Not only was she the first woman to swim across the English Channel, she did it in record breaking time--beating the fastest man's record by 1 hour and 49 minutes. She is:
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Lucy Walker, an English mountaineer, was the first woman to successfully climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland in the year:
This cosmonaut was the first woman in space, orbiting the earth 48 times in the Vostok VI in 1963:
Frances Perkins became Secretary of Labor, the first woman cabinet member in U.S. history in what year:
In 797 she was crowned sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire and became the first woman ever to hold the throne of the old Roman Empire.
Irene of Athens