I received the lovely grace of being able to spend the fall in Southern Europe. I enjoyed the quality of life and the freedom from the usual daily responsibilities, but I missed out on being in touch with the news from the United States. When I returned to a pile of magazines and newspapers that I had not read, I began to plow through them and discovered that there had been several firsts for women of which I had been unaware:
**In September, Nancy Gibbs, a best-selling author and essayist who comments on politics and values in the United States, became the first woman to hold the position of Managing Editor at Time magazine.
** Mylène Paquette of Montreal was the first women to row a one-person boat across the North Atlantic. Literally, this one doesn’t fit my listing of first women from the United States, but Time magazine said she was the “first North American woman to” and that certainly makes her American:
**Janet Napolitano has already appeared in the daily Women of Note twice: on November 6th, as the first woman governor to succeed another woman governor and on November 29th, her birthday, as the first Secretary of Homeland Security. Now she has another distinction: the first woman to head the University of California’s 10-campus system.
**Susan Westerberg Prager is the first dean and chief executive of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Earlier in her career she was the first woman to hold the position of dean of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.
**Three women share the “First Woman To. . .” honors for being the first to pass the Marine Corps’ combat training course: Pfcs Julia Carroll, Christina Fuentes Montenegro and Katie Gorz.
***And now, Mary Barra has been named the first female CEO of General Motors. She is the first CEO of any major auto company and General Motors is now the biggest company in America headed by a woman.
***Janet Yellen still waits in the wings for Senate confirmation of her appointment to chief of the Federal Reserve. The word is her appointment will be approved before the end of the year. At that time she joins Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, as one of the two most powerful economic leaders in the free world.
If you know of any more firsts from the fall of 2013, please add them here, by clicking on the comments section.