Black women are one of the most underrepresented groups when it comes to television and media, sports, government and STEM fields.
Black women represent 1 in 7 women in the labor force, with 9.3 being employed in 2015. Black women are less likely to work in higher paid positions than their white counterparts. In 2014, 35% of Black women were in management or professional jobs while 47% of white women were. Representation matters in professional sports, literature and the jobs we see people working in our everyday lives.
Many of the first Black women to do something, wasn’t too long ago and should remind us just how far we’ve come, but also how much work is left to do.
Here's a list of 20 "firsts" for Black women history:
Mary Jane Patterson
First to won an Emmy, Oscar and Tony for acting.
First to win in a NCAA division.
First to direct a $100M feature film, A Wrinkle in Time.
First to lead programming at a major network, ABC.
California’s first Black and Indian American attorney general.
First black editor in chief at Conde Nast, Teen Vogue.
Madame CJ Walker
First to become a self-made millionaire.
One of three Black women who got their PhD's in 1921; also Sadie Mossel Alexander and Eva Dykes.
First to win an Academy Award.
First elected as US representative, served as 1969 congresswoman.
Carol Moseley Braun
First elected as US Senator in the state of Illinois.
First to become an astronaut.
First to become novelist.
First to win a Grammy.
First TV host, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
First tennis champion, won Wimbledon 1957.
First Miss America, 1982.
First to win Winter Olympic games, bobsled 2002.
First, First Lady of the United States of America.
Who are some other iconic Black women to become ‘the first’?