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For International Women's Day 2018, Ashfield is taking a look at female achievements from across the globe in the last 100 years.

This year, Britain celebrates 100 years since women got the vote after decades of campaigning for it. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 the vote, and in 1928 this was extended to all women over the age of 21. In light of this, for International Women’s Day 2018, Ashfield takes a look at pioneering women throughout the last 100 years.

Two years after British women got the vote, women in the US were granted the vote in 1920. This decade also saw Canadian, Aloha Wanderwell succeed as the first woman to drive around the world in 1921, and American, Amelia Earhart become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.

The 1930s saw Turkey elect Sadiye Hanim as the first female major in 1930, Norwegian Sonja Henie become 10 times world champion figure skater in 1936 and Austrian scientist Lise Meitner be part of a team in 1939 that discovered nuclear fission in uranium. In 1946, Marguerite de Riemaecker-Legot was elected as Brussels’ representative in the Belgian Chamber of Peoples Representatives, quite an achievement in a country where women were yet to be given the vote.

In 1953, the double-helix model structure of DNA was published in Nature, facilitated by the work of British Rosalind Franklin. Also in 1953, American Virginia Apgar introduced the ‘Apgar test’ to assess the health of new born babies, and in 1958, Sweden saw Ulla Lindström become their first female acting Prime Minister. 1963 saw Russian Valentino Tereshkova become the first woman to travel into space and in 1967 German Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to compete in the Boston Marathon.

In the 1970s Danish Ester Boserup contributed to the discourse surrounding gender and development practices with her 1970 work Woman’s Role in Economic Development. In this decade, 1975 saw Japanese Junko Tabei become the first woman to climb Mount Everest and in 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of Britain.

In the 1980s, Portuguese Rosa Maria Correia dos Santos Mota became the first woman to win multiple Olympic marathon medals as well as being the only woman to be the reigning European, World, and Olympic champion at the same time. In 1984, Finnish Hella Wuolijoki published the ‘Niskavuori’ series under her male pen name, which features the power struggle between the older and younger generations of women. In 1988, Australian Kay Cottee became the first female sailor to perform a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the world in 189 days.

In 1990, Mary Robinson became the first female President of Ireland, and Antonia Novello became the first female, Hispanic, Surgeon General in the USA. 2004 saw Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, become the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2005, British Ellen MacArthur became the fastest person to sail single-handed around the world and at 28 years old, the youngest person to receive a damehood. In 2009, Australian-American Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize for her work with chromosomes, specifically looking at telomeres and the enzyme telomerase, and this year, in 2018, women in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to drive for the first time.

Of the 7,000 people that Ashfield employs across 23 countries globally, currently over 4,700 of them are female! At Ashfield we are proud to support all of our female employees and all of the women around the world on International Women’s Day 2018.


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