5 Women Who Transformed Their Entire Industries

Aretha Franklin White House 2015

Photo by Pete Souza 

We admire many women for their hard work and accomplishments, but some deserve special credit for transforming their entire industries.

This is just small but mighty roundup of changemakers throughout history who refused to accept things as they were, and through hard work and perseverance transformed for the better the way way everyone does business. The job isn’t yet done when it comes to equality for women in the workplace. But these women made enormous strides in fields from hair to wine to science, paving the way for progress. Madame clicquot

Photo via Veuve Clicquot

Madame Clicquot: Wine

Madame Clicquot, also known as Veuve Clicquot, one of the most important women who shaped the history of wine. She owned the first champagne house, introduced pink champagne to the world, and opened space for other women to make their mark in the wine industry.

Patsy MinkC

Patsy Mink: Politics

Before Kamala Harris made her mark as the first female and person of color to become Vice President of the United States, there was Patsy Mink. A third-generation Japanese American, Mink was the first woman of an ethnic minority group to be elected to Congress. She was a major pioneer for women in politics, especially women of color.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker: Hair

If you’ve watched Self-Made on Netflix, you’ve already met Madam C.J. Walker. Octavia Spencer plays the starring role, and it’s all about and how Walker became the first Black woman millionaire in America. She played a massive role in the hair business industry. Her work and success was a stepping stone for many other women of color to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace: Computer Programming

About 200 years ago, Ada Lovelace created programming, building on Charles Babbage’s work in developing a massive calculating machine (one of the first renditions of a computer). She took his research and showed how his machine could complete any computation.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin: Music

The “Queen of Soul” is one of the most honored artists in Grammy history. She was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone magazine considers her the greatest singer of all time. The Gospel Music Association described her as “the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America” when inducting Franklin into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. The list of her achievements and honors is too long for any blog post.

But beyond being an incredible vocal talent, Aretha Franklin was an icon for civil rights and women’s equality. Her songs “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” became anthems of these movements for social change.

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