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International Women's Day

From the U.S. Department of Transportation, a ltimeline of significant transportation contributions by women to celebrate International Women's Day.

Timeline of Women in Transportation History

Rebecca Lukens - 1825
Rebecca Lukens took charge of the Brandywine Iron Works, a company that produced iron for the boilers and hulls of ships and for railcars and rails.

Maria Mitchell - 1847
Maria Mitchell, an American astronomer, discovered a comet. She became the first woman member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1850. She later worked at the U.S. Nautical Almanac Office, contributing calculations to the Nautical Almanac produced by the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Harriet Tubman - 1850
From 1850 to 1858, Harriet Tubman helped more than 300 slaves reach freedom through the Underground Railroad.

Susan Morningstar - 1855
Susan Morningstar became one of the first women on record employed by a railroad.

Mary Patten - 1856
When her husband fell ill, Mary Patten took command of his ship, Neptune’s Car, and his crew en route from Europe to San Francisco, and, for fifty days, successfully navigated the ship around Cape Horn to off the coast of Chile.

Martha J. Coston - 1859
Martha J. Coston earned a patent for Telegraphic Night Signals, a pyrotechnic signaling system that revolutionized maritime communication. The U.S. Navy used the system to win battles and rescue shipwrecked sailors.

Eliza Murfey - 1870
Eliza Murfey patented 16 devices for improving railroad car axles. These devices were used to lubricate the axles with oil, which reduced derailments caused by seized axles and bearings.

E. F. Sawyer - 1872
The Burlington Railroad in Illinois hired E. F. Sawyer as the first American female telegraph operator.

Elizabeth Bragg Cumming - 1876
Elizabeth Bragg Cumming became the first woman in the United States to receive a civil engineering degree when she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

Emily Gross - 1877
Emily Gross was granted a patent for improvements in stone pavements.

Mary Walton - 1879
Mary Walton received patent #221,880 for a method of deflecting smokestack emissions through water tanks to capture pollutants, which were then carried by the water through the city sewage system. She adapted the system for use on locomotives.

Mary Myers - 1880
Mary Myers was the first American woman to solo in a dirigible.

Emily Warren Roebling - 1883
The Brooklyn Bridge opened. Emily Warren Roebling served as the surrogate chief engineer from 1872 to 1883. She supervised the day-to-day construction, after her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer, became ill. She later earned a law degree and became one of the first female lawyers in the state of New York.

Julia Brainerd Hall - 1886
Julia Brainerd Hall worked with her brother, Charles Hall, to develop a commercially-viable aluminum.

Mary Meyers - 1886
Mary Meyers set a new world altitude record of four miles, in a balloon filled with natural gas instead of hydrogen – she ascended to this height without benefit of oxygen equipment.

Nellie Bly - 1889
Journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, better known as Nellie Bly, began her attempt to beat the record of Phineas Fogg, the imaginary hero of Jules Verne's novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. Nellie Bly completed her journey on January 25, 1890, 3:51 p.m., exactly 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes from the day she began her trip.

Thea Foss - 1889
Thea Foss began a shipbuilding company in Tacoma, Washington, which became the Foss Maritime Company.

Annie H. Chilton - 1891
Annie H. Chilton invented and patented a combined horse-detacher and vehicle brake. The device allowed for the simultaneous application of the brake and release of the horse, which reduced the chance of injuries to drivers.

Mary Walton - 1891
Mary Walton earned a patent for her railroad sound-dampening apparatus for elevated railways, which laid the tracks in a wood box lined with cotton and filled with sand.

Clara K. Bragdon - 1895
Two years after the first federal road agency, the Office of Road Inquiry, was established, Clara K. Bragdon was hired as an assistant messenger at $840 a year.

Anne Rainsford French Bush - 1900
Anne Rainsford French Bush, apparently the first woman to receive a license to drive a car, obtained a “steam engineer’s license,” which entitled her to operate a “four-wheeled vehicle powered by steam or gas.”

Sarah Clark Kidder - 1901
Sarah Clark Kidder became the president of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad in California.

Mary Anderson - 1903
Mary Anderson patented a window cleaning device, the predecessor of today's windshield wipers.

E. Lillian Todd - 1906
E. Lillian Todd was the first woman who designed and built an aircraft – it never flew.

Alice Huyler Ramsey - 1909
Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive coast-to-coast, from New York to California. She also founded the Women’s Motoring Club.

Mrs. Ralph Van Deman - 1909
Mrs. Ralph Van Deman was the first women to fly as an airplane passenger in the United States – Wilbur Wright took her for a short flight.

Bessica Raiche - 1910
Bessica Raiche became the first woman pilot in America to make a planned flight.

Blanche Stuart Scott - 1910
Blanche Stuart Scott, without permission or knowledge of Glenn Curtiss, the airplane's owner and builder, got one of his airplanes airborne – without any flying lessons – thus becoming the first American woman to pilot an airplane.

Helene Mallard - 1910
Helene Mallard became the first women to ascend by means of a kite, which was designed by Samuel F. Perkins.

Harriet Quimby - 1911
Harriet Quimby was the first U.S. woman to earn a pilot certificate from the France-based Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). She was also the first women to fly at night, and in 1912, the first women to pilot her own aircraft across the English Channel.

Bernetta Miller - 1912
Bernetta Miller became the first person to demonstrate a monoplane for the U.S. government.

Georgia Broadwick - 1913
Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick was first woman in the world to make a parachute jump from an airplane.

Katherine Stinson - 1915
Katherine Stinson was the first female aerobatic pilot.

Wilma Russey - 1915
Wilma Russey became the first woman to work as a taxi driver in New York and was an expert garage mechanic.

Girl Scouts - 1916
The Girl Scouts initiated an “Automobling Badge” for which girls had to demonstrate driving skill, auto mechanics, and first aid skills.

Ruth Law - 1916
Ruth Law was the first person to fly air mail in the Philippines.

Charlotte Bridgwood - 1917
Charlotte Bridgwood patented the first automatic windshield wiper.

Katherine Blodgett - 1917
Katherine Blodgett became the first female scientist hired at General Electric’s research lab in Schenectady, New York.

Women in the Workforce - WWI - 1917
A large number of women entered the workforce during World War I. They worked in many male dominated jobs, such as building and maintaining vehicles and machinery.

Luella Bates - 1918
Luella Bates began working for the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. During World War I, she worked as a test driver traveling throughout the state of Wisconsin in a Model B truck. After the war, when the company let the majority of the women go, Luella remained as a demonstrator and driver. In January 1920, Luella traveled to New York City where she attended the New York Auto Show. During her stay she became the first woman truck driver to receive a drivers license in New York. In 1920, Four Wheel Drive sent Bates on three transcontinental tours throughout the United States to introduce the idea that the truck was so easy to steer a women could drive it.

Olive Dennis - 1920
Olive Dennis became the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s engineer of service. She also held several patents, such as one for the Dennis ventilator, which was inserted in the window sashes of passenger cars and controlled by passengers. She also contributed to the development of air conditioned coaches, dimmers on overhead lights, individual reclining seats, and stain-resistant upholstery. In addition, she was the first female member of the American Railway Engineering Association.

Bessie Coleman - 1921
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American, male or female, to earn a pilot’s license from the FAI.

Lillian Boyer - 1921
Lillian Boyer, one of the first female aviation acrobats and wing walkers, began her career.

Helen Schultz - 1922
Helen Schultz, the "Iowa Bus Queen," established the Red Ball Transportation Company, providing city-to-city transportation by bus.

Elinor Smith - 1927
Elinor Smith became the youngest licensed pilot to date in the U.S. at the age of 16. In 1930, she became the youngest pilot, male or female, granted a transport license by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie - 1927
Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie was the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license and an aircraft mechanics license from the U.S. federal government.

Kathrine Gerhardt Beckert - 1928
Kathrine Gerhardt Beckert was one of the first women hired by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as part of its clerical and platform force.

Louise Thaden - 1928
Louise Thaden was the first pilot to hold the women's altitude, endurance, and speed records in light planes simultaneously. In 1929 she won the first All Women's Air Race, which became known as the Power Puff Derby.

Amelia Earhart - 1929
Amelia Earhart became the first president of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of women pilots.

Elizabeth Drennan - 1929
Elizabeth Drennan received her commercial truck driver’s license and went on to run a trucking company.

Evelyn Trout - 1929
Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout was the first woman to perform in-flight aerial refueling.

F. Barnes - 1929
Florence "Pancho" Barnes was the first female stunt pilot in motion pictures.

Fay Wells - 1929
Fay Gillis Wells became the first woman pilot to parachute from a disabled airplane to save her life. This qualified her to be the first woman member of the Caterpillar Club, an informal association of people who successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft.

Ellen Church - 1930
Ellen Church, a registered nurse, served as the first airline stewardess in the U.S.

Helen Blair Bartlett - 1930
Helen Blair Bartlett developed new insulations for spark plugs.

Amelia Earhart - 1931
Amelia Earhart set the woman’s autogiro altitude record of 18,415 feet. The following year, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Katherine Cheung - 1931
Katherine Cheung became the first woman of Chinese ancestry to earn a pilot's license.

Ruth Nichols - 1931
Ruth Nichols failed in her attempt to fly solo across the Atlantic, but broke the world distance record flying from California to Kentucky.

Hattie W. Caraway - 1932
Hattie W. Caraway of Arkansas became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Rebecca Felton of Georgia had previously been appointed to the Senate, but served just one day.

Olive Ann Beech - 1932
Olive Ann Beech, along with her husband Walter, co-founded Beech Aircraft Company.

Helen Richey - 1934
Helen Richey was the first woman hired as a pilot for a U.S. commercial airline (Central Airlines).

Amelia Earhart - 1935
Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the American mainland.

Blanche Noyes - 1936
Blanche Noyes joined the Air Marking Group of the Bureau of Air Commerce becoming the first female pilot hired by a federal agency.

Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes - 1936
Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes beat male pilots in the Bendix Trophy Race, the first victory of women over men in a race which both men and women could enter.

Nadine Jeppesen - 1936
Nadine Jeppesen and her husband Captain Elry Jeppesen established a flight chart business, producing the Jeppesen Airway Manual.

Jacqueline Cochran - 1939
Jacqueline Cochran set an international speed record; the same year, she became the first woman to make a blind landing.

Willa Brown - 1939
Willa Brown was first African-American commercial pilot and first African-American woman officer in the Civil Air Patrol. She also helped establish the National Airmen's Association of America which worked to open the U.S. Armed Forces to African-American men.

Dorothy Layne McIntyre - 1940
Dorothy Layne McIntyre was one of the first African-American women accepted into a pilot training program run by the Civil Aeronautics Authority. During World War II, she taught aircraft mechanics at the War Production Training School in Baltimore, Maryland. She applied for admission to the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a program staffed by civilian women pilots who ferried military aircraft from manufacturing plants to Air Force bases, but was denied admission because of her race.

Frances Prothero - 1940
Frances Prothero became the first female manager for UPS.

Mary Converse - 1940
Mary Converse became the first woman to earn captain’s papers (for yachts of any tonnage) in the U.S. Merchant Marine. During World War II, she taught navigation to Naval Reserve officers.

Jacqueline Cochrane - 1941
Jacqueline Cochrane was the first woman to ferry a bomber across the Atlantic.

Rose Rolls Cousins - 1941
Rose Rolls Cousins was the first African-American woman in West Virginia licensed as a solo pilot under the government sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP). She earned her wings at West Virginia State College, Institute. A member of West Virginia State University's first graduating Civilian Pilot Training Program class in 1941, Cousins traveled to Tuskegee in hopes of becoming a military pilot like her male counterparts. She was refused admission because she was a woman. Cousins stayed at West Virginia State University and became an instructor in the CPTP program. Tuskegee Airmen Inc. made her an honorary member before her death in 2006.

Beatrice Alice Hicks - 1942
Beatrice Alice Hicks became the first female engineer employed by Western Electric. She developed a crystal oscillator, which generated radio frequencies, a technology used in aircraft communications. Later, while working as vice president and chief engineer at her family’s Newark Controls Company, she developed environmental sensors for heating and cooling systems – NASA later used much of this technology in its space program.

Nancy Love and Jackie Cochran - 1942
Nancy Harkness Love and Jackie Cochran organized women flying units and training detachments.

Helene Rother - 1943
Helene Rother became the first woman to work as an automotive designer when she joined the interior styling staff of General Motors in Detroit.

Janet Waterford Bragg - 1943
Janet Waterford Bragg became the first African-American woman to earn a federal commercial pilot's license.

Mazie Lanham - 1943
Mazie Lanham became the first female drive for UPS.

The WASPs - 1943
Nancy Love's and Jackie Cochran's women’s flying units merged into the Women Airforce Service Pilots and Jackie Cochran became the Director of Women Pilots. The WASPs flew more than 60 million miles before the program ended in December 1944, with only 38 lives lost out of 1830 volunteers and 1074 graduates – these women were seen as civilians and did not become recognized as military personnel until 1977.

Women 30% of Aviation Industry - 1943
Women comprised more than 30% of the work force in the aviation industry.

American Council of Railroad Women - 1944
The American Council of Railroad Women was established to provide mutual support and give women railroad workers a voice in the issues of the day.

Arcola Philpott - 1944
Arcola Philpott broke the color line at Los Angeles Railways when she became the first African-American “motormanette.”

Ivey Parker - 1944
Ivey Parker, Ph.D., a chemist and research engineer for the petroleum industry, became the first editor of Corrosion, the official publication of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.

Rosie the Riveter - 1945
By 1945, 18 million women were in the U.S. labor force, an increase of 50 percent from 1940. "Rosie the Riveter" became a symbol for women's role in the defense industry.

Ann Shaw Carter - 1947
Ann Shaw Carter was the first woman to receive a helicopter rating.

Marilyn Jorgenson Reece - 1948
Marilyn Jorgenson Reece became the first female engineer for California’s Division of Highways (now Caltrans). In 1965 she designed the I-10/405 interchange (now named after her), and later worked on construction of the I-605 Freeway, the I-210 extension, and the I-105 Century Freeway.

Grace Hopper - 1949
Grace Hopper, a U.S. Navy officer, was the first programmer of the Harvard Mark I, known as the "Mother of COBOL." She developed the first ever compiler for an electronic computer, known as A-0.

Ann Davison - 1952
From 1952 to 1953, Ann Davison became the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo in a sailboat.

M. Gertrude Rand - 1952
M. Gertrude Rand, Ph.D., became the first female fellow of the Illuminating Society of North America. During her career, she worked on the design for lighting the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River between New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey. She also developed vision standards for airplane pilots and ship lookouts during World War II. In 1959, Gertrude was the first woman to receive the Optical Society of America's Edgar D. Tillyer Medal in recognition of distinguished work in the field of vision.

Jacqueline Cochran - 1953
Jacqueline Cochran was the first woman to break the sound barrier.

Jean Ross Howard - 1955
A group of women helicopter pilots, led by Jean Ross Howard, formed Whirly Girls International, a support network for women pilots and to exchange information on rotary wing aircraft.

Rosa Parks - 1955
Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger sparking the Montgomery County Bus Boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King. Parks became an icon of resistance and an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Edith M. Flanigen - 1956
Edith M. Flanigen began work on crystalline zeolytes, or "molecular sieves," which could be used to filter and separate complex mixtures. Zeolyte technology improved the conversion of crude oil to gasoline, water purification, and environmental clean-up processes.

Mabel MacFerran Rockwell - 1958
President Dwight D. Eisenhower named Mabel MacFerran Rockwell Woman Engineer of the Year for her contributions to national defense. She was one of the first woman aeronautical engineers in the United States and is known for demonstrating the greater effectiveness and efficiency of spot welding as opposed to riveting. She designed the guidance systems for the Polaris missile and the Atlas guided missile launcher, and helped design the electrical installations at the Boulder and Hoover Dams. She also designed underwater propulsion systems and submarine guidance mechanisms.

Irmgard Flugge-Lotz - 1960
Irmgard Flugge-Lotz, an aerodynamics researcher, became Stanford University's first female professor in engineering. In 1970, she was awarded the Achievement Award by the Society of Women Engineers. She was the first woman elected to be a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1970, and in 1971 she was the first woman to be selected to give the prestigious von Karman Lecture.

Dana Ulery - 1961
Dana Ulery was the first female engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, developing real-time tracking systems using a North American Aviation Recomp II, a 40-bit word size computer.

Jane Jacobs - 1961
Jane Jacobs published a book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, one of the most influential books in the history of city planning. Her concepts of bringing life to city streets still influence pedestrian and transit planning efforts today.

Mercury 13 - 1961
A group of women aviators, known as the Mercury 13, underwent and passed the same physical and psychological exams that were given to the Mercury 7 male astronauts. None of the women were ever selected for a space mission.

Beverly Cover - 1962
Beverly Cover became the first woman highway engineer to join the Bureau of Public Roads, the predecessor of the Federal Highway Administration.

Geraldine Mock - 1964
Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock was the first woman to fly around the world.

Stephanie Louise Kwolek - 1965
Stephanie Louise Kwolek discovered liquid crystalline polymers, which eventually led to the development of Kevlar. Originally intended to reinforce the rubber in radial tires, Kevlar is now used for mooring cables, aircraft and space vehicle parts, sails, and bullet-proof vests.

Gale Ann Gordon - 1966
Ensign Gale Ann Gordon became the first woman to solo in a Navy training plane.

Ida Van Smith - 1967
Ida Van Smith founded a number of flight training clubs for minority children to encourage their involvement in aviation and aerospace sciences.

Elinor Williams - 1968
Elinor Williams became the first African-American air traffic controller.

Leah Rosenfeld - 1968
Southern Pacific employee Leah “Rosie” Rosenfeld filled and settled a sex-discrimination suit against her employer that resulted in a change to California’s women’s protective laws and opened senior positions at the railroad for women.

Virginia Allan - 1969
President Richard Nixon chartered the Presidential Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities. This task force, chaired by Virginia Allan, Chairwoman, led to the appointment of more than 100 women into executive positions in government – four times more than in any previous administration.

Mary Anderson - 1970
Mary Anderson was the first woman to successfully complete the Federal Highway Administration’s 27-month highway engineer training program

Wally Funk - 1971
Wally Funk became the first female FAA inspector and, in 1973, the first female in the FAA's System Airworthiness Analysis Program. Funk moved on to the NTSB in 1974, where she became one of the Board's first female air safety investigators.

Emily Howell Warner and Bonnie Tiburzi - 1973
Emily Howell Warner was the first woman hired as an air transport pilot for a modern, jet-equipped scheduled airline (Frontier Airlines). Bonnie Tiburzi became the first women pilot for a major U.S. commercial airline (American Airlines).

Christene Gonzales - 1973
Santa Fe Railway hired its first female locomotive engineer, Christene Gonzales.

U.S. Navy Trains Women Pilots - 1973
U.S. Navy announced it would begin training women to be pilots.

Mary Barr - 1974
Mary Barr became the first woman pilot with the Forest Service.

Sally Murphy and Barbara Allen Rainey - 1974
Sally Murphy became the first woman to qualify as a helicopter pilot with the U.S. Army.
Barbara Allen Rainey became the first female pilot in U.S. Navy.

USMMA Accepts Women - 1974
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy accepted its first group of women.

Janet Guthrie - 1977
Janet Guthrie qualified for and competed in the Indianapolis 500. Before becoming a race car driver, Guthrie worked as a pilot, flight instructor, aerospace engineer, technical editor, and public representative for major corporations.

Joan Claybrook - 1977
Joan Claybrook became the first female administrator of NHTSA.

Women’s Transportation Seminar - 1977
The Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) was founded to improve professional and personal advancement and develop industry and government recognition for women in transportation.

WWII WASP Pilots Recognized - 1977
Congress passed a bill recognizing the WASP pilots of World War II as military personnel, and President Jimmy Carter signed the bill into law.

International Society of Women Airline Pilots - 1978
The International Society of Women Airline Pilots was established.

Barbara Wilson - 1979
Barbara Wilson became the first African-American woman automobile dealer in her role as President and Dealer Operator of the Honda dealership in Ferndale, Michigan.

Lynn Spruill - 1979
Lynn Spruill became the first woman U.S. Navy aviator to obtain carrier qualification.

Alinda Burke - 1980
Alinda Burke became the first woman deputy administrator of FHWA.

Candy Lightner - 1980
Candy Lightner, founded Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), which has grown into one of the most influential safety advocacy groups in the country.

Lynn Rippelmeyer - 1980
Lynn Rippelmeyer was the first woman to pilot a Boeing 747.

Arlene Feldman - 1982
Arlene Feldman became the first woman to head a state division of aeronautics. In 1984 she began her career with the FAA as the first female deputy director of the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1986 she became the first female deputy director of the FAA's Western Pacific Region in Los Angeles, California. She became the FAA's highest ranking, non-politically appointed woman in 1988 when she became the New England Regional Administrator. In 1994, she became the director of FAA’s Eastern Region.

Rose Albert - 1982
Rose Albert was the first Native woman to compete in the Iditarod sled dog race.

Carmen Turner - 1983
Carmen Turner became the General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She was the first African-American woman to lead a major transit agency.

Elizabeth Hanford Dole - 1983
Elizabeth Hanford Dole was sworn in as the first woman Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

Ellen Evak Paneok - 1983
Ellen Evak Paneok became the first Alaska Native woman bush pilot. After flying for air taxi operations throughout Alaska, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as an operations inspector, and then for the Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation as the statewide aviation safety coordinator.

Sally Ride - 1983
Sally Ride, Ph.D., became the first U.S. woman in space.

Beverly Burns - 1984
Beverly Burns was the first woman to captain a Boeing 747 cross country.

Kathryn Sullivan - 1984
Kathryn Sullivan was the first U.S. woman to walk in space.

Jeana Yeager - 1986
Jeana Yeager served as copilot of first around-the-world, non-stop, non-refueled flight.

Jo Ann Tidwell - 1987
Jo Ann Tidwell graduated from the Spartan School of Aeronautics and became the first woman to work for a major airline as a mechanic and the first Native American woman to work for Continental Airlines.

Arlene Westermeyer - 1988
Arlene Westermeyer became UPS's first female pilot.

Barbara McConnell Barrett - 1988
Barbara McConnell Barrett became FAA’s first female deputy administrator.

Captain Jacquelyn Parker - 1988
Captain Jacquelyn “Jackie” Parker was the first woman Air Force pilot to attend the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Christine Owens - 1988
Christine Owens became the first woman district manager for UPS.

Courtney Caldwell - 1989
Courtney Caldwell started the first automotive publication aimed at women, American Woman Road & Travel.

Elaine Chao - 1989
Elaine Chao was confirmed as the first woman deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation.

Patty Wagstaff - 1991
Patty Wagstaff became the first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic Champion.

Kathy Thornton - 1992
Kathy Thornton, Ph.D., made the longest walk in space by a woman.

Mae Jemison - 1992
Mae Jemison, MD, was the first African-American woman in space.

Dr. Sheila Widnall - 1993
Dr. Sheila Widnall served as the first female Secretary of the Air Force from 1993 to 1997. She held three patents on airflow technology and is recognized for her contributions to fluid mechanics, specifically in the areas of aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows called vortices.

Ellen Ocho - 1993
Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D., became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.

Jolene Molitoris - 1993
Jolene Molitoris became the first female to head the Federal Railroad Administration.

Ginger Evan - 1994
Engineering News-Record selected Ginger Evan, a civil engineer, as the first female to receive its “Man of the Year Award.” She received the award for her work overseeing the construction of the Denver International Airport. The award is now called the “Award of Excellence and Woman of the Year.”

Jackie Parker - 1994
Jackie Parker became the first woman to qualify to fly an F-16 combat plane.

Patti Grace Smith - 1994
Patti Grace Smith joined the Department of Transportation Office of Commercial Space as associate managing director. She became the office’s chief of staff in 1995. That year, the office moved from the Department into the Federal Aviation Administration. In 1998, she became the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation.

Susan J. Binder - 1994
Susan J. Binder, formerly Chief of the Industry and Economic Analysis Branch, Office of Policy Development, reported for duty as Maryland Division Administrator, the first woman to become an FHWA Division Administrator.

Vicki Van Meter - 1994
Vicki Van Meter became the youngest pilot (12 years old) to date to fly across the Atlantic.

Julie Anna Cirillo - 1995
Julie Anna Cirillo became the first woman to become an FHWA regional administrator when she took over management of FHWA’s Region 9 (San Francisco, CA).

Lea Soupata - 1995
Lea Soupata became the first women to serve on UPS's Management Committee.

Gail C. McDonald - 1996
Gail C. McDonald became the first woman to serve as the administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Shannon Lucid - 1996
Shannon Lucid became the first American to walk in space for the longest period of time and the first American woman with most missions in space.

Ann Livermore - 1997
Ann Livermore became the first female to serve on the UPS board of directors.

Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance - 1997
The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance was established to support women in the field of aviation maintenance. Members include avionics technicians, engineers, scientists, and educators.

Christine Owens - 1997
Christine Owens became UPS's first female regional director.

Jane Garvey - 1997
Jane Garvey became the first woman administrator of the FAA and the first administrator to serve a five-year term.

Kalpana Chawla - 1997
Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian-American woman and the second Indian to travel in space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. She was an aerospace engineer and one of seven crew members killed in the Columbia disaster.

League of Railway Industry Women - 1997
The League of Railway Industry Women formed to provide leadership and support for the personal and professional growth of women at every level in railroading and railway-related business.

Karen Thorndike - 1998
Karen Thorndike became the first American woman to sail around the world when she completed her two year and two week adventure.

Lt. Col. Eileen Collins - 1999
Lt. Col. Eileen Collins served as NASA’s first female space shuttle commander.

Rodica Baranescu - 2000
Rodica Baranescu, Ph.D., became the first woman president of the Society of Automotive Engineers. As an engineer at the International Truck and Engine Corporation she worked on developing environmentally-friendly fuel, lubricants, and coolants for diesel engines.

Mary E. Peters - 2001
Mary E. Peters was appointed as the first female Federal Highway Administrator.

Col. Martha McSally - 2004
Col. Martha McSally was the first woman to command an U.S. Air Force fighter squadron (354th Fighter Squadron).

Dr. Patricia Galloway - 2004
Dr. Patricia Galloway became the first woman president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Anousheh Ansari - 2006
Anousheh Ansari became the first female private space explorer. Launched on September 18, 2006, Iranian-born U.S. Citizen Ansari spent eight days at the International Space Station and carried out human physiology experiments for the European Space Agency.

Major Nicole Malachowski - 2006
Major Nicole Malachowski was the first U.S. Air Force woman Thunderbird pilot.

Peggy Whitson - 2007
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson became the first women to command the International Space Station.

Dr. Wanda Austin - 2008
Dr. Wanda Austin became the aerospace and defense industry’s first African-American female president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation.

Major Jennifer Grieves - 2008
Major Jennifer Grieves became the first female helicopter aircraft commander in the history of Marine One, the HMX-1 helicopter the president of the United States flies on.

First African-American, all female flight crew - 2009
Captain Rachelle Jones, first officer Stephanie Grant and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers became the first African-American, all female flight crew for Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) Flight 5202.

Jennifer Smith - 2009
Jennifer Smith created the nonprofit organization FocusDriven: Advocates for Cell-Free Driving to support victims and families of cell phone-related crashes. Smith became one of the leading advocates against distracted driving after her mother was killed by a driver talking on a cell phone.

Deborah Ale Flint - 2010
Deborah Ale Flint became the first African-American woman airport director in California’s bay area when she became the Director of Aviation for the Port of Oakland, the owner and operator of Oakland International Airport.

First Female Superintendents of the SFMTA - 2010
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency selected its first female superintendents: Sarita Britt, Potrero Division; Cindia Chambers, Presidio Division; and Debra Franks, Kirkland Division. Cheryl Turner became the assistant superintendent of the Woods Division. During this year, Paulette Davis served as acting superintendent of the Presidio Division and Elizabeth Valdelon as acting superintendent of the Cable Car Division. Two additional women became superintendents in 2012: Leda Rozier, Woods Division, and Elizabeth Valdelon, Flynn Division.

Crash Testing Impact on Women - 2011
Beginning with the 2011 model year, crash test ratings in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program included a 5th percentile female dummy (5 ft. tall and 110 lbs.). This allowed NHTSA to better assess the impact of vehicle crashes on women.

Lisa Stabler - 2011
Lisa Stabler was elected president of The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) Board of Directors. Stabler had been TTCI’s Vice President of Operations and Training since arriving from BNSF Railway, where she was Assistant Vice President of Quality and Reliability Engineering.

Carol Fenton - 2012
Carol Fenton became the first woman at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) to attain the SES rank as associate administrator, after a 34-year career at the SLSDC beginning in 1978 as a switchboard operator/receptionist.

Dr. Katie Turnbull - 2012
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation awarded the Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Katie Turnbull for her 35 years of work in transportation, research, service, and education. Turnbull is a recognized expert on high-occupancy vehicle facilities, toll facilities, managed lanes, public transportation, transportation planning, travel demand management, and intelligent transportation systems.

Sue Cischke - 2012
Sue Cischke retired after 35 years of service in the automobile industry. She left the industry after serving as Ford's vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering since 2008. Before joining Ford in 2001, she was senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Passenger Car Operations for DaimlerChrysler. She began her career at Chrysler Corporation in 1976.

Danica Patrick - 2013
Danica Patrick made history as the first woman to take a NASCAR Sprint Cup pole position for the Daytona 500.

Major General Michelle Johnson - 2013
President Obama nominated Major General Michelle Johnson for the appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment to serve as the Air Force Academy’s first female superintendent. As an air force cadet at the Academy, she was the first woman to serve as Cadet Wing Commander – the senior ranking cadet.

Sarah Canclini - 2013
Sarah Canclini became the first person and the first woman in the maritime and transportation industry to earn the new A.A.S. in Maritime Technologies from Tidewater Community College. As a registered apprentice with BAE Systems Ship Repair, Sarah took her required apprentice-related instruction at the college. The Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Center, helped the college create the A.A.S. degree to provide apprentices and other technician-level maritime industry workers with academic credential.