The past year has been one for the history books. We’ve had a pandemic, civil unrest, changes to our government, and some fantastic breakthroughs. One notable achievement over the past year is women finding their voices and stepping into leading roles. Here are five girl power moments from 2020!
- First Woman and First Woman of Color to be the Vice President
You had to know Kamala Harris would be on this list! Her father immigrated from Jamaica and her mother emigrated from India, which makes her the first Black and South Asian American woman to be the VP. She was also the first of her race and gender to represent California in the Senate. Kamala has a long list of how she has helped other women, people of color, and her community throughout her career.
One fun fact about Ms. Vice President is her name. Kamala translates to “lotus” in Sanskrit. Her mother chose that name to stay close to their cultural heritage and because it is another name for the Hindu deity Lakshmi. Kamala Harris has also written three books! One on criminal reform, another in an autobiography style, and a children’s book.
- TIME’s First-Ever kid of the year was a 15-year-old female
This one had me feeling pride and hope for this girl as if I was her parent! Gitanjali Rao is a 15-year-old scientist and inventor. She was chosen out of 5,000 other youngsters to be featured on the cover of TIME’s. With that feature came an interview with Angelia Jolie. In that interview, she said part of her mission is to “create a global community of young innovators to solve problems”. Gitanjali has also worked on contaminated drinking water, the opioid crisis, and cyberbullying all before the age of 18!
Gitanjali had quite a stellar childhood. When she was 10 years old she told her parents she wanted to research something called “carbon nanotube sensor technology”. Not sure about you but I have never heard that term before, shoutout to her for being a little genius at such a young age.
TIME’s Interview: https://time.com/5916772/kid-of-the-year-2020/
- First Female Superbowl Coach
It’s time to switch gears toward the sports industry. In case you weren’t aware, it’s extremely hard for women to work their way up in the sports world. Especially when it comes to male sports leagues. Imagine that struggle with the added challenge of working in America’s favorite sport: the National Football League. Katie Sowers broke barriers as the assistant offensive coach for the San Francisco 49ers last year. Her hope as the first female coach is that she won’t be the last female in her position.
The NFL has made strides since 2016 to better include women in the industry. Take a look at the article to read more about Katie Sowers and women in the NFL.
- First Black Executive of the Miami Herald
Women in Media broke through the glass ceiling more than once in 2020. Media is another industry that is disproportionately occupied and led by men. Last year, a Black Female earned the role of Executive Editor at the Miami Herald newspaper. She is the first black person to be awarded this role in the company’s 117-year history. That woman is Monica Richardson. She has worked in the news industry for 30 years at the Charlottesville Observer, Florida Times-Union, Lexington Herald-Leader, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Monica has held multiple leading roles at those companies, most recently as the senior managing editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was recognized as Atlanta’s Business League Top 100 Women of Influence for multiple years and was involved with the Pulitzer Prize board.
- Leading the Pfizer Vaccine
Kathrin Jansen is the head of research and development at Pfizer. Part of her career includes developing two of the most most popular vaccines: the human papillomavirus and the pneumococcus. With the pandemic, she has led a team of 650 people to streamline the development of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Kathrin grew up in East Germany, then fled to West Germany with her family after the rise of the Berlin Wall. She studied at Philipps-University in Marburg, worked at Cornell and Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology before moving her career into vaccines.
Katherine Jansen’s Career History: https://www.statnews.com/2020/08/24/pfizer-edge-in-the-race-for-a-covid-19-vaccine-could-be-a-scientist-with-two-best-sellers-to-her-credit/
There you have it! Five record-breaking, girl power moments of 2020. These women were just a few of the many. Last year we experienced HUNDREDS of females around the world making an impact in their communities, nationally, and globally. Thank you for reading this article and celebrating our allies and role models with me!
References for these moments: