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International Women's Day | Notable Maine women who've made their mark on the world

Mainers are tough. Maine women are tougher.
Credit: AP Images

MAINE, USA — This list is just a few Maine women whose start in our state enabled them to make their mark on the world. And the list barely scratches the surface. 

From politicians to Olympians, and astronauts to actors, these are just some of Maine's remarkable women.

Gov. Janet Mills

Farmington, 73

Janet Trafton Mills is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 75th governor of Maine since January 2019. She previously served as the Maine Attorney General on two occasions. Mills was both the state's first female governor and the first female attorney general.

RELATED: Mills named one of Maine's 'Women of the Century' by USA Today

Dr. Jessica Meir

Caribou, 43

Jessica Ulrika Meir is a Swedish-American NASA astronaut, marine biologist, and physiologist. The Caribou native was previously Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, following postdoctoral research in comparative physiology at the University of British Columbia.

Last year, Meir spent 205 days in space aboard the International Space Station and made history by taking part in the first all-female spacewalk with Dr. Christina Koch.

RELATED: WATCH: Maine astronaut Jessica Meir talks with NEWS CENTER Maine about possibly becoming the first woman on the moon

Sen. Susan Collins

Caribou, 68

Susan Margaret Collins is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Maine since Olympia Snowe retired in 2013. A Republican, she has represented Maine in the Senate since 1997. Born in Caribou, Maine, Collins is a graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

Rep. Chellie Pingree

Minneapolis, Minn., 65

Chellie Marie Pingree is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Maine's 1st Congressional District since 2009. Her district includes most of the southern part of the state, including Portland and Augusta.

RELATED: York River nears designation as 'Wild and Scenic'

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows

Greenfield, Mass., 45

Shenna Bellows is an American politician who was sworn in as Maine's new Secretary of State this January. Bellows is Maine’s first female Secretary of State and the 50th person elected to the office. She previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020, and most recently worked as executive director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.

RELATED: Bellows sworn in as Maine's first female Secretary of State

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Cape Elizabeth, 63

Joan Benoit Samuelson is an American Senior Grand Masters marathon runner who was the first women's Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the Gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years after winning the race in 1985.

Julia Clukey

Augusta, 35

Julia Clukey is an American luger who started competing in 2002. Her best Luge World Cup season finish was 12th in women's singles in 2007–08. Clukey's best finish at the FIL World Luge Championships was fifth in women's singles at Lake Placid in 2009.

Anna Kendrick 

Portland, 35

Anna Cooke Kendrick is an American actress and singer. She began her career as a child in theater productions. Her first starring role was in the 1998 Broadway musical High Society, for which she earned a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Margaret Chase Smith 

Skowhegan, 1897 - 1995

Margaret Madeline Chase Smith was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, she served as a U.S Representative and a U.S. Senator from Maine. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress, and the first woman to represent Maine in either.

Frances Perkins

Boston, Mass., 1880 - 1965

While not native to Maine, Frances Perkins' family had deep roots in our state dating back to the early 1700s in Newcastle, Maine.

Frances Perkins was an American workers-rights advocate who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, the longest-serving in that position.  

RELATED: From Henry Knox to William Cohen, a look back on Cabinet members with Maine connections

Again, this list only barely scratches the surface of the amazing feats of Maine women. NEWS CENTER Maine covers the stories of so many amazing Maine women every single day. 

Especially today, please be sure to tell the important women in your life they're appreciated.