Former first lady Michelle Obama leads this year’s class of National Women’s Hall of Fame inductees, which also includes NASA’s first Black woman engineer Katherine Johnson, according to CNN.
As the first Black woman to serve as the first lady of the United States, the National Women’s Hall of Fame credits her as having “emerged as one of the most influential and iconic women of the 21st century,” according to a statement on the organization’s website.
“Both in and out of the White House, Michelle Obama has accomplished her initiatives and so much more—becoming an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, international adolescent girls’ education,” it continues.
Additionally, the organization shares that Obama has established herself as “a strong advocate for women and girls” in the U.S. and around the world.
Over the years, Michelle Obama has established herself as an incredible leader and advocate among all, creating multiple advocacy groups including the Let’s Move! program to end childhood obesity; the Reach Higher Initiative, which helps students navigate and understand job opportunities; and Joining Forces, an initiative she led alongside current first lady Jill Biden to support service members, veterans and military families, CNN reports.
In 2018, she released her first memoir, “Becoming,” which went on the sell millions of copies worldwide as well as an audio version that earned her a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
Physicist Katherine Johnson is also noted as a remarkable figure on this year’s Hall of Fame list. She’s regarded as a major contributor to the country’s first human space flight and her scientific calculations were instrumental to the successes of several U.S. crew spaceflights, including for astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, Fox29 shares.
Other 2021 National Women’s Hall of Fame inductees include American soccer icon Mia Hamm, renowned science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, women’s activist, Emily Howland, Rebecca Halstead — the U.S. Military Academy’s first female graduate — and artists Joy Harjo and Judy Chicago.
The organization shared its nine-member Class of 2021 on Monday as all the women being honored this year will be formally inducted during the biennial induction ceremony on Oct. 2.
For the full list of 2021 inductees, visit the National Women’s Hall of Fame website.