Firsts for Women: February 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:

  • Gali Baharav-Miara – first woman attorney general for Israel.
  • Paula Balafas – first woman chief of police for the University of Arizona.
  • Elizabeth Benn – first woman director of Major League operations for the New York Mets, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. She is the franchise’s highest-ranking female baseball operations employee ever.
  • Maame Biney – first Black woman to make U.S. Olympic short track speedskating team.
  • Morgan Bullock – first Black woman to dance with Irish dance troupe Riverdance.
  • Caitlyn Callahan – first woman to coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, an MLB team.
  • Jane Campion – first woman to earn two Academy Awards nominations for Best Director. She was nominated in 1994 for The Piano and in 2022 for The Power of the Dog.
  • Susan M. Collins – first Black woman to lead a regional bank of the U.S. Federal Reserve System and first woman of color to be named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Pamela Culpepper – first Black woman on Prada’s board of directors.
  • Kelly Curtis – first Black athlete to compete in the skeleton event for the U.S. at the Olympics.
  • Elsa Desmond – first woman luge Olympian from Ireland.
  • Jessie Diggins – first American woman to win an Olympic cross-country skiing medal in an individual event.
  • Sarah Escobar – first woman from Ecuador to compete at the Winter Olympics.
  • Katherine Evans – first woman in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to head the analytics department as the new vice president of research and information systems for the Washington Wizards.
  • Germaine Franco – first Latina to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.
  • Anna Gasser – first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in snowboarding big air.
  • Natalie Geisenberger – first woman to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in luge.
  • Danielle Goyette – first woman to coach in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) team. The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league with teams in the United States and Canada.
  • Hannah Green – first woman to win a mixed-gender professional golf tournament.
  • Eileen Gu – first woman to win an Olympic gold for freeski big air.
  • Lara Gut-Behrami – first person to win a gold medal in super-G Alpine skiing for Switzerland.
  • Rita Hite – first woman to serve as chief executive of the American Forest Foundation.
  • Kathy Hochul – first woman to be a major-party nominee for governor in New York.
  • Robin Holmes-Sullivan – first Black woman president of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
  • Kaillie Humphries – first woman to win an Olympic gold for two different countries (Canada and the U.S.).
  • Erin Jackson – first Black woman to win gold in an individual sport at the Winter Olympics and first Black woman to win an Olympic medal in speed skating.
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson – first Black woman nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Sofía Jirau – first woman with Down syndrome to be a Victoria’s Secret model.
  • Chloe Kim – first woman to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the snowboard halfpipe.
  • Vanessa de Mari-Monserrate – first woman president of the Puerto Rico Builders Association.
  • Liz Mills – first woman head coach of a men’s basketball team in Morocco and in the Arab world. She will lead Association Sportive Salé, commonly known as AS Salé.
  • Vanusia Nogueira – first woman to serve as executive director of the International Coffee Organization, the main intergovernmental body dealing with global coffee issues.
  • Susanne Pulverer – first woman CEO of IKEA India.
  • Kala Ramachandran – first woman appointed commissioner of police of Gurugram, India.
  • Abby Roque – first Indigenous woman to play hockey for the U.S. in Olympics.
  • Zoi Sadowski-Synnott – first woman to win a Winter Olympic gold medal for New Zealand.
  • Domee Shi, Julia Cho and Lindsey Collins – first all-female leadership team to helm a Pixar feature film. Shi is the director and writer of Turning Red, while Cho is a co-writer and Collins is the producer.
  • Natalie Simon – first Black woman to earn a FIFA badge, the highest ranking for match referee.
  • Marva Smalls – first Black woman to serve on the Heisman Trophy Trust’s board of trustees.
  • Laura Sullivan – first American woman to serve as Olympic alpine ski official.
  • Tania Tetlow – first woman appointed as president of Fordham University in New York.
  • Teresa Theetge – first woman to be chief of the Cincinnati Police Department.
  • Melina Travlos – first woman to serve as president of the Union of Greek Shipowners. Greece is considered the preeminent shipping nation, with Greek shipowners in control of more than 20% of global fleet capacity.
  • Ari Wegner – first woman to earn a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards cinematography nomination.
  • Ireen Wüst – first athlete to win individual gold medals at five Olympics.
  • Vanessa Wyche – first Black woman to serve as director of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
  • Kamila Valieva – first woman to land a quad jump in Olympic history. The 15-year-old figure skater landed a quadruple salchow in her team event free skate and a quad toeloop, which also made her the first woman to land two quads at the Winter Olympics.

Moments we missed in December:

  • Sofia Chang – first Asian American CEO of Girl Scouts USA.

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]