Women in the United States House of Representatives: Wikis


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Sometimes called the "Lady of the House", Jeanette Rankin entered the House in 1917 as the first woman in Congress.
Nancy Pelosi is the current Speaker of the House, the first woman in that position.
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Since the beginning of the 20th century, a number of women have served in the United States House of Representatives. The first woman to be elected to the United States Congress was Jeanette Rankin, a Republican from Montana elected in 1917. 229 women have served in total as of 2009.[1] As of the 2008 elections, there are 75 women (constituting 17.2% of the total) serving in the current House of Representatives.[2]


States Represented by Women

Women have been elected to the House of Representatives from 44 of the 50 states in the United States. The states that have not elected a woman to the house are Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Vermont. However, women have represented Alaska and North Dakota in the United States Senate, and Alaska, Delaware, and Vermont have all elected female governors. The highest position yet held by a woman in Iowa and Mississippi is that of Lt. Governor. There are several states that have elected women to the house in the past but do not currently have any female Representatives. They are Rhode Island, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Alabama, Utah, Idaho, Kentucky, Arkansas, Nebraska, Montana, Virginia, New Mexico, and Oregon. However, Louisiana and Arkansas currently have a woman representing them in the United States Senate, Senators Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln, respectively.

Widow's succession

Mae Ella Nolan was the first woman elected to her husband's seat in Congress, which is sometimes known as the widow's succession. In the early years of women in Congress, the seat was held only until the next election and the women retired after that single Congress. She thereby became a placeholder merely finishing out her late husband's elected term. As the years progressed, however, more and more of these widow successors sought re-election. These women began to win their own elections.

As of 2004, 36 widows have won their husbands' seats in the House, and 8 in the Senate. Current examples are Representatives Mary Bono Mack (widow of Sonny Bono) and Lois Capps and Doris Matsui, all of California, and Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri. The most successful example is Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who served a total of 32 years in both houses and became the first woman elected to both the House and the Senate. She began the end of McCarthyism with famous speech The Declaration of Conscience, became the first major-party female presidential candidate and the first woman to receive votes at a national nominating convention, and was the first (and highest ranking to date) woman to enter the Republican Party Senate leadership (in the third-highest post of Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference). The third woman elected to Congress, Winnifred Huck, was similarly elected to her father's seat.

List of female members

This is a complete list of women who have served as members of the United States House of Representatives, ordered by seniority. This list includes women who served in the past and who continue to serve in the present.



Congresswoman Party District Took office Left office Notes
Rep. Rankin Jeannette Rankin Republican Montana's 2nd March 4, 1917 March 3, 1919 First woman elected to a national office
Montana's 1st January 3, 1941 January 3, 1943
Rep. Robertson Alice Mary Robertson Republican Oklahoma's 2nd March 4, 1921 March 3, 1923 First woman to defeat an incumbent congressman
Rep. Huck Winnifred Sprague Mason Huck Republican Illinois's A-L November 7, 1922 March 3, 1923 Succeeded her father in a special election; First woman incumbent defeated in a primary
  Mae Nolan Republican California's 5th January 23, 1923 March 3, 1925 First woman to win a special election; Succeeded her husband
Rep. Kahn Florence Prag Kahn Republican California's 4th December 7, 1925 January 3, 1937 First woman to be re-elected; First Jewish woman elected; Succeeded her husband
Rep. Norton Mary Teresa Norton Democratic New Jersey's 12th March 4, 1925 March 3, 1933 First Democratic woman elected
New Jersey's 13th March 4, 1933 January 3, 1951
Rep. Rogers Edith Nourse Rogers Republican Massachusetts's 5th June 30, 1925 September 10, 1960 Succeeded her husband; Died in office
Katherine G. Langley Republican Kentucky's 7th March 4, 1927 March 3, 1931 Succeeded her husband
  Pearl Peden Oldfield Democratic Arkansas's 2nd January 9, 1929 March 3, 1931 Succeeded her husband
Rep. McCormick Ruth Hanna McCormick Republican Illinois's A-L March 4, 1929 March 3, 1931  
Rep. Owen Ruth Bryan Owen Democratic Florida's 4th March 4, 1929 March 3, 1933 Daughter of William Jennings Bryan; later became the first woman ambassador
  Ruth Baker Pratt Republican New York's 17th March 4, 1929 March 3, 1933  
  Effiegene Locke Wingo Democratic Arkansas's 4th November 4, 1930 March 3, 1933 Succeeded her husband
  Willa McCord Blake Eslick Democratic Tennessee's 7th August 14, 1932 March 3, 1933 Succeeded her husband
  Kathryn O'Loughlin McCarthy Democratic Kansas's 6th March 4, 1933 January 3, 1935  
  Virginia E. Jenckes Democratic Indiana's 6th March 4, 1933 January 3, 1939  
  Isabella Greenway Democratic Arizona's A-L October 3, 1933 January 3, 1937  
Rep. Clarke Marian W. Clarke Republican New York's 34th December 28, 1933 January 3, 1935 Succeeded her husband
  Caroline Love Goodwin O'Day Democratic New York's A-L January 3, 1935 January 3, 1943  
Rep. Honeyman Nan Wood Honeyman Democratic Oregon's 3rd January 3, 1937 January 3, 1939  
  Elizabeth Hawley Gasque Democratic South Carolina's 6th September 13, 1938 January 3, 1939 Succeeded her husband
  Jessie Sumner Republican Illinois's 18th January 3, 1939 January 3, 1947  
  Clara G. McMillan Democratic South Carolina's 1st November 7, 1939 January 3, 1941 Succeeded her husband
  Frances P. Bolton Republican Ohio's 22nd February 27, 1940 January 3, 1969 Succeeded her husband
Rep. Smith Margaret Chase Smith Republican Maine's 2nd June 3, 1940 January 3, 1949 Succeeded her husband; Later first woman elected to the United States Senate in a general election without previously being appointed, elected in a special election, or succeeding a husband. In 1964 she became the first woman to run for President for a major party and to have her name entered for nomination at a major party's national convention.
  Florence Reville Gibbs Democratic Georgia's 8th October 1, 1940 January 3, 1941 Succeeded her husband
  Katharine Byron Democratic Maryland's 6th May 27, 1941 January 3, 1943 Succeeded her husband
  Veronica Grace Boland Democratic Pennsylvania's 11th November 3, 1942 January 3, 1943 Succeeded her husband
Rep. Luce Clare Boothe Luce Republican Connecticut's 4th January 3, 1943 January 3, 1947 Later Ambassador to Italy
  Winifred C. Stanley Republican New York's A-L January 3, 1943 January 3, 1945  
Rep. Fulmer Willa L. Fulmer Democratic South Carolina's 2nd November 7, 1944 January 3, 1945 Succeeded her husband
  Emily Taft Douglas Democratic Illinois's A-L January 3, 1945 January 3, 1947  
Rep. Douglas Helen Gahagan Douglas Democratic California's 14th January 3, 1945 January 3, 1951  
  Chase G. Woodhouse Democratic Connecticut's 2nd January 3, 1945 January 3, 1947  
January 3, 1949 January 3, 1951
  Helen Douglas Mankin Democratic Georgia's 5th February 12, 1946 January 3, 1947  
  Eliza Jane Pratt Democratic North Carolina's 8th May 25, 1946 January 3, 1947  
  Georgia Lee Lusk Republican New Mexico's A-L January 3, 1947 January 3, 1949  
  Katharine St. George Republican New York's 29th January 3, 1947 January 3, 1953  
New York's 28th January 3, 1953 January 3, 1963
New York's 27th January 3, 1963 January 3, 1965
  Reva Beck Bosone Democratic Utah's 2nd January 3, 1949 January 3, 1953  
  Cecil M. Harden Republican Indiana's 6th January 3, 1949 January 3, 1959  
Rep. Kelly Edna F. Kelly Democratic New York's 10th November 8, 1949 January 3, 1963  
New York's 12th January 3, 1963 January 3, 1969

1950 - present

w indicates a widow's succession; an asterisk (*) indicates a non-voting delegate.

See also


  1. ^ Were all those women serving at once, they would make up the barest majority of the House. The 37 women who have served in the Senate (as of 2009) would not be enough even to sustain a filibuster.
  2. ^ Office of the Clerk: Frequently Asked Questions

External links


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