9 Women Who Have Achieved Big Milestones In 2015…

These women broke glass ceilings and challenged the norms of society.

Brandi Addison

Brandi Addison

Feature Writer at RYSE
Just another Journalism major in Texas, inspired by the medias in New York and Boston, driven to someday write in D.C., hoping my words reach even further than this country, and aspiring to become something even bigger than that. I #StandUp2Cancer for my uncle.
Brandi Addison

Danica Patrick, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Mia Hamm, Mary Barra, Julia Morgan and so many talented women have risen, in just the past three years, to create a new perspective on women…and the rise of women’s achievements continues to grow more and more each day.

Now women are running for U.S. President, coaching male-dominated sports, winning awards and prizes that women have never won, being the first woman inducted into a Hall of Fame, and even across the world, as Ouma Laouali became Niger’s first female pilot.

Here are a few women, in 2015, who have made history and are still constantly altering the perspective and pushing the limits of women’s ability to accomplish certain tasks:

1. Jen Welter—

Jen Welter becomes the first full-time female coach for the NFL. Source: Associated Press/Matt York

Jen Welter becomes the first full-time female coach for the NFL. Source: Associated Press/Matt York

Coaching for the Arizona Cardinals, Jen Welter became the first female coach in the National Football League (NFL) in July of 2015. As a former player for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, Welter won four championships and had not received much recognition from the media. Because of her, NFL history was permanently altered in 2015, encouraging other females to do what they love, even if it’s against the norm of society. Even more so, she has opened the doors for other female football players to be deservingly-recognized for their hard work and talents.

2. Ronda Rousey—

UFC fighter Ronda Rousey is recognized as today's 'most dominant athlete.' Source: Getty Images/Theo Wargo

UFC fighter Ronda Rousey is recognized as today’s ‘most dominant athlete.’ Source: Getty Images/Theo Wargo

UFC fighter, Ronda Rousey, was the talk of 2015. In fact, in May of 2015, Sports Illustrated referred to her as the “world’s most dominant athlete.” In an ESPN poll, she was also voted as the Best Female Athlete Ever. In September, it was discovered that Rousey had, at the time, received the highest pay of any UFC fighter, male or female. Her abilities, also, have gone against the standards of society and shown the world the strength and endurance women can achieve.

 

3. Sarah Thomas—

Starting in September of 2015, Sarah Thomas became the first full-time female official for the NFL. Source: Associated Press/Mark Duncan

Starting in September of 2015, Sarah Thomas became the first full-time female official for the NFL. Source: Associated Press/Mark Duncan

In April of 2015, the NFL officially announced that Sarah Thomas would become the first full-time female official in NFL History. She officially began to live up to this title on September 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium, officiating the regular season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.

4. Becky Hammon—

Becky Hammon becomes the first full-time female head coach in the NFL Summer League history. Source: Associated Press/Bahram Mark Sobhani

Becky Hammon becomes the first full-time female head coach in the NFL Summer League history. Source: Associated Press/Bahram Mark Sobhani

In 2014, Becky Hammon became the first full-time female coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA). She was also the first full-time female coach for any of the four major sports in America, when she started her career as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In 2015, Hammon made history when she became the first female head coach in the NBA Summer League. Perhaps Hammon is whom inspired Welter. Who knows? What we do know, however, is that these women certainly are pioneers to a new beginning for women’s opportunities.

 

5/6. Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest—

1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver is one of the first two females to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School. Source: Associated Press/Robin Trimarchi

1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver is one of the first two females to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School. Source: Associated Press/Robin Trimarchi

Captain Kristen Griest is one of the first two females to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School. Source: U.S. Army/Steve Cortez

Captain Kristen Griest is one of the first two females to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School. Source: U.S. Army/Steve Cortez

1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, and Captain Kristen Griest, a military police platoon leader, were the first women ever to complete the U.S. Army’s Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia and receive their Ranger tabs. These women completed their course to the same standards as which the male participants had to accomplish. So, not only were these women competing against other women, but they were competing against men as well.

7. Katie Higgins—

The first female to be named to the Blue Angels squadron and perform in the air show is Captain Katie Higgins. Source: The Washington Post/Michael S. Williamson

The first female to be named to the Blue Angels squadron and perform in the air show is Captain Katie Higgins. Source: The Washington Post/Michael S. Williamson

U.S. Marine Corps Captain, Katie Higgins, often referred to as “Lady Blue Angel,” became the first female United States Naval Academy graduate named to the Blue Angels squadron. In March of 2015, Higgins became the first female ever to perform at a Blue Angels airshow in the team’s 69-year history. Haver, Griest, and Higgins changed military history in 2015, not only by receiving “first female” titles, but also by competing against males, and succeeding.

8. Michelle K. Lee—

Michelle K. Lee is the first female and person of color to lead the USPTO. Source: Bloomberg/David Paul Morris

Michelle K. Lee is the first female and person of color to lead the USPTO. Source: Bloomberg/David Paul Morris

In March of 2015, Michelle K. Lee was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Lee made history as the first woman and first person of color to lead the USPTO.

9. Viola Davis—

At the 67th Emmy Awards, Viola Davis is the first African-American woman, as well as black woman of any nationality, to receive the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actress of a Drama Series. Source: Invision/Associated Press

At the 67th Emmy Awards, Viola Davis is the first African-American woman, as well as black woman of any nationality, to receive the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actress of a Drama Series. Source: Invision/Associated Press

In 2014, Viola Davis became the leading role in the ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder. With this role, in 2015, she became the first African-American in history to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, as well as the first black woman of any nationality to win it. Lee and Davis are not only inspirational to women, but also encouraging to their ethnicities.

As women continue to RYSE up to be something great, keep watching these women for inspiration, while you strive to become a pioneer yourself. There are still many great “first female” titles out there that have not been earned yet.



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