January is a great month for fresh starts and new things, but this year, I’m hoping we can take a moment to look back. There are three anniversaries of women’s accomplishments happening this month. Not only do I tear up just thinking about women’s empowerment, I also want to share a big clap with everyone for just how far our country has come since these women became the “first” to do what they did. 

Put on your hats, we’re traveling back in time. And be wary, it will look a lot different than the beautiful, high-achieving women’s life we’ve been living. 

January 5th, 1925

Born twenty years after the historic Seneca Falls Convention, and well-of age when the 19th Amendment was ratified, Nellie Tayloe Ross made history by becoming the first woman elected as the governor of a U.S. State. She became the governor of Wyoming, and to this day is the only woman to hold that post. Her husband had previously held the governorship, but she had to win a special election over her husband’s successor to win the seat, so she didn’t exactly get handed the seat. 

She was inaugurated on January 5th, 1925. 

As of late 2020, nine women holds governors seats in the 50 U.S. States. 

January 12, 1932

Like Ross, Hattie Caraway of Arkansas followed in her husband’s footsteps to politics, but also won a democratically-fair election. She was not technically the first woman to “serve” in the Senate–that was Rebecca Latimer Felton who served for a day–but she was the first to win an election to be a Senator. 

On January 12, 1932, she was appointed to the Senate. Later that year, she won her election fair and square, becoming the first woman elected to the Senate. 

As of late 2020, there are 26 women currently serving in the Senate. Total, to date, there have been 57 to serve, and a 58th is set to join them in January 2021. 

January 23, 1849

Non-politically, women in power (and career women!) have something to celebrate in the anniversary of Elizabeth Blackwell being awarded her MD from the Medical Institute of Geneva, NY. She was the first woman in the United States awarded a medical degree. 

This made her America’s first MD-awarded female doctor, though we all know women have been doing medical work since the beginning of time. Blackwell died before the 19th Amendment was ratified, meaning she spent a life saving lives and was never allowed to vote. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member