Women Who Broke Barriers Every Year Since 1950

Source: STG3 Brandon Dempster SW / Wikimedia Commons

2000: Kathleen McGrath
> Category: Military

Kathleen McGrath became the first woman to command a Navy warship at sea. She commanded the Jarrett, with a crew of 262. The ship went on a mission in the Persian Gulf to interdict oil being smuggled out of Iraq.

Source: thegessummit / Flickr

2001: Elaine Chao
> Category: Politics

Elaine Chao in 2001 became the first Asian-American woman appointed to a presidential cabinet when she was named by President George W. Bush to serve as secretary of labor.

Source: Earl Gibson III / Getty Images

2002: Halle Berry
> Category: Entertainment

Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the movie “Monster’s Ball.”

Source: The Peep Holes / Wikimedia Commons

2003: Teresa Phillips
> Category: Sports

Teresa Phillips made history when she became the first woman to coach a Division I men’s basketball game as coach at Tennessee State University.

Source: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

2004: Phylicia Rashad
> Category: Entertainment

Phylicia Rashad, who gained fame as the TV wife of Bill Cosby on “The Cosby Show,” became the first black woman to win Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her performance in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Source: Rob Kim / Getty Images

2005: Condoleezza Rice
> Category: Politics

Condoleezza Rice became first African-American woman secretary of state, serving President George W. Bush. Before that she was national security adviser, the first woman to hold the post.

Source: Paul Morigi / Getty Images

2006: Indra Nooyi
> Category: Business

Indra Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo, the first woman to lead the soft-drink and snack-food colossus, and shifted the company into more healthful products.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

2007: Nancy Pelosi
> Category: Politics

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected as speaker of the House of Representatives, the highest political position ever attained by a woman in the United States.

Source: Kris Connor / Getty Images

2008: Ann E. Dunwoody
> Category: Military

Ann E. Dunwoody became the first female four-star general in the U.S. Army.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

2009: Sonia Sotomayor
> Category: Law

Bronx-born Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice in American history, replacing Justice David Souter.