Former first lady Michelle Obama is one of nine women that will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame this year.
Obama will join soccer star Mia Hamm, Pepsi’s first woman CEO Indra Nooyi, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the first Black female in the agency’s history. The candidates were picked by the public and a panel that includes former inductees, who selected the nominees.
Obama is the first African American woman to serve as the first lady and performed beautifully in the role, establishing herself as a strong advocate for girls and women of color who have dreams they want to achieve.
Obama has created multiple advocacy groups dealing with children’s nutrition, young girls who want to be entrepreneurs, and assisting military service members and their families. The groups include Let’s Move!, Reach Higher, and Joining Forces, which she started with current first lady Dr. Jill Biden.
The Princeton and Harvard graduate also wrote a book, Becoming, in which she describes her life in the White House and being a Black woman in the largely white, male-centric environment that is government. The book sold millions of copies in the U.S. including an amazing 775,000 on its first day.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame inducts a new class every year in Seneca Falls, New York, home of the first woman’s rights convention.
Other inductees in the 2021 class include Octavia Butler, the first science-fiction writer and one of the first Black women to win a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship Grant; Veteran Rebecca Halstead, who became the first female graduate at West Point to become a general officer. In her career, Halstead has received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and a litany of other accolades.
Johnson, a mathematician whose calculations were vital to the first and subsequent manned space flights. Her work included calculating trajectories, launch windows, and other aspects that are critical to a successful launch and landing.