By: Laurie Goodman

How do we inspire and empower the next generation of women pioneers?  One way is to ensure that today’s girls know about the trailblazers who went before them to achieve great things.  By looking back and learning about the women who have shaped our past and present, we can inspire future leaders.

The first female pilot for a major airline was Bonnie Tiburzi.  In 1973, at the age of 24, she became the first female pilot for a major American commercial airline, American Airlines.  She also became the first woman in the world to earn a Flight Engineer rating on a turbo-jet aircraft.  Female aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Lucille Wright helped to pave the way.  Lucille Wright became a passionate supporter of Girls Clubs, the parent to Girls Inc.  She believed so deeply that women can succeed in any field, she left a bequest from her estate to fund scholarships for Girls Inc. members.  Those scholarships continue today and are a powerful legacy to one of the original “Ninety-Nines”, an international organization of women pilots with Amelia Earhart as their first President.  With all the ground-breaking work in this field, today, only three percent of pilots worldwide are women.  Women have accomplished much, but there is still much to do.

Other firsts include:

First Female Candidate for the Presidency, American suffragist Victoria Woodhull, she and sister were one of first to open a Wall Street Brokerage Firm – 1872

Marie Curie, first women to be awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1903, for her work on radiation

Katharine Graham, America’s first female Fortune 500 CEO, The Washington Post, 1972

First Female on Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor – 1981

Sally Ride, fir