In fact, without many of these women and iconic figures, our rights to enter the workforce, earn equal pay and even run for office could have been at stake today. From Eleanor Roosevelt's reshaping of the role of first lady to Shirley Chisholm becoming the first black woman elected to U.S. Congress, here are 10 working women pioneers who changed the world for good.
Politician, teacher and author Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to U.S. Congress as well as the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Chisholm worked for and ran various schools and daycares throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan until getting into politics. Joining the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League and the Democratic Party Club in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Chisholm eventually made her way to becoming a member of the New York State Assembly. Throughout her career and during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Chisholm became a major advocate for women, minorities, early education and child welfare.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the first First Lady to step out of her husband's shadow and actively participate in politics, ultimately reshaping the role of First Lady altogether. She was a major advocate for human and women's rights, working with the League of Women Voters, Women's Trade Union League and the International Congress of Working Women and writing about gender equality in her newspaper column, "My Day." After her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away, Eleanor Roosevelt continued her work in public service as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and later chair of the U.N.'s Human Rights Commission under President Harry Truman. When John F. Kennedy took office, he named her to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and as chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women.