Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Featured Groundbreaking Women
Get more information on our featured group of trailblazing women, including luminaries like Shirley Chisholm, Dorothy Dandridge and Mary Lou Retton.
Mae C. Jemison
Race Car Driver, Television Personality / 1982 -
Danica Patrick is a female race car driver and has set several records for women drivers, including becoming the first woman to lead the Indy 500 and the first woman to win the pole position at the Daytona 500.
Folk Hero / 1595 - 1617
Contrary to the Disney movie and other myths, Pocahontas, daughter of a Powhattan chieftain in 17th century Virginia, did not marry John Smith. She did, however, convert to Christianity and get baptized under the name "Rebecca," in order to become the wife of white colonist John Rolfe, who made a fortune as a tobacco grower.
Film Actress, Pin-up, Singer / 1922 - 1965
Until 1954, no African-American woman had received the coveted Oscar nomination for a starring role, but Dorothy Dandridge was a knockout in "Carmen Jones," an adaptation of Bizet's Opera, "Carmen." She lost to Grace Kelly. The first African-American to appear on the cover of Life magazine, Dandridge's fame sputtered into years of trouble and she died in 1965 at the age of 42 of a drug overdose the coroner deemed "undetermined" as accidental or purposeful.
U.S. Representative / 1924 - 2005
In 1969, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress, where one of her first actions was to introduce the Equal Rights Amendment on the House floor. She spoke out often about sexism and in support of reproductive rights and in 1972, campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination, which went to George McGovern.
Mary Lou Retton
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