Firsts for Women: May 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:

  • Rose-Marie Belle Antoine – first woman principal of the University of West Indies as leader of the university’s St. Augustine campus.
  • Vanessa Roberts Avery – first Black woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
  • Captain Abhilasha Barak – first woman combat aviator in the Indian Army.
  • Ashley Callingbull – first Indigenous First Nations woman to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
  • Lisa D. Cook – first Black woman to receive Senate confirmation for a seat on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.
  • Ellen Cooper – first woman CEO at Lincoln Financial Group.
  • Sherri Dalphonse – first woman editor of Washingtonian, a monthly magazine distributed in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • Viola Davis – first Black woman to win the Kering Women in Motion Award, which is presented every year at the Cannes Film Festival to actresses for their achievements on-screen and for raising the profile of women in the film industry.
  • Katya Echazarreta – first Mexican-born woman to travel to space.
  • Adm. Linda Fagan – first woman to lead a U.S. military service after the Senate confirmed her to lead the Coast Guard.
  • Victoria Folse – first woman named president of Ripon College, Wisconsin, USA.
  • Stéphanie Frappart – first woman to referee a men's French Cup final in the French Football Federation.
  • Karine Jean-Pierre – first Black woman to serve as the White House press secretary. 
  • Kianna Jones – first woman head coach in U.S. summer collegiate baseball history after debuting as head coach for the Coastal Plain League’s Macon Bacon.
  • Iris Knobloch – first woman president of the board of the Cannes Film Festival. 
  • Victoria Kuhn – first woman confirmed to be commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
  • Mandy Larsen – first woman judge for Utah’s Sixth District Court.
  • Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum – first woman to pilot the AW609, the world’s first tiltrotor set to receive civil certification.
  • Haviah Mighty – first woman to win Best Rap Album at the Juno Awards, which are presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music.
  • Priyanka Mohite – first Indian woman to scale five peaks above 8,000 meters (roughly 5 miles). 
  • Ashley Mullenger – first woman to win United Kingdom’s Fisherman of the Year Award.
  • Céline Nha Nguyen – first Vietnamese woman to summit Mount Everest.
  • Chloe Primerano – first woman skater to be drafted in the Canadian Hockey League.
  • Vanessa Ruck – first woman to enter and finish the Tunisia Desert Challenge, an eight-day endurance motorcycle event.
  • Katrina Scott – first woman to be visibly pregnant in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
  • Maj. Gen. Jami Shawley – first woman to take command of forces at the only permanent American military base in Africa.
  • Lhakpa Sherpa – first woman to summit Mount Everest 10 times.
  • Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger – first woman to be nominated as a judge on the General Court of the European Union.
  • Nan Whaley – first woman to receive a major party’s backing for the nomination of Ohio’s governor.
  • Lisa Holder White – first Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Kelsie Whitmore – first woman to start in an Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) game and first woman to pitch in an ALPB game.

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 JUNE 2022