5 Extraordinary Women Who Thrived In Male-Dominated Fields

These extraordinary women defied the medieval mindset in some male-dominated fields, and showed the world their undeniable excellence.

Time and time again, females have steadily forged successful careers that men predominantly thrive in. In earlier years, it was difficult to be influential in a period where mindsets tend to dictate what the ladies should pursue as a career path. But now, from technology, sports, leadership, and more, extraordinary women defied the status quo and traditional gender roles. 

Here are 5 women who transcended humanity’s limitations and made a name for themselves in their remarkable work.

READ ALSO: 5 Women Trailblazers Prove That Beauty Favors The Bold

Sofia Coppola, acclaimed film director

New York Film Academy (NYFA) included Sophia Coppola on its best female directors list who made trailblazing films and television shows.

She directed the critically-acclaimed 2003 film Lost In Translation which won Oscars for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. A report by The Harvard Crimson said she was the first female director nominated for an Academy award for the film. 

Her films include The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006), The Bling Ring (2013), and A Very Murray Christmas (2015), among others.

Sophia Coppola takes after her film director father, Francis Ford Coppola through her expansive work in directing.
Sophia Coppola takes after her film director father, Francis Ford Coppola through her expansive work in directing. /Photo from Chanel’s official Facebook page

Her most recent work is Priscilla (2023), which told Elvis Presley’s story in another perspective

The official trailer of “Priscilla.”

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first ever elected woman president

Icelandic politician Vigdís Finnbogadóttir made a significant milestone in 1980 when she became the world’s first democratically elected female head of state. She became the president of Iceland, a position she held for four terms until 1966 according to the Council Women World Leaders organization.

Serving for 16 years made her the longest serving elected female head of state as per the Library of Congress

Women’s suffrage in the country gradually progressed, and women gained the right to vote in local elections in 1882 in Reykjavik. Women began to vote in national elections in 1915 when Iceland was under the Danish regime, but they had to be 40 years of age as compared to men with only 25. This changed in 1920 when the government implemented granting voting rights for all adults regardless of gender.

In 2023, the 60,000-euro Vigdís Prize was launched in her honor to bestow upon those with “outstanding initiatives to promote women empowerment.” Finnbogadóttir forged a monumental contribution to feminism when she started serving her country. 

The Vigdís Prize launched in 2023.

Bridgit Mendler, CEO of space company

To those who grew up on Disney, Bridgit Mendler may be a familiar name. The actress-singer/songwriter recently made headlines recently as she co-founded a space company, Northwood Space

The company formed last year, with Mendler co-founding the company with her husband, Griffin Cleverly, and Shaurya Luthra. They operate in El Segundo, California. Their mission is to “build a data highway between earth and space.” They laid the company’s foundation through applying their experience in satellite communications (SATCOM) to build antennas and connect to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites.

Northwood’s founders: CTO Griffin Cleverly, CEO Bridgit Mendler, and Head of Software Shaurya Luthra.
Northwood’s founders: CTO Griffin Cleverly, CEO Bridgit Mendler, and Head of Software Shaurya Luthra. /Photo from Northwood Space’s website

A report from CNBC revealed Mendler’s parents are engineers. Her mother specialized as an architect and her dad designs car engines. “So there was a lot of math-y science-y talk when I was a kid,” she said.

Mendler was more than just an actress. She graduated with an anthropology degree from the University of Southern California in 2016. The actress-CEO continued her master’s degree in humanity and technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018. CNBC added she completed programs at the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Law school where she received a technology PhD and juris doctor

She is living proof that women can be anything: from being a talented artist to an astute asset in the space technology industry.

Danica Patrick, first woman Indycar winner

Through Danica Patrick’s talent and hard work, she proved extraordinary women can thrive in racing, a predominantly male sport. 

She started her racing career at an early age of 10, when her parents bought her a go-kart. Her website revealed she won numerous regional and national go-kart titles before leaving at 16 to compete in European road racing. 

Patrick finished fourth in her Indianapolis 500 race in 2005 and was dubbed as the first woman to lead laps and finish in the top 5. Finally, 2008 saw her breakthrough when she won a major league race, IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300 race. She became the first woman to snag the honor.

She continued making history with more milestones in the racing sport industry, after which she retired from racing. Patrick started to be an entrepreneur with a clothing line, authoring a book, and owning a vineyard in Napa Valley. She is active in motivational speech engagements and plans to expand her initiative in the coming years.

Danica Patrick became one of the extraordinary women in the world as she made a name for herself in racing, which is predominantly a male sport.
Danica Patrick became one of the extraordinary women in the world as she made a name for herself in racing, which is predominantly a male sport. /Photo from Danica Patrick’s official website

Cristeta Comerford, first female Fil-Am White House chef

Esteemed chef Cristeta “Cris” Comerford stems from Manila. She proudly represented the country when she held the position of executive chef at the White House. This made her the first Filipino-American woman to cook for the highest government post in the United States. 

She began as an assistant chef during the Clinton administration, according to a report by the Food Network. Comerford showed extreme prowess and dedication that Laura Bush and Michelle Obama reappointed her. 

Comerford revealed in an interview with Reuters two years ago that diplomacy is an important tool for chefs. 

“In our world, food unites,” she said. “We’re able to exchange ideas, exchange stories. It is the best tool that we [chefs] could ever use.”

First Filipina-American chef Cristeta Comerford stressed the importance of diplomacy as a necessary tool for chefs.

Banner photo from Chanel’s official Facebook page.

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