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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

The March Quiz: Celebrating Firsts by Women


In honor of Women’s History Month we’re testing our knowledge of women who are/were trailblazers. These women are the first person or the first woman to be credited with achieving excellence in their chosen endeavors. We’ve included some women who also achieved firsts for their race or ethnic group. Sadly, there are still many males and females who remain unsung heroes, but big props to these ladies for their assault on the glass ceiling.

We’ve divided our questions into labeled sections such as “Sports, Medicine, Politics or Entertainment. From our WORDBANK of names, see how many women you can match to their accomplishments.


Phyllis Wheatley                            Margaret Thatcher

Frances Perkins                               Ellen Ochoa

Julie Krone                                        Sandra Day O’Connor

Kathryn Bigelow                             Michelle Obama                             

Hillary Clinton                                  Regina Jonas

Madeleine Albright                       Shirley Chisholm

Charlotte Cooper                             Janet Yellen

Hattie McDaniel                             Bessie Coleman

Mae Jemison                                   Amelia Earhart

Edith Wharton                                 Condoleezza Rice

Sirimavo Bandaranaike                Wilma Rudolph                               

Manon Rheaume                           Gwendolyn Brooks                                          

Junko Tabei                                       Marian Anderson                            

Stefania Wolicka-Arnd                 Katharine Graham

Janet Guthrie                                   Sonia Sotomayor

Aretha Franklin                               Mary Kies

Sara Teasdale                                  Anne Bradstreet

Elisa Raymonde Deroche  aka Raymonde de LaRoche

Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky

Valentina Tereshkova


With the publication of The Tenth Muse in 1650, ______________ became the first published poet from the New World and one of the first female poets from anywhere to have a full book of poems published.

 In 1773, ______________ became the first published African-American woman in 1773 with her book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

In 1918,  ______________ won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1917 poetry collection Love Songs - made possible by a special grant from The Poetry Society. The organization now lists it as the earliest Pulitzer Prize for Poetry which was not an official category until 1922 making her the first person a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

 In 1921, ______________ became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature for The Age of Innocence.

 In 1950,  ______________ became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

 Aeronautics/Space Exploration:

In 1910,  ____________________________ became the first woman to receive a pilot’s license. The French pilot was issued license #36 of the International Aeronautics Federation by the Aero-Club of France.

 In 1921,  ______________ was the first female pilot of African-American and Native American descent to obtain her International pilot's license. Denied opportunities to become a pilot in the United States because of racial and gender discrimination, she went to Paris to pursue her dreams.

 In 1928, ______________ became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane.

 In 1963,  ______________ became the first woman in space. The former textile worker-turned Russian cosmonaut completed three days in space aboard the Vostok 6.

 In 1992, Astronaut ______________ became the first African-American woman in space.

 In 1993,  ______________ became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space aboard the Discovery shuttle. In 2013 Ochoa became the first Hispanic director, and second female director, of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.


In 1933,  ______________ became the first female member of a Presidential cabinet.

 In 1960,  ___________________________ became the first woman head of government. She served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after winning the Ceylon general election.

 In 1969,  ______________ became the first black woman elected to Congress.

 In 1979,  ______________ became the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain. Nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her uncompromising style, she also became the longest serving British Prime Minister in the 20th century.

 In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated ______________ to be the first woman on the Supreme Court.

 In 1997,  ______________ became the first female Secretary of State.

 In 2000,  ______________ became the first female U.S. National Security Advisor, and in 2005, the first African-American woman appointed U.S. Secretary of State.

 In 2009,  ______________ became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history.

 In 2014, the economist  ______________ became the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve Board.

 In 2016,  ______________ became first female presidential nominee of a major party.


In 1895,  ____________________________ became the first woman to bicycle around the world. This mother of three from Boston was originally from Latvia. She had never ridden a bicycle, but she pedaled the globe, making stops in New York City, Paris, Egypt, Jerusalem, Colombo and Singapore.

 In 1900,  ______________ became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. The English tennis player won gold medals in the first women’s singles event and the mixed doubles competition.

 In the 1960s,  ______________ was considered the "fastest woman in the world" and became the first woman to win three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics Games.

 In 1975, ______________ became the first woman to climb Mount Everest. She is a seasoned mountain climber and ecological activist who has also climbed Mount Fuji and the Matterhorn. Her goal is to climb the highest peak in every country in the world.

 In 1977,  ______________ became the first woman to drive in the Indy 500.

 In 1992, ______________ became the first woman to play in an NHL game.

 In 1993, ______________ became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race. The American jockey won the Belmont Stakes riding Colonial Affair. In 2003, she also became the first woman to win a Breeders’ Cup race.


In 1940, ______________ became the first African-American woman to win an Oscar for her performance in Gone with the Wind.

 In 1955,  ______________ became the first African-American to perform with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

 In 1987,  ______________ became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2010, ______________ became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for The Hurt Locker.

 Accomplishments in Education, Religion, Science, Business and traditionally male fields:

 In 1809, ______________ became the first woman to receive a U.S. patent. The Connecticut native improved hat-making by inventing a process for weaving straw with silk or thread.

 In 1818, ______________ became America's first female firefighter, working with New York's Oceanus Engine Company #11.

 In 1875,  ____________________________ became the first woman awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in the modern era. The Polish historian received her degree from the University of Zurich.

 In 1935, ______________, a native of Berlin, became the first woman ordained as a rabbi.

 In 1972,  ______________became the first woman Fortune 500 CEO of the Washington Post Company.

Under her leadership, The Washington Post played a key role in unveiling the Watergate conspiracy.



March 2019 in Pictures

Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray - A Review by Fran Joyce