100 Women Who Have Helped Shape America
Welcome to The Hill's special tribute, Century of the Woman.
One hundred years ago, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The suffrage advocates, who lobbied Congress, campaigned for support and won over legislators in states across the nation, overcame fierce opposition — and even violence — to secure the ballot.
But the fight for equality was just beginning. Native American and Asian American women were left out. Black women in the South had to wait 45 more years before the Voting Rights Act forced southern states to allow them to vote.
The journey for true equal rights continues to this day. Women are paid less than men. There has never been a female president or vice president. While women have made major strides in getting elected to Congress, more than 75 percent of lawmakers are male. Only 44 women have served or are serving as governors of their states.
There have been extraordinary successes, including the elevation of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to the position of House Speaker — on two occasions.
The Century of the Woman celebrates 100 extraordinary women. The list includes bold-face names and the stories of more obscure contributors to modern American society — the first person to isolate the HIV virus, the woman who discovered why the ozone layer had a hole, one of the inventors of modern computer code. The Hill's list includes women who are activists, sports leaders, senior business officials, entertainment giants and government officials.
This list is not a ranking, and it leaves out the millions of others who have made a substantial impact on American life. It is meant to highlight those whose stories have been glossed over, those who deserve recognition and those who are still contributing today.
I am extremely proud of The Hill's work on this important issue. I would like to thank our reporters who immediately volunteered to help put the list together, and I especially would like to thank Ashley Perks and Reid Wilson for their hard work in organizing this enormous project.
We hope you enjoy The Hill's Century of the Woman.
— Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief
Photo illustrations by Julia Nikhinson and Madeline Monroe. Videos by Joaquin Sosa.