On this day in 2001, Sila Maria Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico

Sila Calderon

On this day in 2001, Sila Maria Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico. In 1984, she was the first woman to be appointed Chief of Staff to the governor, and became the first woman elected mayor to the island’s capital San Juan in 1996. As mayor, she undertook one of the largest public works programmes in the city, sponsoring various urban redevelopment projects to revitalise deteriorated sections of San Juan. When she became governor, she launched a programme to help the most disadvantaged communities in Puerto Rico.

Also on this day, 02 January:

In 1890, Alice B. Sanger became the first woman to become part of the White House Staff. An American typist and stenographer, she was appointed by President Harrison as the presidential secretary. In 1889, she was the only person entrusted to view the President’s handwritten notes for the State of the Union address.

In 2019, Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga became the first women to ever enter India’s Sabarimala Hindu shrine in Kerala, prompting protests. Women and girls of reproductive age were traditionally not permitted to worship there, as Ayyappan is a celibate deity, but in 2018 India’s Supreme Court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. Several dozen women had tried to enter the temple since then but none had made it inside as thousands of protesters blocked the temple’s entrance.

Read more about women’s achievements through history here

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