Much has been written about the leadership role that comes with being the oldest child. Not so much has been written about the influential role that comes with being the oldest daughter. This page is intended to provide a glimpse of the current ways first-born daughters–in various fields–are making new. Not all will be headliners. The most recent will appear first.
Kim Yo-jong represented North Korea at the Olympic games in Seoul, South Korea. Kim Yo-jong is the only daughter of the late Kim Jong-il and sister of Kim Jong-un, the current president of North Korea.
Mary Lou McDonald became the first female leader of Ireland’s Sinn Fein political party on February 10. (Note: Mary Lou McDonald has one sister; however, I can find no birthdate for her, so I do not know which of the two is the oldest daughter. Mary Lou McDonald is the only apparent newsmaker in the family.)
From the May 1-May 8 issue of Oldest daughters from Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people:
- Linda Sarsour, Co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, former executive director of the Arab Association of New York. Oldest of seven children.
- Emma Stone, actress whose awards include, Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild awards. She has one younger brother.
- Ava DuVernay, filmmaker, director of Selma, oldest of five children
- Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, founder of iCivics, a nonprofit organization that teaches middle school students how America’s democracy works. Oldest of three children
- Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator. Only daughter with three older brothers
- Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. One younger brother
- Ashley Graham, American fashion model. The first plus-size model to appear on the covers of American and British Vogue (2017) and the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (2016). Oldest daughter, two younger sisters.
- Leila de Lima, a Filipino lawyer, human-rights activist and Senator in the Philippines 17th Congress. She is the eldest daughter of a former Philippine commissioner
- 2/18 – Singer, songwriter Rihanna received Harvard University’s Humanitarian Award of the Year for her work in philanthropy. Rihanna is the oldest of three children (two younger brothers) born to their parents.
- 2/26 – Emma Stone, received “Best Actress” at the Academy Awards for her starring role in LaLa Land. The actress has one younger brother who accompanied her to the Awards ceremony.
- 2/20 – Mildred Dresselhaus died at the age of 86. Known as the “queen of carbon science,” she had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science among others. She had one older brother.
- 2/17 – The New York Times suggested a story about Sara Blakely that was broadcast last fall on NPR’s “ “How I Built This” program about innovative, successful entrepreneurs. She is the creator and founder of Spanx, the highly successful company that produces shapewear for women and made Blakely the youngest female billionaire in America. She has one younger brother. You can find out how Spanx came to be on one.npr.org
- 2/12 – Beyonce awarded Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Beyonce has one younger sister, Solange Knowles, who is also a recording artist.
- 2/7 Betsy DeVos, confirmed in a historic tie-breaking vote as the U.S. Secretary of Education. Secretary DeVos has one brother, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater USA.
- 2/7 Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, silenced on the floor or the U.S. Senate during Attorney-General confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions. She is the youngest of four children, but the only female in her family of origin.
- 1/25 Mary Tyler Moore dies at age 80. The Emmy-award winning actress was the oldest of three siblings.
Become a reporter
If you are aware of a first-born female who’s accomplishments are noteworthy (local, regional or national), please share. Be sure to include source (newspaper article, tv report…where info can be verified.