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  • Pauline Hoffmann

Women in U.S. Politics

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Where have women served in high levels in U.S. Politics? Let's take a look.

Heads of "State" (Governors)

According to the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), 44 women have served as governors of U.S. States. There are currently 8 female governors (Oregon, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota, Michigan).

The first woman - Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) - to serve as governor won a special election in 1925 to replace her deceased husband.

I live in New York State and we have yet to have a female governor. Of course, if our current governor keeps going as he is, we may just have her sooner than later!

U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate website indicates that 58 women have served as U.S. Senators with 24 currently serving. The first - Rebecca L. Felton (D-GA) - was appointed in 1922 to fill a vacant seat. She served only 24 hours. The first women elected to the U.S. Senate was Hattie W. Caraway (D-AR) in 1931.

There has not been a female Senate Majority Leader.

U.S. Congress

Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) was the first female member of Congress elected in 1916, two years after Montana granted women the right to vote and four years before the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In total, 352 women have served in the House of Representatives. There are currently 144 (of 539 seats) women serving in the House. This is according to the Pew Research Center.

The House of Representatives also has its first woman speaker - Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

U.S. Supreme Court

Of the nine Supreme Court Justices, three are women. There have been five women on the Supreme Court in its history. There has never been a female chief justice. This information was taken from the Supreme Court of the United States website.

Members of Presidential Cabinets

The Presidential Cabinet was not part of the U.S. Constitution. Cabinet positions have changed over the years - some added, some removed. CAWP notes there are currently 25 cabinet positions. Of those positions, 60 women have held 68 positions (eight women served in more than cabinet position and for more than one president).

The first woman to serve in any cabinet was Frances Perkins, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to serve as Secretary of Labor. Current U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris, is the highest ranking woman to serve in a cabinet position.

Ladies, we are getting closer to the presidency!

The information above was taken from different sources. CAWP had information on each of the topics noted but I did want to share information from more than one reliable, reputable source. I believe I've done that here. To be fair, I was getting lost (in a good way) on the CAWP site. I recommend it! The photo is a stock photo taken from the Wix gallery.

I looked at women in general. I did not break it down by race or ethnicity. That can be a separate post. Sadly, it will be much shorter....

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