International Women's Day: 11 US women making history in 2022

'The National' takes a look at American women changing their country and the world

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From the first black woman Supreme Court nominee to a stout defender of voting rights, the US is home to many inspirational women.

For International Womens’ Day, The National takes a look at 11 American women who are changing their country and the world.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Ms Brown Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden to replace Justice Steven Breyer, whom she clerked for when she was fresh out of Harvard Law School.

Currently a judge on Washington’s Federal Appellate Court, she served as a US District judge from 2013 to 2021.

She is a mother of two daughters, a point she referenced with great pride during her acceptance speech at the White House.

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is a leading figure in the US voting rights movement and one of the country's most influential former politicians. Ms Abrahams served in the Georgia State House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017.

Ms Abrams, who narrowly lost her Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018, was credited as one of those responsible for driving historic turnout in the 2020 general election that turned the state blue.

Grassroots organisations are estimated to have helped register 800,000 new voters in a state that is purging voter rolls by the thousands,

Ms Abrams officially announced that she would once again run for governor of Georgia today on International Women's Day.

Dr Rochelle Walensky

As the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky is one of the most influential women in health care in the US and the face of government's campaign against Covid-19.

Dr Walensky revamped CDC efforts in tackling public health issues, bringing more focus on gender equity and underserved communities, launching a $2.25 billion initiative to fund health departments in places hit hard by Covid-19.

She embraced a cautious approach to lifting Covid-19 restrictions and has intensified messaging efforts by CDC since she took office in January 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, Dr Walensky has held hundreds of press conferences and interviews, sometimes to counter misinformation about the pandemic and vaccines.

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife of Britain's Prince Harry, has been a fixture in the headlines even after she gave up her royal duties and moved back to the US.

The actress-turned-royal was born in California and became an international sensation when she married Prince Harry in 2018.

Her rare public appearances often shine the spotlight on important national and international issues, such as vaccine equity.

She, along with Prince Harry, has also advocated paid family leave in the US and elsewhere.

Jill Biden

The first lady is not only the wife of Mr Biden but also a vocal advocate for education. While Mr Biden served as vice president and even as president, Ms Biden has worked as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, making her the only sitting first lady to ever hold a paying job.

She received her doctorate in education in 2007 from the University of Delaware.

The daughter of a Navy veteran and the mother of an Army veteran, Ms Biden has also done considerable work with military families. She has also pushed the US government to provide funding for gender equity and equality programmes in countries around the world.

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury could potentially be the first Muslim-American woman to serve on the US federal bench, nominated to sit on the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union since 2020, Ms Choudhury led efforts to end racial profiling and the law enforcement targeting of people of colour.

Ms Choudhury's legal team has advanced cases pertaining to First Amendment rights, voting rights, gender equity and government transparency.

Samantha Power

Samantha Power took up her post as head of the US Agency for International Development last year.

The academic and former journalist rose to prominence with her 2002 award-winning book about genocide called A Problem from Hell.

She later served in former president Barack Obama's administration as UN ambassador and on the National Security Council, pushing for human rights, climate action and rallying international efforts against corruption, human trafficking and the Ebola epidemic.

Frances Haugen

Frances Haugen gained international prominence when she became a whistleblower against Facebook.

After working as a product manager for the company, she leaked internal research documents and more to news organisations to show how Facebook is harming its users.

Ms Haugen told to Congress that Facebook knew its platform enabled violence and extremism, rewarded divisive content and that Instagram was harming its young teenager users — putting profit over user well-being.

Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has ticked off a lot of firsts in her career.

For Mr Obama, Ms Haines served as the first woman deputy director of the CIA and the first woman deputy national security adviser. She is only the second woman to serve as the director of national intelligence.

Ms Haines has had a varied and interesting career. Before assuming the highest office for intelligence in the country, she graduated from law school, became a brown belt at an elite judo institute in Tokyo, repaired car engines at a mechanic shop, met her husband while taking flying lessons, obtained a degree in physics and owned an independent bookstore and cafe in Baltimore, The Hill reported.

Tahera Rahman

Tahera Rahman is the first Muslim news reporter in the US to appear on camera while wearing a hijab.

Her 2018 promotion from producer to being an on-air newscaster for a local TV news station in Illinois made national and global news waves.

She now works for a news affiliate in Austin, Texas.

Soledad O'Brien

Known for her long career as a TV news anchor on NBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, Soledad O'Brien is now taking on documentary journalism.

She is a host of Matter of Fact productions and a correspondent for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO.

O'Brien has covered a wide range of topics in her many years as a journalist but she has become known for tackling issues of racial and cultural identity in the US through documentaries such as Latino in America.

This week, her HBO Max Black and Missing docuseries, which examines the fight to prioritise black missing persons, won a Spirit Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Updated: March 09, 2022, 7:57 AM
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