Firsts for Women: February 2021

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:

  • Sydney Barber – first Black woman named brigade commander at US Naval Academy
  • Toni Breidinger – first Arab-American female driver for NASCAR
  • Maria Cantwell – first woman senator to lead the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Luisa Gauci – first woman to earn a baseball scholarship in the Northwest Athletic Conference
  • Seiko Hashimoto – first woman to serve as president of the Tokyo Olympic Committee
  • Kathleen Hicks – first woman to serve as the Pentagon’s No. 2 ranking civilian and the highest-ranking Senate-confirmed woman in U.S. military history
  • Kelsey Koelzer – first Black woman head hockey coach in NCAA history
  • V Kokila Vaani – first woman chairman of the Selangor Bar, one of the most active bar associations in Malaysia
  • Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar – first women coaches  to win the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl
  • Kathryn Nesbitt – first woman to officiate a Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) League Final 
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – first woman and first African to serve as director-general of the World Trade Organization
  • Gail Samuel – first woman to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra as president and CEO 
  • Mayar Sherif – first Egyptian woman to win a main draw grand slam match at the Australian Open
  • Sarah Thomas – first woman to officiate an NFL Super Bowl game
  • Chloé Zhao – first Asian woman to win the Golden Globe for best director

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. 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].

Moments we missed in January:

  • Sara Goodrum – first woman to lead a minor-league hitting department for a Major League Baseball (MLB) club
  • Yogananda Pittman – first woman and first Black person to lead the United States Capitol Police

1 MARCH 2021