7 Women Who Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton

It’s 2015. Is the U.S. finally ready for a female president?

Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State, officially threw her hat in the ring Sunday after months of speculation. Clinton is arguably one of the most successful female politicians in American history.

Women have been vying for the presidency since the late 1800s. Check out some of the pioneering fore-mothers that blazed a trail for the Hillary campaign. 

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Victoria Woodhull

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Woodhull could be considered a Jill-of-all-trades. Not only did she serve as a spiritual medium to Cornelius Vanderbilt, she also helped found the first woman-owned brokerage on Wall Street. A champion for woman’s suffrage, Woodhull became the first woman in U.S. history to run for president in 1872. 

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Belva Lockwood

Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Modifications © 2003 Jone Johnson Lewis

Lockwood became a widow at age 22, and decided to enroll in college to guarantee a better life for her and her daughter. Lockwood excelled at law and became the first woman attorney to practice before the Supreme Court. She ran for president in 1884 and 1888 and was the first woman to appear on official voting ballots.  

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Shirley Chisholm

Thomas J. O'Halloran / U.S. News & World Reports

Decades ahead of her time, Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968. Chisholm announced her presidential campaign in Brooklyn, NY in 1972, as a “Candidate of the People of America.” 

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Geraldine Ferraro

Getty Images / Mark Wilson

Originally an assistant district attorney in Queens, NY, Ferraro focused on cases where the victims were women and children. After serving in Congress for several years, 1984 democratic presidential candidate, Walter Mondale, named Ferraro as his running mate, making her the first woman vice-presidential candidate.

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Sirimavo Bandaranaike

Wikimedia Commons

Since the mid-1900s women have served as presidents or prime ministers of their countries, putting the U.S. politically behind the times. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, served for three terms as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the first woman in the world to hold that office.

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Indira Gandhi

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Indira Gandhi served as India's prime minster from 1966 to 1984, her life cut short at the hands of an assassin. Her tenure is marked with controversy, as she not only improved the lives of the poor and introduced industrialization, but instilled authoritarianism.

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Margaret Thatcher

Tim Graham / Getty Images

Thatcher served as the British prime minister from 1979 to 1990. She still holds the title as the only female to reach that position in Britain. Before politics, Thatcher worked as a research chemist, helping develop the plastics industry.