Here are all the female recipients of Obama’s final Presidential Medal of Freedom
On Tuesday, President Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Of those 21, eight Presidential Medal of Freedom were women, including celebs like Diana Ross and Ellen Degeneres. This crop of awardees is the final one Obama will honor as his days as president wind down — not that we needed another reminder that he’s leaving the White House in two months.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House press release.
President Obama said in the press release, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor — it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
While it’s a huge honor for all 21 recipients, we’re shouting out the women, because as in most areas of life, women are underrepresented. And showing love to these incredible eight women for receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor feels sweet!
Elouise Cobell (posthumous)
An advocate for Native American self sufficiency and financial independence, Cobell used her accounting expertise in a historic lawsuit that helped restore tribal homelands to her Blackfeet Nation tribe, where she was a community leader.
Ellen made TV history when she came out in 1997. She has consistently kept America laughing while championing fairness and equality in her award-winning television career.
Melinda Gates (shared with her husband Bill)
This is a shared honor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that helps people in developing countries combat extreme poverty and hunger. Since its inception in 2000, the Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants.
Margaret H. Hamilton
Hamilton is a mathematician and computer scientist who led the team that created on-board software for NASA’s Apollo. She also started her own software company like the boss she is.
Grace Hopper (posthumous)
Known as “Amazing Grace,” Admiral Grace Hopper was at the forefront of the software industry from the 1940s through the ’80s. She created the first compiler that translates source code from one language to another. As a lieutenant in United States Naval Reserve, she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.
Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. That’s how dope her work as a designer is.
Diana Ross needs no introduction. Her singing career spans over five decades that includes receiving the Grammy’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Happy to see Tyson receiving her flowers while she’s here. At 91 years old, she is still working as a Hollywood actress. She has worked on stage, television, and in films. Tyson has received two Emmy Awards and a Tony award for her outstanding work.
For the full list of recipients you can visit the White House’s website. The awards will be presented at the White House on Nov. 22 and live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.