Snapshot: A look back at significant milestones for women in Congress


In a month that celebrates women’s contributions throughout history, you need only look toward Capitol Hill as evidence of the strides women have taken in national politics and the gender disparity that remains.

This year’s 118th Congress boasts the highest proportion of female members (28%) ever and represents a significant increase over their numbers just a decade ago. Still, the proportion of women in Congress falls well short of women’s share of the U.S. population, which is 50.5%, according to the Census Bureau.

Women have served in Congress for more than a century. Two years after Montana granted women the right to vote, Jeannette Rankin was elected the first woman to serve in the House in 1917. 

Today, women hold 149 of the combined 535 voting seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Significant milestones for women in Congress

Women in Congress

The recently elected House has a record 124 female members, who make up 29% of the entire body. Women hold 25 of the Senate’s 100 seats, matching the record number set by the 116th Congress.

Of note, for the first time, women are in leadership of all four of the significant House and Senate appropriations panels.


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