Rosalind Brewer 2019 AIF

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Women Who Are Making History

Women's History Month is an opportunity to honor the indelible contributions women have made in societies around the world. But don't wait until remarkable women are in history books to celebrate them! Learn about contemporary women making their mark on the world.

  • March 4th 2020

Katie Sowers: shattering glass ceilings

Katie Sowers didn't get a Super Bowl ring in 2020 as part of the coaching staff for the defeated San Francisco 49ers, but she made history as the first woman and first openly gay person to ever coach an NFL team at the Super Bowl. With women's sports unfairly relegated to second-tier status (see: the US women's soccer team), Sowers is competing with men at their own game to prove that skill and love of the game should be the only things that matter on the field. At Aspen Ideas, she shared what it takes to overcome stereotypes and gender discrimination in professional sports.

Katie Sowers
“We often assume that women don't know something until they prove that they do.”
We often assume that women don't know something until they prove that they do.
— Katie Sowers

Rita Moreno: American icon

Rita Moreno became an idol for a generation of females, especially Latina women, through works like West Side Story. But, as Moreno explains, when she showed up as a 16-year old to MGM studios, "there was nobody like me in the movies to look up to." Not only did she have to fight a culture that rewarded whiteness, she also endured blatant sexual harassment in an industry that's notorious for it. That didn't stop her or even slow her down. Moreno became the first Latina woman to ever win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Check out Moreno in conversation with Disney's Michael Eisner. She talks about her singular career and her remarkable talent onstage.

Rita Moreno 2019 AIF
“There was nobody like me in the movies to look up to.”
There was nobody like me in the movies to look up to.
— Rita Moreno

Jennifer Doudna: the brains behind CRISPR

Scientists rarely get the attention they deserve for their work, and women scientists even less so. Jennifer Doudna, biochemist at UC-Berkeley, has bucked that trend. She's a leading mind behind the development of CRISPR, perhaps the most significant scientific advancement of the 21st century so far. She's racked up awards and accolades for her groundbreaking research, and she got a nod from Time magazine as a runner-up for Person of the Year in 2016 — a rare honor for any scientist. But Doudna's work around CRISPR doesn't stop in the lab. She's leading the conversation about the ethical and societal repercussions of the very technology she helped create.

Jennifer Doudna
The moral implications of gene editing

  • Jennifer Doudna

Watch her discussion with Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Rosalind Brewer: breaking up the boys' club

In 2018, two black men trying to use a Starbucks bathroom in Philadelphia were arrested, and Starbucks found itself at the center of a national conversation around racism. It was newly minted chief operating officer Rosalind Brewer who guided the company through what became one its most difficult years (she spoke at Aspen Ideas about her leadership during this period). Brewer is one of the most high-profile black women in the US corporate world. Leadership experience and stringent personal values have propelled her rise through a historically white, male-dominated business sector. Brewer didn't start her career with the c-suite in mind. Her first college degree was in chemistry, and she had a successful career as a scientist before transitioning to business.

Rosalind brewer 2019
“If there is a place where bias doesn’t exist, I haven’t found it.”
If there is a place where bias doesn’t exist, I haven’t found it.
— Rosalind Brewer

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