June 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM ET
Thirty years ago Tuesday, a NASA physicist named Sally Ride broke through the ultimate glass ceiling and kept going. On June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman to fly into space, a crew member aboard the space shuttle Challenger.
Women have cleared numerous other barriers since Ride broke free of Earth's orbit. Here's a look at 10 of those individuals and some of their accomplishments:
1984: Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first female vice presidential candidate to represent a major American political party.
1984: Vanessa Williams wins the Miss America title, the first African American to wear the crown.
1986: Oprah Winfrey’s television program enters national syndication and the host becomes the first woman with the highest-rated talk show in TV history.
1994: Judith Rodin takes the helm of the University of Pennsylvania and becomes the first woman president of an Ivy League institution.
1996: The professional Women’s National Basketball Association (WBNA) is created as a counterpart to the National Basketball Association. League play begins the following year.
1997: Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman secretary of state, serving under the administration of President Bill Clinton.
2005: Hillary Clinton becomes the only first lady to be elected to public office. She won a seat as a U.S. senator representing New York and later became a viable presidential candidate and, more recently, secretary of state.
2007: Nancy Pelosi is elected the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
2009: The U.S. Senate confirms Sonia Sotomayor, who becomes the first Hispanic American – and only the third woman – to serve on the Supreme Court.
2010: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award in the best director category for “The Hurt Locker.”