50 Fearless Female Firsts in the Arts

March is Women’s History Month — a time to pay “tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” Since the national celebration’s beginnings in 1981, women have continued to break the gender barrier and contribute significantly to the historical evolution of various forms of art. Here’s a look at some of those women — the filmmakers, writers, singers, and other creative pioneers who paved the way.

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Maya Angelou

The celebrated author became the first African-American woman to have a feature-length screenplay produced — 1972’s Georgia Georgia. And in 1993, during the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, Angelou became the first poet to make an an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost (at President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration) with her work, “On the Pulse of Morning.”