Biographies

Women have always played an active role in history. Explore some of the historical women and contemporary newsmakers that continue to impact the world. New biographies are added regularly, so check back to discover inspiring new stories!

 

Biography

Antonia Novello

A dedicated public health advocate, Antonia Novello made history as the first female and first Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General in 1990.
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Biography

Mary Adelaide Nutting

Mary Adelaide Nutting had a profound impact on American nursing. She was one of the key figures in modernizing the profession and her work is still influential in the field today.
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Biography

Joyce Parrish O'Neal

O’Neal has received many honors in her life, including inclusion in the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame (2017). She was also the first African American elected to the Alabama State Personnel Board (2006 and 2010). 
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Biography

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (commonly referred to by her initials, AOC) is the youngest woman and youngest Latina to ever serve in the United States Congress.
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Biography

Miné Okubo

Miné Okubo is well known for her representations of daily life and humanity in drawings depicting Japanese American internment during WWII.
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Biography

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is one of the world’s greatest tennis players, having won numerous tournaments and awards and reaching the rank of World No. 1. Her openness about her struggles with mental health inspired others to share their own stories.
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Biography

Adelina "Nina" Otero-Warren

Adelina Otero-Warren, the first Hispanic woman to run for U.S. Congress and the first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, was a leader in New Mexico’s woman’s suffrage movement.
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Biography

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s in New York City.
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Biography

Elizabeth Packard

After defending her sanity at trial in 1864, Packard campaigned to ensure the rights of the mentally ill as well as those of married women.
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Biography

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and set in motion one of the largest social movements in history, the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
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Biography

Alice Paul

A vocal leader of the 20th century women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul advocated for and helped secure passage of the 19th Amendment.
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Biography

Ethel L. Payne

Ethel Payne is known as the First Lady of the Black Press, because of her fearlessness as a journalist and a Civil Rights activist.
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Biography

Pocahontas

Among the most famous women in early American history, Pocahontas is credited with helping the struggling English settlers survive.
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Biography

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey

Often called the “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey was known for her deep-throated voice and mesmerizing stage presence that drew packed audiences and sold hit records in the early twentieth century.
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Biography

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice is the first African American woman to hold several positions, including Secretary of State.
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Biography

Felisa Rincón de Gautier (Doña Fela)

Felisa Rincón de Gautier, affectionately known to the public as Doña Fela, became the first female mayor of a capital city in the Americas when she was appointed mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1946.
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