Celebrate Female Firsts this Women’s History Month

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“Behind every good man is a great woman,” goes the saying, but what about women who stand on their own? March is Women’s History Month and we think there’s no better time to celebrate the fearlessness, the tenacity, and the achievements of some pretty amazing women.

For every woman out there breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes there’s another paving her own way and defying expectations. Women have some pretty remarkable achievements under their belts and at Spokeo, we’re excited to celebrate them. Here are some female firsts we think deserve a round of applause.


Kahtryn Bigelow

First Female “Best Director” Winner

Kathryn Bigelow has been directing films and television since the late 1980s but it wasn’t until the 2009 Academy Awards that she became a household name. Winning Best Director for her film The Hurt Locker, Bigelow was the first female to ever receive the honor. Much ado was made about her past marriage to another Best Director nominee that year (James Cameron) but we think Bigelow’s work speaks for itself.


Ann Franklin

First Female Newspaper Editor

Ann Franklin was a Colonial go-getter and in fact was married to Benjamin Franklin’s brother, James. When her husband died, Franklin petitioned the state of Massachusetts for paying work and found herself in the printing business. She most notably served as editor for the Rhode Island Gazette, the first American female to hold such an esteemed position in printing.



First Woman to Run for President

Victoria Woodhull didn’t let something as silly as “convention” stop her from pushing for equality. A leader in the female suffrage movement, Woodhull actually ran for President of the United States in 1872 as a member of the Equal Rights Party, the first woman to do so. It wasn’t her first “first,” either. Woodhull and her sister were actually the first women to found a brokerage firm and serve as stockbrokers.


Photo courtesy of Emory.edu

First Female Director of a Major Corporation

Lettie Pate Whitehead came from a prominent southern family and rose to leadership within the Coca-Cola Corporation after her husband died in 1906. She assumed leadership of their realty company and Whitehead Holding Company and served on the board of directors of Coca-Cola for nearly 20 years. Lettie is commonly recognized as one of the first female directors of a major corporation.



First Woman to Play in a Pro Football Game

Patricia Palinkas was thrust into the spotlight in 1970. Her husband Steven was a placekicker for the semi-pro Orlando Panthers and Patricia graciously stepped in to be his placekick holder…in front of 12,000 fans. She was a paid member of the team (even holding for other kickers!) for just over a year, the first woman to play professional football in America.



First Female Prime Minister

Sirima Bandaranaike didn’t originally intend to enter politics but after her senator husband was assassinated in 1959 she quickly gained a loyal following. In 1960 she was elected the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as a member of the Freedom Party, the first female political head of state in the world. She was quite successful, being elected Sri Lankan Prime Minister three times before her death in 2000.



First Immigrant Through Ellis Island

Annie Moore stepped off the boat from County Cork, Ireland on January 1st, 1892 at Ellis Island when she was only 17. As the first person processed through the immigration station she was even given a commemorative gold piece from U.S. officials. And Moore wasn’t the only notable female American immigration “first.” The first person born in the original colonies? That would be little Virginia Dare in 1587.

These are some amazing women but it’s important to remember you don’t have to become a famous groundbreaker to make a difference! Women across the world give themselves every day to helping people, growing democracy, and caretaking and we think that’s something worth celebrating every month of the year.