100+ Nashville Women

We're acknowledging more than 100 women over the past century who have helped shape Nashville into the city it is today.

A Century of Nashville Women Making History
  1. Abby Crawford Milton
    A suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Adrienne Battle
    Superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools, the first woman in the city’s history to hold this position.
  3. Agenia Clark
    As CEO of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, she leads one of the fastest-growing and most innovative councils in the nation, serving 14,800 girls across a 39-county region.
  4. Ali Harnell
    President and Chief Strategy Officer, Women Nation at Live Nation; she leads strategy and efforts to advance and support women in the live music business and also co-created the UK-based country music festival Country2Country.
  5. Alice Randall
    Author and Songwriter, first African American woman to co-write a number-one country hit.
  6. Amy Adams Strunk
    Controlling Owner of the Tennessee Titans, one of a handful of female NFL owners.
  7. Amy Grant
    Artist and Songwriter, known for performing contemporary Christian Music and referred to as "The Queen of Christian Pop" for a successful crossover to pop music in the 1980s and 1990s.
  8. Amy Kurland
    Founder of The Bluebird Cafe, an intimate listening room for Nashville's songwriter scene.
  9. Ann Patchett
    Author and Co-Owner of the independent bookstore, Parnassus Books.
  10. Anne Dallas Dudley
    A suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  11. Anne Holt
    WKRN-TV News Anchor, the first woman, the first African American, and the first news anchor to receive the Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award from the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.
  12. Ashley Howell
    Executive Director of the Tennessee State Museum and oversaw the new museum opening in 2018.
  13. Barbara Mandrell
    Country Music Artist and Actress, the first performer to win the Country Music Association Award for Entertainer of the Year twice in 1980 and 1981.
  14. Becca Stevens
    Founder of Thistle Farms, a social enterprise and residency program to benefit women survivors of trafficking, addiction, and prostitution.
  15. Becky Gardenhire
    Partner and Co-Head of Nashville WME Office, making her the highest-ranking female executive at a music agency in Nashville.
  16. Belle Kinney Scholz
    Sculptor, created the Victory statue in front of the War Memorial Auditorium.
  17. Beth Harwell
    First woman elected as Speaker of Tennessee's House of Representatives.
  18. Beth Slater Whitson
    One of the first successful songwriters in Nashville, many songs becoming some of the largest-selling in sheet music.
  19. Bettie Page
    Pinup Model, internationally known and often referred to as the "Queen of Pinups".
  20. Brenda Lee
    Country Music Artist, the only woman to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame.
  21. Candice Storey Lee
    Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director, Vanderbilt University's first female athletic director, and the first African American woman to head an SEC athletics program.
  22. Carell Stadler
    CEO of Dance Network and Skyway Studios, the only full-service broadcast and production campus in Tennessee.
  23. Carol Gardner Transou
    Educator and Community Activist, she became the National Endowment for Humanities’ first Tennessee Teacher-Scholar in 1990, winning a yearlong sabbatical for the study of the Vietnam War and how to include the war in high school curricula.
  24. Caroline Randall Williams
    Author, Poet, and Activist, her book of poetry Lucy Negro, Redux is currently being adapted as a ballet by the Nashville Ballet.
  25. Carrie Chapman Catt
    Suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  26. Carrie Gentry
    Civil Rights Activist, influential in the effort to desegregate Nashville and one of the first African American members of the Davidson County Democratic Party’s Women Club.
  27. Carrie Underwood
    Country Music Artist, ranked the highest-certified country album artist to debut in the twenty-first century.
  28. Catherine Talty Kenny
    Suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  29. CeCe Winans
    Gospel Music Artist, the best-selling female gospel artist of all time.
  30. A. Cherrie Epps
    Former President/CEO of Meharry Medical College, the only African American woman with a Ph.D. degree to become Dean of a US medical school.
  31. Cindy Mabe
    President of Universal Music Group Nashville, Nashville’s highest-ranking woman label executive.
  32. Connie Bradley
    Music Industry Veteran and former head of ASCAP Nashville Office.
  33. Cordia Harrington
    Owner and Founder of The Bakery Companies, has received dozens of awards for her dedication to furthering female entrepreneurship.
  34. Cornelia Fort
    Pilot, one of the first women in Woman's Auxiliary Ferry Service.
  35. Danielle Whitworth Barnes
    Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services which provides services to more than two million Tennesseans each year through various programs.
  36. Deb Paquette
    Chef and Community Advocate, the first woman in Tennessee to qualify as a certified executive chef.
  37. Demetria Kalodimos
    Former Reporter and longest continuously serving nightly news anchor for WSMV-TV.
  38. Diane Nash
    Civil Rights Leader and Student Leader of the Nashville Sit-ins Movement.
  39. Diane Neighbors
    First Woman Elected as Vice Mayor of Nashville.
  40. Dolly Parton
    Country Music Artist, Songwriter, and Actress, one of the most-honored female country performers of all time, she has 44 career Top 10 country albums (a record for any artist), and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years.
  41. Donna Hilley
    Music Industry Veteran and former CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
  42. Dorothy L. Brown
    Surgeon and first African American woman elected to Tennessee's House of Representatives.
  43. Dottie Rambo
    Gospel Artist and Songwriter, she wrote more than 2,500 songs, and her music is known for its poetic lyrics and cross-genre reaching melodies.
  44. Ellen Lehman
    The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee founder and president; received the outstanding Nashvillian of the Year Award in 2010 for leading flood relief efforts.
  45. Emily Reynolds
    Former Secretary of the U.S. Senate.
  46. Emmylou Harris
    Country Music Artist and Songwriter and recognized as an activist and vocal feminist in music.
  47. Faith Hill
    Country Music Artist, one of the most successful of all time, has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.
  48. Felice Bryant
    Country Music and Pop Songwriter, best known for writing "Rocky Top" among the more than 6,000 songs written with her husband, Boudleaux.
  49. Frances Preston
    Music Industry Veteran and former CEO of BMI Nashville office, then the first full-time performing rights organization representative in the South.
  50. Glenda Baskin Glover
    Tennessee State University President, she is a certified public accountant, an attorney, and is one of two African American women to hold the Ph.D.-CPA-JD combination in the nation.
  51. Hazel Smith
    Country Music Journalist, Publicist, and TV Host is known for giving "Outlaw Country" its name.
  52. Higgins Bond
    Freelance Illustrator and Fine Artist, the first African American woman ever to illustrate a stamp for the U.S. Postal Service.
  53. Inez Crutchfield
    First African American woman to serve as a Representative for Tennessee on the Democratic National Committee, first African American woman to serve as president of the Democratic Women's Club of Davidson County.
  54. J. Frankie Pierce
    Suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  55. Jackie Patillo
    President & Executive Director, Gospel Music Association and Stellar Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee.
  56. Jane Eskind
    Activist and Politician, the first woman to win an election to a statewide office in Tennessee.
  57. Jane MacLeod
    President and CEO of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens.
  58. Janice Holder
    Served as the first female Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
  59. Dr. Jean Litterer
    Under her leadership as President of Hillsboro High School, the school was named a United States Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the US Department of Education; she's also one of the first females on the TSSAA's Legislative Council.
  60. Jo Walker-Meador
    Music Industry Veteran, created the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, developed the CMA Awards, and launched Fan Fair (now CMA Fest).
  61. Dr. Judy Cummings
    Pastor and North Nashville Advocate, first female president of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, and founding director of the Nashville Chapter of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry.
  62. June Carter Cash
    Country Music Artist, wrote "Ring of Fire" performed by her husband Johnny Cash.
  63. Karen Springer
    President and CEO of Saint Thomas Health.
  64. Kasar Abdulla
    Founding Member of the Welcome Tennessee Initiative, a movement focused on welcoming and celebrating the diversity that immigrants bring to our state.
  65. Katherine "Kitty" Moon Emery
    Civic Leader and former Chairwoman of Metro Sports Authority during the era that brought football and hockey to Nashville.
  66. Kitty Wells
    Country Music Artist, first female country singer to top the U.S. Country charts.
  67. Laura Heatherly
    CEO of the TJ Martell Foundation, the music industry's largest foundation for leukemia, cancer, and AIDS research.
  68. Leslie Fram
  69. Senior Vice President of Music Strategy at CMT and Co-Founder of Change The Conversation, an organization that fights gender inequality in the music industry by providing support, education, and community for female artists and executives.
  70. Loretta Lynn
    Country Music Artist, the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade (1970s).
  71. Lula C. Naff
    Ryman Auditorium Theatre Manager for over 40 years.
  72. Maneet Chauhan
    Chef and Community Advocate, received recognition of "Distinguished Service to the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry" as the Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America.
  73. Margaret (Rhea) Seddon
    One of the first women to enter the U.S. Astronaut Program.
  74. Margaret Behm
    Co-founder of Shipley & Behm, the first all-woman law firm in Nashville.
  75. Margaret Dolan
    President and CEO of Launch Tennessee, a public-private entrepreneurship organization.
  76. Marilyn Robinson
  77. Executive Director of the Nashville Minority Business Center.
  78. Marion James
    Nashville native, considered Nashville's "Queen of the Blues," she made honoring and preserving Jefferson Street's musical legacy a top priority.
  79. Martha Daughtrey
    First woman Assistant U.S. Attorney, the first woman to teach as a faculty member at Vanderbilt Law School, and the first woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
  80. Martha Ingram
    Former CEO of Ingram Industries and advocate for the arts in Nashville.
  81. Maybelle Carter
  82. Country Music Musician and originator of the "Carter scratch", she and band-mate Sara Carter became the first female performers to be inducted (simultaneously) into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  83. Michelle Kennedy
    Executive Vice President, CFO, and General Counsel for the Nashville Predators.
  84. Nancy Shapiro
    Music Industry Veteran and a key player in the development of Music Makes Us that is tasked with including music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
  85. Nancy VanReece
    Serves District 8 on the Nashville and Davidson County Metro Council and was the first openly out lesbian elected to a legislative body in the State of Tennessee; founding member of Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Equality Project; served as Executive Director/CEO of The Nashville Shakespeare Festival and strategist for GivingMatters.com and the Nashville Library Foundation; 2017 recipient for the Steine Award for Public Leadership in the Arts.
  86. Nera White
    Basketball Player that led the United States National Women's Basketball team to win the World Championship in 1957.
  87. Nicole Kidman
    Actress, Philanthropist, and Producer, the first Australian actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.
  88. Oprah Winfrey
    Actress, Producer, and Philanthropist, best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years.
  89. Patsy Cline
    Country Music Artist and one of the first country music artists to successfully cross over into pop music.
  90. Phran Galante
    Community Advocate and Philanthropist, founding member of United Partnerships in Animal Welfare, a community-based group sanctioned by the city of Nashville.
  91. Reba McEntire
    Country Music Artist and Actress, highly credited for remaining one of the country's most popular female artists for nearly four decades.
  92. Reese Witherspoon
    Actress, Producer, and Entrepreneur, co-founder of Hello Sunshine, a media firm focused on female-led stories and has produced a number of films and television series.
  93. Renata Soto
    Co-Founder of Conexion Americas, an Immigrant Advocacy Organization that helps immigrants adjust to life in the Nashville community.
  94. Rosetta Miller-Perry
    Founder of the Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Tribune.
  95. Sandra Fulton
    Commissioner, Department of Tourist Development Tennessee.
  96. Sandra Sepulveda
    Nashville Council Member and first Latina woman to ever serve as a council member in Nashville.
  97. Sarah Cannon (Minnie Pearl)
    Cancer Research Advocate and name of the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, also Country Comedian who appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years.
  98. Sarah Trahern
    CEO of Country Music Association since 2014.
  99. Sharon Roberson
    YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee‘s President and CEO.
  100. Shelia Shipley Biddy
    First woman to head a Nashville record label, Decca Records, and co-founder of SOURCE, a nonprofit organization supporting women executives and professionals who work in all facets of the Nashville music industry.
  101. Sue Shelton White
    Suffragist who led a campaign with others in TN to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  102. Susan Edwards
    Executive Director & CEO of Frist Art Museum.
  103. Tammy Wynette
    Country Music Artist; her song, "Stand by Your Man", is one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music.
  104. Taylor Swift
    One of the best-selling music artists of all time, she is the first artist to have four studio albums sell one million copies in their first week in the U.S, she has received the most day-one streams of an album on Spotify by a female artist and holds numerous records related to music.
  105. Thelma Harper
    First African American woman elected to the Tennessee Senate.
  106. Theresa Phillips
    Tennessee State University Director of Athletics and the first woman to coach the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball team.
  107. Tiffany Wilmot
    President of Wilmot Inc. & Co-Founder of Tennessee Women in Green (TWIG), a nonprofit organization that empowers, inspires, and connects women in the sustainability industry.
  108. Tootsie Bess
    Legendary former owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Lower Broadway.
  109. Tracy Caulkins Stockwell
    Three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time world champion, and former world record-holder in three events for swimming.
  110. Trisha Yearwood
    Country Music Artist and Author of three cookbooks on The New York Times Best Seller list.
  111. Veronica Mallett
    Executive Director of the Center for Women's Health Research at Meharry Medical College, one of the nation's first research centers devoted exclusively to understanding why women of color are at greater risk of certain diseases and how biology, race, and economics contribute to women's health disparities.
  112. Willa McCord Blake Eslick
    The first woman to represent Tennessee in the United States Congress.
  113. Wilma Rudolph
    World-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field.
  114. Zulfat Suara
    The first Muslim woman elected in the State of Tennessee as Metro Council At-Large and the first Nigerian woman elected to any office in the United States.