1909 – The “Uprising of the 20,000” began when Clara Lemlich, tired of hearing all the disadvantages of striking from mostly men,
took the podium and declared that the shirtwaist workers go on strike. She received a standing ovation and two days later thousands of workers walked out of their jobs.
On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history. The young strikers’ courage, tenacity, and solidarity forced the predominantly male leadership in the “needle trades” and the American Federation of Labor to revise their entrenched prejudices against organizing women. The strikers won only a portion of their demands, but the uprising sparked five years of revolt that transformed the garment industry into one of the best-organized trades in the United States.
2005 – Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.
Angela Dorothea Merkel (born 17 July 1954) is a German politician and former research scientist who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000. She is the first woman to hold either office.
Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as a deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government in 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, she was elected to the Bundestag for Stralsund-Nordvorpommern-Rügen in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a seat she has held ever since. She was later appointed as the Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, later becoming the Minister for the Environment in 1994. After Kohl was defeated in 1998, she was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party’s first female leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.
Following the 2005 federal election, she was appointed Germany’s first female Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote, falling just short of an overall majority, and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag.
Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union, and was ranked as the world’s second most powerful person by Forbes magazine in 2012 and 2015, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman. On 26 March 2014, she became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. Merkel is currently the Senior G7 leader. In May 2015, she was named the most powerful woman in the world for a record ninth time by Forbes.