We know we don’t have to tell you it’s been a hard year for parents, especially mothers. Women have taken on the brunt of this pandemic, dropping out of the job force at alarming rates or struggling to balance childcare and virtual learning with their careers and so much more.
But it hasn’t all been negative. In the last year, we’ve seen incredible women, and mothers, making history with astonishing achievements.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up a few mothers who’ve cemented their place in history.
Vice President Kamala Harris
You can’t think of 2020 or frankly, American politics, without mentioning Vice President Kamala Harris. In November, Harris became the first woman and first woman of color to hold the office of Vice President. Not to mention, the first (step)mother or “Momala” as her stepchildren Cole and Ella call her. With Harris in the White House, she’s showing families everywhere that there’s not only one way to be a parent.
Dr. Jill Biden
As of January, Dr. Jill Biden became the first First Lady to hold a full-time job outside of the White House. Enough said. The First Lady is a professor of writing at Northern Virginia Community college, former public school teacher, published author (including a children’s book about President Biden’s life), a military mother & grandmother of seven.
If 2021 is bumming you out and you need a little joy, watch NASA rover Perseverance’s Mars landing from this past February. When you do, you’ll see Swati Mohan front and center, announcing the rover’s safe touchdown. Mohan is an aerospace engineer and was the Guidance and Controls Operations lead for the NASA Mars 2020 mission which she’s been a part of since 2013. Let’s not gloss over that she had her daughter after she began working on the Mars 2020 project. Badass mom? We think so.
Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd is no stranger to making history. As the founder and CEO of Bumble, she shook up the dating world in 2014 with an app that empowered (and required) women to make the first move. With Bumble’s February IPO, she became the youngest woman to take a company public, only one of 20 women to ever take a company they founded public, AND a self-made female millionaire. Herd rang the Nasdaq opening bell with her one-year-old son ON HER HIP. That’s all.
2020 was a year of many political firsts and milestones. In Missouri, registered nurse, pastor and leading Black Lives Matter activist, Cori Bush, became the first black Congresswoman in the state’s history, defeating the ten-term incumbent. As a mom of two teens who once faced homelessness and lived out of her car with her kids, she connects deeply to the everyday struggles of her community.
You may have heard New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s name a lot in the last few years. In 2017, she became one of the world’s youngest female leaders at 37 and a year later was the first world leader in nearly three decades to give birth while in office. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been praised around the world for her quick action in containing the virus, allowing children to return to school and parents to work. As of February 26, the country had just 2,371 COVID cases since the start of the pandemic. You know what they say about women in high places.
Rosalind Brewer knows a thing about lists. She’s been named to Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and Most Powerful Black Women, Working Mother’s Most Powerful Working Moms, and Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business lists to name a few. This month, she’ll add a new title to her resume when she becomes CEO of Walgreens and the only Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. We know her two children will be beaming.
Dr. Leana Wen
Not only is Dr. Leana Wen an expert in pandemic preparedness and response as an emergency physician, former health commissioner for Baltimore, and a professor of health policy and management, but she’s experienced first-hand what so many other mothers have during this pandemic. Dr. Wen gave birth to her second daughter in the height of the pandemic last April and publicly shared her experience through a video diary. Over the last year she’s emerged as a source of trusted information as an on-air commentator for CNN and guest expert on other news networks.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Can we really talk about impactful women, mothers, and 2020 without mentioning the Notorious RBG? Not only did Ruth Bader Ginsburg balance motherhood, a marriage, and her husband’s cancer diagnosis with her Harvard Law education in her twenties, but she spent her career fighting tirelessly for gender equality. The late Justice Ginsburg inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of women—and her impact will be felt for decades to come. Thanks to RBG, women can open a bank account on their own and same-sex couples can marry, among so many other things.
You probably don’t feel like you’ve accomplished much this past year—hey, we consider making it out of our house once a day a win—but you have. You might not be serving on the Supreme Court or running a Fortune 500 company, but you are living through one of the most challenging eras in history and somehow making it work. You’re holding your family together despite unimaginable circumstances, a total lack of resources and a ton of unknowns. Your Herculean effort will go down in our history books. And if no one has said it lately, thank you.