Women of Color*
- 541 (25.3%) of the 2,137 women state legislators serving nationwide are women of color (130 senators, 411 representatives; 521D, 19R, 1Prg.).
- Women of color constitute 7.3% of the total 7,383 state legislators.
- In addition, there are 31 women of color serving in the legislatures of the U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and on the D.C. City Council.
*This figure does not include two legislators whose race/ethnicity we could not confirm.
More information on women of color in elective office.
State Legislative Firsts
1894: The first three women elected to a state legislature in the country were Clara Cressingham,
Carrie C. Holly, and Frances Klock, all in the Colorado House of Representatives.
1896: Martha Hughes Cannon (D-UT) became the first woman elected state senator in the
1924: Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson (R-MI) became the first woman of color elected to a state
1933: Minnie Davenport Craig (R-ND) became the first woman to serve as speaker of a state
1974: Elaine Noble (D-MA) became the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state
1983: Vesta Roy (R-NH) became the first woman to serve as president of a state senate.
2007: Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) became the first woman of color to serve as president of a state
2008: Karen Bass (D-CA) became the first woman of color to serve as speaker of a state house.
For other important state legislative firsts, visit the Milestones for Women in American Politics page.