Happy 2022! How did your first month go? Did you have the chance to take a break at the start of the new year? No matter what, the news cycle never stops. We’ve got stories of women in the news. We’ll go to freezing tundras, the tops of cathedrals and the far corners of the globe. Let’s dive in!
These are our Lionesses This Month:
A modern-day Amelia Earhart
She went around the world in – 155 days. Zara Rutherford recently became the youngest woman to complete a solo flight around the world. The 19-year-old left Kortrijk-Wevelgem, Belgium on Aug. 18, 2021, and landed back home on Jan. 20, 2022.
“The hardest part was flying over Siberia,” Rutherford said. “It was extremely cold, and if the engine was to stall, I’d be hours away from rescue. I’m not sure I would have survived.”
“I’m looking forward to telling people about my experiences and encouraging people to do something crazy with their life. If you have the opportunity – go for it.”
Schneider sets record-setting run
The average “Jeopardy!” winner earns about $20,000 after playing. Not bad! But how many wins would you need to earn, say, $1,382,800? Most recently, 40! After losing her 41st game, Amy Schneider officially set the second-longest run in the history of “Jeopardy!” – and the longest ever set by a woman.
While defeat can sting, Schneider also felt a sense of relief and pride. Viewers praised her performance, her speed, and her careful playing style. It’s clear she thought through every part of her strategy, including her decision not to alter her voice for TV. It would have affected her reaction time. Speaking naturally also showed other trans women that she was proud of her voice.
In a profile for the New York Times, Schneider says that her transition opened doors and encouraged her to say ‘yes’ to everything.
“Because there was so much that I denied myself for so long, I’ll give anything a shot now,” she said.
The future of Afghanistan
We’ve discussed the impact of the Taliban takeover on women in Afghanistan. You may have heard about the all-girl soccer team who were evacuated out of the country. In a recent profile for NPR, the players share details of their experiences: the uncertainty of hiding in a safehouse, the family members they had to leave behind and how they’ve adjusted to their new lives in Portugal – together.
The piece balances the team’s unshakable passion and determination with lingering fears about the fate of their country. One player, Sadaf Sharifzada, says that Afghanistan “is first in our mind and sticks in our dreams.”
Before a match, the players cried out: “We are Ayenda!” – future, in Dari – “We are Afghanistan!”
Celebrating the life of Maya Angelou
Let’s look back on our history. Maya Angelou was a poet and activist whose most famous works include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Letter to My Daughter, among others. Now, she’s the first Black woman ever featured on a U.S. quarter.
She’s the first woman highlighted by the American Women Quarters Program, which will release five commemorative quarters from 2022 to 2025. The upcoming featured leaders will be Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong.
“It is my honor to present our Nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson. “Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift.”
Other stories of women in the news this month:
- Preet Chandi, nicknamed “Polar Preet,” is the first woman of color to complete a solo expedition in Antarctica. She trekked 700 miles in 40 days.
- Genevieve Beacom, 17-years-old, recently played for the Australian Baseball League. This made her the first woman to pitch for a professional Australian team.
- More baseball firsts! – Rachel Balkovec became the manager of the Tampa Tarpons, a minor league team associated with the New York Yankees. She’s the first woman to lead at this level.
- Justice Ayesha Malik was sworn into Pakistan’s Supreme Court, making her the first female judge in the country’s history.
- In Lausanne, Switzerland, the city’s cathedral has been under the protection of a night watch for 600 years. (It’s more tradition than necessity, at this point). Cassandre Berdoz recently became the first woman ever appointed to the role, fulfilling her childhood dream.