Firsts for Women: April 2022

Zonta International celebrates “firsts for women” in all different sectors in countries and communities around the world.

Looking back on last month, we acknowledge the following women:

  • Arooj Aftab – first woman from Pakistan to win a Grammy after winning the award for Best Global Music Performance for her song “Mohabbat.”
  • Valerie Sheares Ashby – first woman appointed as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
  • Grace Bastidas – first woman of color to edit Parents magazine.
  • Jennifer Cowley – first woman president of The University of Texas at Arlington.
  • Shani Ben-David – first woman appointed captain in the Israeli Merchant Marine.
  • Abra K. Bush – first woman appointed dean of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
  • Marisa T. Darden – first Black woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Kelly Dine – first woman to umpire a Big Ten baseball game. The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.
  • Brig. Gen. Denise Donnell – first woman to serve as commander of the New York Air National Guard.
  • Adm. Linda L. Fagan – first woman nominated to lead a U.S. military service.
  • Dina Ben Tal Ganancia – first woman appointed as female chief executive of El Al Israel Airlines, the country’s flag carrier.
  • Jessica Hawkins – first British woman to take an overall victory in a touring car race.
  • Natalie Holt – first woman to score a live-action Star Wars project as the composer for Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Alexis Hopkins – first woman drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role. She was drafted by the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes in the Atlantic League, the highest level of professional baseball excluding Major League Baseball (MLB).
  • Wei Huixiao – first woman to command a warship in the Chinese PLA Navy as the captain of the Shaoxing, a newly launched guided-missile destroyer.
  • Reira Iwabuchi – first woman snowboarder to land a frontside triple 1260.
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson – first Black woman to be confirmed to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
  • Lia Merminga – first woman to be appointed director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), the United States’ premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory.
  • Katherine “KD” Montgomery – first woman executive director of the Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum in Massachusetts, USA.
  • Alyssa Nakken – first woman to coach on the field in an MLB game after coaching first base for the San Francisco Giants.
  • Major General Sharon Nesmith – first woman appointed as deputy chief of the General Staff and the first female British Army officer in the rank of lieutenant general.
  • Janice Pettyjohn – first woman hired for a full-time football position at Howard University.
  • Wendie Renard – first woman to make 100 appearances in the UEFA Women's Champions League, an annual club soccer competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations.
  • Isabella Rosal – first woman to be awarded Master Rummelier® status, the top professional designation in the rum industry.
  • Lindsay Schanzer – first woman to produce the Kentucky Derby television broadcast as the new senior producer of NBC Sports’ Derby coverage.
  • Dawn Staley – first Black woman to win two NCAA women’s basketball titles as head coach.
  • Iga Swiatek – first woman to win the first three Women’s Tennis Association 1000 events in a year.
  • Nancy Waples – first woman of color to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court.
  • Jessica Watkins – first Black woman to serve aboard the International Space Station.
  • Kelsie Whitmore – first woman to play in a league affiliated with MLB.
  • Avis Williams – first woman to lead the New Orleans public school system.

Moments we missed in March:

  • Ariana DeBose – first Afro Latina and first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award for acting.
  • Patricia Guerrero – first Latina to be sworn in as a judge on the California Supreme Court.
  • Nicole Lee – first Asian American woman and first Chinese American to serve on the Chicago City Council.

As an organization that has fought for gender equality for more than 100 years, Zonta International believes it is important to celebrate and honor women who are making history. Each month, we will recognize women who have broken the glass ceiling and set an example for future generations to come.

Do you know of a first for women moment that should be recognized? Share with us at [email protected]

1 MAY 2022