The Monday morning after the Oscars, pundits were quick to praise the youngest nominee for best actress ever, Quvenzhane Wallis — and quick to slam the Onion for its inappropriate and sexist Tweet about the 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. As MTV noted, "When she auditioned for her role in Beasts, she was only 5, and had to lie her way into the process because the minimum age was supposed to be 6 — something she (adorably) confirmed to MTV News' Josh Horowitz on the red carpet."
While Wallis did not take home the Oscar, losing out to Jennifer Lawrence, her accomplishments at such a young age are certainly notable, and serve to mark the progress that women have made in the Academy and the world. Oldest best actress Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva made her acting debut on a French TV series in 1957. Quvenzhane Wallis made her debut in 2012. In the 55 years that separate those debuts, women across the world have broken through glass ceilings and committed a lot of firsts.
After a long fought battle by the Viscountess Rhondda that began in the early 1920s, women were finally welcomed into the house. Currently, 180 women serve in the House of Lords.
2. 1963: Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.
3. 1967: Muriel Siebert was the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
4. 1974: The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is the first military academy to accept women.
5. 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
6. 1988: Benazir Bhutto becomes the first woman to serve as prime minister in a Muslim country.
She was later assassinated in 2007 after returning to Pakistan after many years in exile.
7. 1993: France Anne Córdova is the first woman — and youngest person ever — to be NASA's chief scientist.
8. 2004: Wangari Maathai becomes the first African American woman to win a Nobel Peace Price.
9. 2009: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is established.
10. 2010: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director for The Hurt Locker.