Here are some facts about women who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Congress.
313 women have been elected or appointed to the U.S. Congress. Jeannette Rankin, Republican from Montana, was the first woman elected to serve
in Congress. On November 9, 1916, she was elected to the House of Representatives as Montana's Representative-at-Large to the 65th Congress; she served from
In the 114th Congress, which began in January 2015, there are 87 women in the House and 20 women in the Senate. New members of the Senate include: Joni Ernst (R), Iowa; Shelly Moore Capito (R), W.Va. and of the House: Aumua Amata (R), American Samoa; Barbara Comstock (R), Va.; Debbie Dingell (D), Mich.; Gwen Graham (D), Fla.; Brenda Lawrence (D), Mich.; Mia Love (R), Utah; Martha McSally (R), Ariz.; Stacey Plaskett (D), V.I.; Kathleen Rice (D), N.Y.; Elise Stefanik (R), N.Y.; Norma Torres (D), Calif.; Mimi Waters (R), Calif.; Bonnie Watson Coleman (D), N.J.
Of the women who have served in the House of Representatives and Senate, 46
were elected to fill vacancies caused by their husbands' deaths.
14 congresswomen have also served as Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors, and Cabinet Secretaries:
Ellen O'Kane Tauscher, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Department of State, (2009–2012)
EMILY's list (Early Money Is Like Yeast) is a political network to help pro-choice women Democrats get elected to political office in the U.S.
WISH List (Women In the Senate and House) is an organization that supports pro-choice Republican female candidates for Congress and governorships by contributing time or money to their campaigns.
Famous Facts and Firsts
Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine, holds the record for the
being the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Originally
elected in 1940 to fill the vacancy left by her dying husband, she was then elected to the Senate in 1948.
Edith Nourse Rogers, a Republican from Massachusetts, holds the record for the
longest service by a woman in the House of Representatives. Originally
elected to fill the vacancy caused by her husband's death, she served
from June 25, 1925, until her death on September 10, 1960.
Representative Patsy Mink, a
Democrat from Hawaii, was the first Asian-American woman elected to
Congress, in 1965.
Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, became the first black woman in
Congress when she was elected to the House in 1968.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen , a
Republican from Florida, was first elected in 1989. She is the first Hispanic woman and first Cuban American to
serve in Congress.
Representative Nydia Velazquez, a
Democrat from New York, was elected in 1992 and became the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in
Representative Nancy Pelosi, a
Democrat from California, became the first woman to head a political
party. In Nov. 2002 she replaced Dick Gephardt of Missouri as House
Minority Leader. In Jan. 2007 she became the first woman to be Speaker
of the House.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a
Democrat from Maryland, became the longest-serving woman in Congress in March 2012, having been in office for 35 years. She served for 10 years in the House of Representatives and has been a senator for 25 years. Mikulski passed the record previously held by Edith Nourse Rogers.
Tammy Baldwin, a seven-term Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, prevailed over former governor Tommy Thompson in the race for U.S. Senate and became the first openly gay politician elected to the Senate. "This is a big day for gay women in America, and really, for all communities who aren't the typical straight, white, wealthy men elected to Congress," she said.