Women accomplish two new firsts

April 15, 20152 minute read

Two more women have overcome barriers to success in previously all-male roles. Sarah Thomas was named by the National Football League as the first full-time official in the league’s 95-year history, and Katie Higgins, is the first female pilot in the Blue Angels’ 69-year history.

Although their fields are very different, both women stress that when they are doing their job, they are just like the colleagues. And both come from a background where men in their families introduced them to the idea that they could do that job, too.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Sarah Thomas has been officiating since 1996, when her brother asked her to come along to a meeting for football officials. She said, “Can girls do that?” And her brother answered, “I guess so.” She went on to become the first woman to officiate for the Gulf Coast Football Officials Association (high school games) the first female referee for a major college football game. She was the first women to officiate at a Bowl game and the first to referee in a Big 10 stadium.

Katie Higgins is a third-generation military aviator. Her dad flew both A-7s and F-18 Hornets. Katie was inspired by seeing the Blue Angels when she was a young girl.

In an interview with CBS news she said, “I definitely didn’t come on the team to break any barriers or anything like that, that definitely wasn’t my agenda. It just so happened that I was the first female to perform in a demo here (in South Carolina in early April), and if that is inspiring to people, if that’s inspiring to little girls around the country, then I’m doing my job.”