, Horoho was the commander of the Army Nurse Corps.
Now in her second term as leader of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan is the most powerful person in global public health and the only one with the authority to call a worldwide pandemic. In addition to battling viruses, she champions improvements in maternal care. “What matters most to me is people. And two specific groups of people in particular. I want us to be judged by the impact we have on the health of the people of Africa and the health of women.”