Women's history doesn't solely exist in the past. It is still very much alive and being created everyday as women across the globe break through boundaries and lead the way. In celebration of Women's History Month in March, we're highlighting 10 women still making history.
1. Peggy Whitson:
Peggy Whitson is an American biochemistry researcher, NASA astronaut and former NASA Chief Astronaut. Her first space mission was in 2002, with an extended stay aboard the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 5. Her second mission launched October 10, 2007, as the first female commander of the ISS with Expedition 16. She was on her third long-duration space flight and was the commander of the International Space Station for Expedition 51, before handing over command to Fyodor Yurchikhin on June 1, 2017.
She flew on Expedition 50/51 and participated in four spacewalks, bringing her career total to ten. With a total of 665 days in space, Whitson holds the U.S. record, placing eighth on the all-time space endurance list. The Iowa native also completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the station for Expedition 5 in 2002, and as the station commander for Expedition 16 in 2008 where she accumulated 377 days in space between the two missions, the most for any U.S. woman at the time of her return to Earth.
2. Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was described in the Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [who] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature".
Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book; and Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. Ms. Adichie is also the author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.
Ms. Adichie has been invited to speak around the world. Her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks of all time. Her 2012 talk We Should All Be Feminists has a started a worldwide conversation about feminism, and was published as a book in 2014.
3. Cristina Jimenez
Cristina Jiménez is Executive Director and Co-founder of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. Cristina’s work has helped change the national conversation on immigration and create a new youth-led model of social justice organizing and movement building.
Cristina was instrumental in organizing the successful national campaign that led to the creation and implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA) under President Obama. DACA is the most far-reaching and significant victory for immigrant communities in more than thirty years, and has enabled nearly a million immigrants to live without constant fear of deportation, go to school, pursue careers, and build stable lives here.
Under Cristina’s leadership, UWD has grown to a powerful network of 48 affiliates in 26 states and over 400,000 members.
4. Danica Roem
Danica Roem is an American journalist and politician of the Democratic Party. In the 2017 Virginia elections she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, winning the Democratic primary for the 13th district on June 13, and the general election on November 7. She is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and in January 2018 became the first to both be elected and serve while openly transgender in any U.S. state legislature. In December 2017 The Advocate named her as a finalist for its "Person of the Year".
5. Lizzie Velasquez
Once deemed "the ugliest woman in the world" Lizzie Velasquez is a global motivational speaker, anti-bullying activist, social media personality, and author. Lizzie was born with a rare syndrome. At this time there are only 2 other people in the world that are known to be living with this rare syndrome. In December 2013, she took the stage at the inaugural TEDx AustinWomen, and gave a talk titled “How Do You Define Yourself?” that has garnered over 13 million views across the web. Her story has been featured on Katie Couric, The Today Show, The View, Huffington Post, Associated Press, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! among many other national and international media outlets.
She is an Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary based on her life, “A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” which chronicles her journey from cyber bullying victim to global anti-bullying activist. The film had an Academy-qualifying release in the U.S. in Fall 2015 and began its international release in Spring 2016. Lizzie's latest book "Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World" was released June 6, 2017.
6. Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas is an American football official, and is currently an official for the National Football League. Thomas was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium. On April 8, 2015, Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history, and for the 2017 season, she is on the officiating crew headed by referee Ronald Torbert. She was originally assigned officiating uniform number 153 (as seen in many photos), but currently Thomas is a Down Judge with the NFL officiating uniform number 53, worn in past seasons by umpire Garth DeFelice, line judge Bill Reynolds, and field judge Frank Kirkland.
7. Mo'ne Davis
Mo'ne Ikea Davis is an American former Little League Baseball pitcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was the 18th girl overall to play, the sixth to get a hit, and the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player.
8. Mariette DiChristina
Mariette DiChristina oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American Mind and all newsstand special editions. A science journalist for more than 20 years, she first came to Scientific American in 2001 as its executive editor. She is also the past president (in 2009 and 2010) of the 2,500-member National Association of Science Writers. She has been an adjunct professor in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at New York University for the past few years. DiChristina is a frequent lecturer and has appeared at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Yale University and New York University among many others. In 2011, DiChristina was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering.
Previously, she spent nearly 14 years at Popular Science in positions culminating as executive editor. Her work in writing and overseeing articles about space topics helped garner that magazine the Space Foundation's 2001 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award. In spring 2005, she was Science Writer in Residence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her chapter on science editing appears in the second edition of A Field Guide for Science Writers. She is former chair of Science Writers in New York (2001 to 2004) and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists. DiChristina was honored by New York's Italian Heritage and Culture Committee in its October 2009 celebration of Galileo's contributions to science. In January 2010, she was honored by the National Organization of Italian American Women as one of its "Three Wise Women" of 2009.
9. Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and the current Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue.
She has consistently ranked among the World's 100 Most Powerful Women. In 2014, she was ranked at #13 on the list of Forbes World's 100 most powerful women, and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015.
In February 2018, the International Cricket Council announced that Nooyi would join the ICC Board as its first independent female director in June.
10. Priyamvada Natarajan
Priyamvada Natarajan is a Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. She is a theoretical astrophysicist interested in cosmology, gravitational lensing and black hole physics. Her research involves mapping the detailed distribution of dark matter in the universe exploiting the bending of light en-route to us from distant galaxies. In particular, she has focused on making dark matter maps of clusters of galaxies, the largest known repositories of dark matter. Gravitational lensing by clusters can also be utilized to constrain dark energy models and she has been developing the methodology and techniques to do so. Her work has demonstrated that cluster strong lensing offers a unique and potentially powerful laboratory to test evolving dark energy models.