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Women as role models

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey began her broadcasting career when she was still in high school. At the age of 19, she became the youngest person and the first African-American woman to anchor the news at WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. Her television show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, has been the number one ranked television talk show for 22 straight seasons. And that’s not all! According to Forbes magazine, Ms. Winfrey was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world's only African-American billionaire for three years running.Life magazine hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation. In 2005, Business Week named her the greatest African-American philanthropist in American history. Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls' education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton is currently the 67th Secretary of State of the United States. The Secretary of State is the head of the Department of State and represents President Barack Obama to countries around the world. The secretary is a member of the President's “inner cabinet” of advisers and, by law, is a member of the National Security Council. Secretary Clinton joined the State Department after nearly 40 years in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator. In 2000, Hillary Clinton made history as the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate. In 2006, Senator Clinton was again elected to the U.S. Senate, and in 2007 she ran for President of the United States.

Nancy Pelosi

The first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is Nancy Pelosi.Ms. Pelosi represents California's Eighth District in the House of Representatives, which includes most of the City of San Francisco. One of Ms. Pelosi's first accomplishments as a Congresswoman was the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. She has also supported development of an HIV vaccine, expanded access to Medicaid (a healthcare program for people with low incomes and resources) for people living with HIV, and increased funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative and other programs important to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Joanne Kathleen (J.K.) Rowling.

Joanne Kathleen (J.K.) Rowling was born in 1965 in England. A single mother living in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ms. Rowling became an internationally famous author in 1999 when her first three books about Harry Potter took over the top three slots of The New York Times best-seller list. In July 2000, the fourth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, became the fastest-selling book in history.

Ellen Degeneres

She is an actress, a comedienne, a television hostess, and was the first openly gay or lesbian person to host the Academy Awards. Ellen DeGeneres hosts “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” a daytime television talk show that has earned more than 20 Emmy Awards. Ms. DeGeneres has also been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Anne Titelman

Anne Teitelman, PhD, CRNP is an HIV/AIDS advocate who works on issues surrounding girls and HIV. Dr. Teitelman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She earned three challenging degrees: a BA from Vassar College, a Master's from Yale University, and a PhD, together with a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, from the University of Michigan. Today she researches how to prevent HIV infection in adolescents and how partner violence — such as when a boyfriend or husband hits a woman — can increase a woman's risk of getting HIV. Read an interview with Dr. Teitelman to learn more!

Sheila Baxter

The first female general officer in the Army Medical Service Corps is Brigadier (Brig-a-deer) General Sheila R. Baxter, a 28-year career officer. A Brigadier General is an officer of the rank between Colonel and Major General. In July 2002, she received the Honorary Silver Award for excellence in community service from the Lord Mayor of Pirmasens, Germany. She is a licensed Evangelist with the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Mai Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, September 12, 1992 — the first woman of color to go into space. This historic event was only another in a series of accomplishments for this dynamic African-American woman. Dr. Jemison was Science Mission Specialist (a NASA first) on the STS-47 Space lab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission. She conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment. Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993.

Anne Mulcahy

Anne M. Mulcahy is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation. She was named CEO of Xerox on August 1, 2001, and chairman on January 1, 2002. She began her Xerox career as a field sales representative in 1976 and assumed increasingly responsible sales and senior management positions. From 1992-1995, Ms. Mulcahy was Vice President for Human Resources.

Danica Patrick

Danica Sue Patrick is a professional race car driver in the Indy Racing League (IRL). She was named Rookie of The Year in the 2005 IRL Championship. Last year, she also won her first pole position, leading a 1,2,3 sweep by Rahal-Letterman Racing at Kansas Speedway. Ms. Patrick became the second woman to accomplish this feat in the IRL IndyCar Series — the first being Sarah Fisher in 2002 at the Kentucky Speedway.

 

Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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