Follow in Their Footsteps

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

You can be anything you want to be. Here are only a handful of the careers that women have succeeded in.


Norma Sklarek was the first African American woman to earn a fellowship from the American Institute of Architects. She graduated from Columbia University's School of Architecture in 1950.

The American architect Eleanor Raymon established her own practice in 1928. She was constantly experimenting with new building materials and designed one of the earliest solar homes in 1948.

Natalie DeBlois was part of the team that designed Lever House in 1952, the Pepsi Cola building in 1959, and the Union Carbide building in 1960, all very large and famous corporate buildings.

Maya Lin
Maya Lin

When she was 21, Maya Lin won a national competition to design and build the now famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Her most recent monument was erected in Alabama in honor of the Civil Rights Movement.


American-born Julia Child popularized French cooking in the United States with her television show, The French Chef, in the 1960s. A graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is considered the finest work on the subject.

M.F.K. Fisher (1908-1992) was an American chef and writer on the art of food. Her first book, Serve It Forth, was published in 1937. In it, she said “Look, if you have to eat to live, you might as well enjoy it.” Good advice! Throughout the '40s, '50s, and '60s, she lived, cooked, and wrote in California, Switzerland, and France.

Alice Waters is a chef who came to fame when she opened her California restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971. Her latest cookbook was inspired by her 9-year-old daughter. It's called Fanny at Chez Panisse (1992) and is written in the voice of a young girl.


Hannah Arendt was a German-born philosopher (1906-1975). She lived most of her life in New York and wrote about the value of private over public virtues in her book The Human Condition.

The French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir became famous in 1949 when she published her book The Second Sex. In it she traced the oppression of women throughout history using her theories of psychology and myth.


Berenice Abbot was born in the U.S. in 1898. After photographing famous people in Paris in the 1920s and in New York in the 1930s, she became a designer of technical photographic equipment.

Diane Arbus was an American photographer who became famous for her photos of extraordinary and sometimes bizarre people in the 1960s.

Margaret Bourke-White was a photojournalist whose World War II photos for Life magazine were world famous. She was the creator of the photo-essay, a series of photos that tell a story.

American Annie Leibovitz is a photographer of celebrities who has become a celebrity herself. At the age of 23 she became chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, where she worked from 1973 to 1983. She remains the best known photographer of her generation.


Katharine Graham became the publisher of the Washington Post, one of the most influential and powerful newspapers in the U.S., in 1969. This newspaper is also the publisher of the weekly magazine Newsweek.

Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem

Victoria Ocampo of Argentina (1891-1979) was the founder and publisher of Sur, a literary magazine. She was known in her country as the Queen of Letters.

The American feminist, writer, editor, and speaker, Gloria Steinem, founded Ms magazine in 1972.


There are many, many female writers alive today, and many more famous ones throughout history. Here are the women who have won Nobel Prizes for Literature or Pulitzer Prizes for drama, poetry and fiction.

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