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Women in the News, October 2021: A New Landscape of Power

Meet the women working to change the world of government. It's time for October's edition of Lionesses This Month.

As election season looms, women are already overturning tradition. They’re stepping into major leadership roles around the world. Men held many of these positions for centuries, but now, women are winning elections and appointments left and right. Who captured headlines and public attention in October? Read on to learn about these women in the news.

Meet our Lioness This Month:

Making history as the first president of Barbados

In Sept. 2020, the island nation of Barbados announced that it would leave the British monarchy and transition to a republic. In a recent election, voters appointed Dame Sandra Mason as the country’s first president.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” said Mason. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”

Prior to the election, Mason was the first woman to serve the Barbados Court of Appeals and was the Governor-General of Barbados under the monarchy.

Breaking ground in the Federal Communications Commission

The FCC manages nearly everything related to communications – our TV, radio and satellite transmissions, among others. Congress established the organization in 1934, and more than eighty years later, a woman will finally take charge of the commission.

Jessica Rosenworcel, who previously served as acting chair for the FCC, was officially appointed to the role this month.

“I am deeply humbled to be designated as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. It is an honor to work with my colleagues on the commission and the agency’s talented staff to ensure that no matter who you are or where you live, everyone has the connections they need to live, work, and learn in the digital age,” Rosenworcel said.

Pride in the courts

The U.S. Senate recently appointed Beth Robinson to the federal appeals court, making her the first openly LGBT woman in the role. Robinson is an out lesbian and spent much of her career arguing for equal rights. Her appointment is a major milestone in a field that severely lacks representation.

“There are 870 federal judgeships, but only 12 – now 13 – are held by openly gay or lesbian judges. Four federal circuits do not have a single openly LGBT judge,” said Sharon McGowan, legal director at Lambda Legal.

“LGBT representation in the courts is critical because judges that more accurately reflect the diversity of our nation give legitimacy to these important institutions, which have such a profound impact on the lives of so many. Judge Robinson’s lived and professional experiences will be assets in her work to fulfill our nation’s promise of justice.”

More women in the news this month:

  • Rebecca M. Blank will be the first female president of Northwestern University in Spring 2022.
  • Ten women will officiate games for the American Hockey League this season. Katie Guay was the first woman to ever officiate an AHL game.
  • Carol Clarke is the first woman to represent District 8 in Alabama’s Birmingham City Council.
  • Nine members of the travel group, Shades of Favor, scaled 19,340 feet to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. This made them the first Black women’s group to climb the mountain.

Be sure to read our other features on Lionesses This Month!

About the author

Laura Grant

Laura Grant is a recent graduate of Western New England University with a bachelor's degree in English Literature. She spent her undergraduate term developing her writing and communication skills through internships, tutoring, and student media involvement. Her goal is to publish a novel one day.

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