Women continue to break barriers, make history

Women are making history.

At the top of the list is Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as our country’s vice president. She also is the first Black American and first South Asian American to be elected vice president.

She is not alone.

Women’s Public Leadership Network, which educates, organizes and inspires women to enter public office, compiled this list of “firsts” from the November election.

• Yvette Herrell (New Mexico) — first Native American Republican woman elected to the U.S. Congress

• Nancy Mace — first Republican woman to represent South Carolina in Congress, and second woman, Republican or Democrat, from her state ever elected to serve a full congressional

• Cynthia Lummis — first woman from Wyoming elected to the U.S. Senate

• Ashley Hinson— first female Republican from Iowa elected to Congress

• Stephanie Bice (Oklahoma) — first Iranian-American elected to Congress

• Cori Bush — first Black female elected to represent Missouri in Congress

• Marilyn Strickland, Michelle Steel and Young Kim — first three Korean-American women elected to Congress

• Susan Collins (Maine) — now the longest serving Republican woman in U.S. history.

• Sarah McBride — U.S. senator from Delaware, is the highest-ranking openly transgender official.

Elected officials aren’t the only women making history, of course.

Each year the National Women’s History Museum in Alexandria, Va., presents its Women Making History Awards. In 2020, awards went to activists Logan Browning and Andie MacDowell, international philanthropist and author Nancy O’Reilly and businesswoman Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks. Learn more about their accomplishments at https://www.womenshistory.org.

Of course, female Hinsdaleans have made history as well.

• Loie Fuller, an actress and dancer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a pioneer of modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques.

• Dr. Mary Paulson co-founded the Hinsdale Sanitarium (now Amita Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale) with her husband, Dr. David Paulsen, in 1905.

• Ly Hotchkin became the first executive director (and therefore the first female executive director) of The Community House in 1961.

• Joyce Skoog became the first and only female village president in Hinsdale in 1993.

We could cite many more names of Hinsdale woman who did their part to make the village a better place to live. And we expect the girls and young women who live here today will go on to make history as well.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, little girls who wanted to be a doctor or a business owner or an astronaut or a Supreme Court justice had no examples to look to. Those were jobs held by men.

Now the list of jobs that have only been held by men is quite a bit shorter. Three years ago Business Insider published a list of 15 important jobs women have never held, from head coach of a major sports team to chief justice of the Supreme Court to CEO of a top-5 Fortune 500 company.

Two of the entries are now outdated, with the Harris as VP and Janet Yellen as treasury secretary.

“If you can see it, you can be it,” actress Elizabeth Marvel said.

Before too long, there will be no jobs left that a woman has not done.

That day will go down in history.