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Facts


Did You Know?


Firsts for Women
Appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. She remained in office until 1945.
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Democratic Leader, is the first woman to lead her party in Congress.
The first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA). Appointed in 1922, she served for one day.
The first woman elected to the U.S. House of representatives was Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), who served from 1917-1919 and again from 1941-42. A pacifist, she was the only person to vote against U.S. entry into both World Wars.
The first woman of color in Congress was Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) who served from 1965-1977 and again from 1990 until her death in 2002. The first African American woman in Congress was Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), who served from 196901983. The first Latina in Congress was Representative Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), who took office in 1989 and is still serving.
Representative Mae Ella Nolan (R-CA) became the first woman to chair a congressional committee in 1925, heading the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department.
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA 47) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA 39) are the first sisters to serve together in Congress.
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is the first woman (and the only Republican woman) to have been elected to her State House, State Senate, U. S. House, and U.S. Senate. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) also followed this path to the U.S. Senate, making her the first Democrat to do so.
Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) was the nation’s first woman governor, picked by her party to run in 1925 after her husband died. Her two-year term began 15 days before Miriam (Ma) Ferguson (D-TX) became the second woman governor, elected as a stand-in for her impeached husband.
Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) is the first woman to succeed another woman as governor of a state.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) is the first woman governor whose father (John Gilligan, D-OH) was also governor of a state.
The first women state legislators were three Republicans elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1894: Clara Cressingham, Carrie C. Holly, and Frances Klock.
The first woman state senator was Martha Hughes Cannon, a Utah Democrat who was elected in 1896.
Susanna Salter of Argonia, Kansas, was elected mayor in 1887 – the first woman mayor in the country.
In 1924, Bertha K. Landes (R) president of the Seattle City Council, became acting mayor, the first woman to lead a major American city. Two years later, she was elected mayor in her own right in a campaign run by women.
The first woman-versus-woman race for the U.S. House was in 1944, when Rep. Clare Booth Luce (R-CT) defeated Margaret Connor. The first woman-versus-woman race for the U.S. Senate was in 1960, when Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) defeated Lucia Cormier.
The first woman-versus-woman gubernatorial race was in 1986, when Republican Kay Orr defeated Democrat Helen Boosalis to become governor of Nebraska.
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (ME) became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention when Sen. George Aiken nominated her at the 1964 Republican national convention. Smith – also the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate – had campaigned briefly for the post when the Senate was not in session.
Washington is the first state to have both a female governor and two female US Senators at the same time.
 
 Women Running for U.S. President and Vice President
Victoria Woodhull, a stockbroker, publisher, and protégé of Cornelius Vanderbilt, ran for president of the United States in 1872 on the Equal Rights Party ticket. Belva Lockwood, the first woman admitted to practice law before the U.S Supreme Court ran for president on the same party's ticket in 1884 and 1888.
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (ME) became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention when Sen. George Aiken nominated her at the 1964 Republican
national convention. Smith – also the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate – had campaigned briefly for the post when the Senate was not in session.
In 1972, Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) ran for president in the Democratic primaries. At the party's national convention, she won 151.25 delegate votes before Sen. George McGovern clinched the nomination.
Frances (Sissy) Farenthold, a former Texas state legislator who twice ran for governor of that state, finished second in the balloting for the 1972 Democratic vice presidential nomination, receiving more than 400 votes.
Third-term Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-NY), secretary of the House Democratic Caucus, became the first woman ever to run on a major party's national ticket when she was selected by Walter F. Mondale as his Vice Presidential running mate in 1984.
Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO) explored the idea of running for president in the 1988 election, but bowed out of the race after concluding that she could not overtake men who had been running and raising funds for months before her.
Elizabeth Dole, who had served as U.S. Secretary of Labor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Federal Trade Commissioner, and president of the American Red Cross, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. After failing to attract sufficient early support, she withdrew from the race. She now represents North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) was among ten Democrats seeking the 2004 presidential nomination. An attorney and one-term U.S. senator (1992-1998), Braun has also served as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Illinois state representative, and Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
 
Women Candidates for U.S. Congress
The largest number of women to file as candidates for U.S. Senate elections was 29 (22D, 7R), which occurred in 1992. The largest number of women to win major-party nominations for the U.S. Senate was 11, which occurred in 1992 (10D, 1R) and again in 2002 (8D, 3R).
A record 217 (136D, 80R, 1I) women filed as candidates for the U.S. House in 1996. In 2002 a record 124 (78D, 46R) women won their primaries and became their parties’ candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives; 3 (3D) additional women were the candidates of their parties for non- voting delegate seats in the House.
The first woman-versus-woman race for the U.S. House was in 1944, when Rep. Clare Booth Luce (R-CT) defeated Margaret Connor. The first woman-versus-woman race for the U.S. Senate was in 1960, when Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) defeated Lucia Cormier.
 
Women Candidates for Governor
In 1994, a record 34 (18D, 15R, 1ACP) women filed for gubernatorial races and a record 10 (6D, 3R, 1IND) won their primaries. In 2002, the record number of women gubernatorial nominees was tied with 10 (9D, 1R) women winning their primaries.
The first woman-versus-woman gubernatorial race was in 1986, when Republican Kay Orr defeated Democrat Helen Boosalis to become governor of Nebraska.
 
 Women in Presidential Cabinets
Appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. She remained in office until 1945.
 
 Women in the U.S. Senate and House
The first woman of color in Congress was Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) who served from 1965-1977 and again from 1990 until her death in 2002. The first African American woman in Congress was Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), who served from 196901983. The first Latina in Congress was Representative Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), who took office in 1989 and is still serving.
The first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA). Appointed in 1922, she served for one day.
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Democratic Leader, is the first woman to lead her party in Congress.
The first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives was Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), who served from 1917-1919 and again from 1941-42. A pacifist, she was the only person to vote against U.S. entry into both World Wars.
Representative Mae Ella Nolan (R-CA) became the first woman to chair a congressional committee in 1925, heading the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department.
Two women, both Maine Republicans, currently chair committees in the U.S. Senate: Senator Susan Collins (Committee on Governmental Affairs) and Senator Olympia Snowe (Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship). Only two women before them have chaired Senate full committees: Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS) chaired the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, and Senator Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR) chaired the Committee on Enrolled Bills.
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is the first woman (and the only Republican woman) to have been elected to her State House, State Senate, U. S. House, and U.S. Senate. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) also followed this path to the U.S. Senate, making her the first Democrat to do so.
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA 47) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA 39) are the first sisters to serve together in Congress.
Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire & Vermont are the only states never to have sent a woman to either the US Senate or US House.
 
Women Governors and Statewide Officials
Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) was the nation’s first woman governor, picked by her party to run in 1925 after her husband died. Her two-year term began 15 days before Miriam (Ma) Ferguson (D-TX) became the second woman governor, elected as a stand-in for her impeached husband.
Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) is the first woman to succeed another woman as governor of a state.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) is the first woman governor whose father (John Gilligan, D-OH) was also governor of a state.

Women in State Legislatures
The first woman state senator was Martha Hughes Cannon, a Utah Democrat who was elected in 1896.
The first women state legislators were three Republicans elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1894: Clara Cressingham, Carrie C. Holly, and Frances Klock.

Women Mayors and Local Officials
Susanna Salter of Argonia, Kansas, was elected mayor in 1887 – the first woman mayor in the country.

In 1924, Bertha K. Landes (R) president of the Seattle City Council, became acting mayor, the first woman to lead a major American city. Two years later, she was elected mayor in her own right in a campaign run by women.