Since the beginning of time women have been at the forefront of life determining when, where, what or why we do what we do. Women, although not honored, recognized or considered for their leadership or contributions have steadily been the driving force in Science, Military, Music, Religion, Medicine, Athletics, Entertainment, Business, Technology, Engineering, Politics, Architecture, and Literature and in many other areas. Women have given their lives, fortunes and knowledge to make life better for all. As we come to the close of Women’s History Month we honor just a few of the little known women who have been breaking the glass ceiling since the beginning of time. Can you guess the women who are the first in their field?
Business—Who was the first African American woman millionaire promoter of gospel music?
Military—Who was the only woman who served on the frontlines during World War I?
Architecture—Who was the first woman to work in architecture?
Religion—Who was the first woman to be ordained a minister in America?
Politics—Who was the first woman who ran for President of the United States?
See answers below.
First Woman To Walk Floor Of NYSE Talks New Book
In honor of Women History Month, 83-year-old Norma Yaeger joined KTLA live to discuss her new book, ‘Breaking Down the Wall.’ She was the first woman to walk the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Madame Gertrude Ward
Business-Madame Gertrude Ward, manager, performer and founder of the Clara Ward Singers and my aunt, brought a shrewd entrepreneurial sense to the gospel music business in 1931, resulting in her becoming the first African American female millionaire gospel promoter. She emphasized glamor, traveling in limosines, preferring sequined gowns to choir robes, and wearing wigs, make-up and jewelry that might be too worldly for some church-goers. She was the first to book her group and perform in nightclubs in Las Vegas becoming the first gospel cross-over group.
Military-Dorothy Lawrence was an English reporter who secretly posed as a man and became a World War I soldier and the only woman to serve on the front lines of World War I. A journalist, wanting a story from the front lines in 1913 when women were not allowed to serve in battle, she decided to pose as a man and became Pvt. Denis Smith. She was involved in the digging of tunnels with the 179 Tunneling Company, 51st Division, and Royal Engineers. She turned herself in to military authorities after 10 days of service where she was immediately arrested.
Architecture-Louise Bethune was the first woman to work in architecture and elected into the Western Association of Architects in 1885. Her name has been excluded from most of her work however some of her buildings still standing are: Convention Hall in Buffalo, N.Y.; School No. 39 High Street erected in 1885 and Hotel Lafayette in Buffalo in 1904. She was the first of only 40 women architects in her lifetime. As of 2011, there are only 21% women architects in the United States. Not much progress.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell
Religion-Antoinette Brown Blackwell was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in America. She was ordained by the Congregational Church and given a license to preach in 1851. Coming from a family who believed in women’s rights and rights for Blacks she wrote for Frederick Douglas’ North Star Newspaper.
Politics-Victoria Woodhull in 1872 was the first woman to run for United States President. She ran on the Equal Rights’ Party and advocated for women’s rights, labor reform and free love, which is having the freedom to marry and divorce and bear children without government interference.