As Women’s History Month draws to a close, here are 10 women who have written themselves into history in 2022.
Ketanji Brown Jackson
Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court last month, when President Biden announced her as his pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer, for whom Jackson clerked in 1999.
If confirmed, Jackson, 51, would make history in multiple ways: She would become the third African American on the high court in its 233-year history, the first justice since Thurgood Marshall to have significant experience as a criminal defense attorney and the first former federal public defender to become a Supreme Court justice.
Last week, Jackson defended her record during sometimes-contentious confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which plans to vote on her confirmation on Monday.
Zara Rutherford, a 19-year-old Belgian-British aviator, became the youngest woman to fly around the world solo when she completed a five-month journey spanning five continents and more than 32,000 miles in January. In doing so, Rutherford, the daughter of two pilots, broke two Guinness World Records: one for being the youngest woman to make the journey, and another for being the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight aircraft.
After she started training for her pilot’s license in high school, Rutherford decided to use her gap year between high school and college to make the journey, she told The Washington Post’s Claire Parker, adding that she hoped doing so would inspire more girls to take up aviation
“Growing up, I never really saw many other female pilots, and that was really discouraging,” she said. “So right now I’m doing my best to try to be a friendly face” for other girls, she added.
Xiomara Castro, a 62-year-old democratic socialist, became the first female president of Honduras in January after voters elected her in a landslide last November. In that election, she garnered the largest number of votes — 1.7 million — in the country’s history, according to CNN. Castro’s win ended the 12-year run for the country’s conservative National Party, which U.S. prosecutors alleged fostered a “narco-state,” according to Axios.
In her inaugural address, attended by Vice President Harris, Castro — who ran for president in both 2013 and 2017 and served as first lady during the presidency of her husband, Manuel Zelaya — detailed her plans to tackle corruption in the country, fight narcotics traffickers and reduce poverty.
“Two hundred years have passed since our independence was proclaimed,” Castro said in her speech. “We’re breaking chains and we’re breaking traditions.”
Amy Schneider became the first woman to win more than $1 million on “Jeopardy” in January. Schneider, a 42-year-old California engineering manager who is transgender, also boasted a 40-game winning streak — the second-most consecutive wins in the show’s history.
“Playing ‘Jeopardy!’ is the most fun I’ve ever had, and I really didn’t want it to stop,” she said after her winning streak came to an end in January. “ ‘Devastating’ is too strong a word, but it was pretty disappointing.”
The late writer, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on a U.S. quarter after the Mint began shipping the coins in January.
Born in 1928, Angelou became best known for her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which detailed “the racism and abuse she endured during her harrowing childhood,” The Post’s Emma Brown wrote shortly after Angelou’s 2014 death. During her life, Angelou won three Grammy Awards for spoken-word recordings of her poetry and prose, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in 2010.
By appearing on the quarter, Angelou became the first of five women set to appear on new coins this year as part of a program authorized by an act of Congress in 2020.
Chloe Kim became the first woman to win two gold medals in the women’s halfpipe at this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, where she scored 94 on her first run before attempting a 1260, a trick that no woman in competition has ever successfully landed (Kim ended up falling).
The 21-year-old snowboarder took home her first gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where she became the youngest female Olympic gold medalist in the history of her sport at the age of 17.
“It’s such an honor to be part of this sport and help progress women’s halfpipe snowboarding,” she said after this year’s win.
Preet Chandi became the first woman of color to explore the South Pole solo when she completed her 700-mile journey in Antarctica in January after a 40-day trek — eight days ahead of her goal.
Chandi, a 32-year-old British-Indian Army officer, started training for the trek in 2020. She took a polar training course in Norway to learn basic survival skills before beginning a six-day-a-week regimen of dragging tires back in the United Kingdom to mimic pulling a sled.
Now that her trip is done, she plans to set up an adventure grant for women using some of the funds she received through the GoFundMe for her expedition, she told The Post in February.
In the meantime, she hopes her trek inspires other women to push themselves beyond their perceived limits: “Everybody starts somewhere,” she said. “There may be a lot of people, especially from our backgrounds, who’ll not want you to, but you just have to be inspired to take that first step. The rest will all fall into place on their own.”
Justice Ayesha Malik became Pakistan’s first female Supreme Court judge in January, following a contentious nomination process wherein the nine-member body that ultimately voted 5-4 to approve her confirmation initially rejected her nomination last year.
Malik, 55, now sits alongside 16 male colleagues on the country’s highest court, according to Al Jazeera, which reports that Malik attended Harvard University and served as a high court judge in Lahore for the past two decades, where she outlawed a virginity test that was used on women who reported being raped or sexually assaulted.
Shalanda Young became the first Black woman to head the Office of Management and Budget after the Senate voted 61-36 this month to confirm her nomination. The office works with other federal agencies to oversee how they spend funding approved by Congress.
Young has served as acting director of the OMB since March 2021 and previously worked for the House Appropriations Committee, where she was the first Black woman to serve as staff director for the Democrats and oversaw $1.4 trillion in annual federal funding for a variety of programs.
In her confirmation hearing, Young said that “the federal budget can and should help make the promise of this country real for all families.”
Ariana DeBose became the first Afro-Latina and openly LGBTQ actor to win best supporting actress when she took home the award at this year’s Oscars for her role as Anita in “West Side Story.” Six decades earlier, her predecessor, actress Rita Moreno — who attended Sunday night’s ceremony — won the same award for the original film version of the Broadway musical, becoming the first Latina to win an acting award at the Oscars.
In her acceptance speech, DeBose gave Moreno a shout-out — and celebrated the historic nature of her win: “To anybody who has ever questioned your identity, I promise you: There is a place for us.”