Timeline: 1951-Present

Image description: A black-and-white headshot of Doris Thom.

Doris Thom

Doris Thom, who helped open higher-paying jobs to women in Wisconsin, was the first woman to hold leadership positions in her local labor unions.
Image description: A portrait-style photo of Donna Shalala.

Donna Shalala

Donna Shalala was the first woman to head a Big Ten university and the longest-serving secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Image description: A portrait-style photo of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sitting with her chin in her right hand.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state of any African country.
Image description: A headshot of Pleasant Rowland.

Pleasant Rowland

Pleasant Rowland founded the American Girls Collection, a popular line of books, dolls, and accessories that features girls living throughout U.S. history.
Image description: A headshot of Caroline Sandin.

Caroline Sandin

Caroline Sandin was a respected civic leader and served on the University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents.
Image description: A portrait-style photo of Hannah Rosenthal in front of an American flag.

Hannah Rosenthal

Jewish activist Hannah Rosenthal served as a U.S. special envoy to work against anti-Semitism.
Image description: A black-and-white photo of Sister Joel Read crossing her arms.

Sister Joel Read

Sister Joel Read served for 35 years as president of Alverno College and became widely known and respected for her innovative education reforms.
Image description: A black-and-white headshot of Mabel Watson Raimey.

Mabel Watson Raimey

Mabel Raimey was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attend Marquette University Law School, and practice law in Wisconsin.
Image description: A black-and-white headshot of Vel Phillips resting her head on her folded hands.

Vel Phillips

Vel Phillips achieved many firsts, including first woman and first African American to be elected to the statewide office of secretary of state.
Image description: A headshot of Barbara Nichols.

Barbara Nichols

Barbara Nichols was the first African American president of the Wisconsin Nursing Association and of the American Nursing Association.