skip to main content

On May 21, 1919, the House passed the 19th Amendment. Read below for a list of 19 accomplishments for women since that historic day:

  1. In 1916, former Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  2. Former Congresswoman Mae Ella Nolan (R-CA) entered Congress in 1926 to succeed her late husband. She was the first widow to serve in Congress and to chair a congressional committee – the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office.
  3. Noted in history for her bold and courageous Declaration of Conscience, former Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) was the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate, and the first woman to represent Maine in either chamber.
  4. Former Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-HI) became the first Asian American woman and first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. During her tenure in Congress, she introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act, sponsored the Women’s Educational Equity Act, and was one of the lead sponsors of Title IX.
  5. In 1968, former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) became the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1972, she became the first African American to run for president.
  6. In 1977, fifteen Congresswomen held the first meeting of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, known at the time as the “Congresswomen’s Caucus.” These women were trailblazers in Congress, and demonstrated the potential for bipartisanship. 
  7. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1977-1981). She was elected to Congress in 1991 and served as Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus from 1997 to 1998.
  8. In 1986, Pat Saiki (R-HI) became the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Hawaii, and the first Republican Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  9. Former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was the first Latina elected to Congress in 1989 and the first woman to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She served over 25 years, and by the end of her tenure in 2019, was the most senior woman Republican serving in Congress.
  10. The 1992 election of a record number of women in the House and Senate became known as the “Year of the Woman,” and marked a turning point for women in Congress, as well as women of color: “47 of the 58 African American, Hispanic American, and Asian Pacific American women who have served in Congress were elected between 1992 and 2016.”
  11. In the 108thand 109th Congresses, former Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH) served as the Republican Conference Chair, becoming the highest-ranking Republican woman in House history at the time. 
  12. Current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made history when she was elected as the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007. 
  13. The first women of color to chair congressional committees were former Congresswomen Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Committee on Ethics, and Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA), Committee on House Administration; and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Committee on Small Business.
  14. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, and is the first openly bisexual woman to serve in Congress. She was elected to the Senate in 2018.
  15. The 2010 election year became known as the “Year of the Republican Woman.” Three Republican women became the first women governors of their state, nine were newly elected to the House, and one was newly elected to the Senate.
  16. The 116th Congress is the most diverse in the nation’s history, with 46 African American, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American women elected to Congress. 
  17. For the first time in history, two women are at the helm of the Appropriations Committee. Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), former Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX).
  18. Elected in 2018, Congresswomen Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM) are the first women members of federally recognized tribes to serve in Congress.
  19. Congresswoman Lauren Underwood is the youngest African American woman to serve in Congress, having been elected to the 116th Congress in 2018 at only 32 years old.

Keep up with us on social media for our #WCW and #FactFriday posts that highlight major accomplishments throughout history by women and for women, including special spotlights on women in Congress, women suffragists, women in STEAM, and women activists.

 

Virtually Attend WCPI's 30th Anniversary Celebration of NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health!Register
+