Women in the United States Congress: 1917-2008 Page: 4 of 100
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Women in the United States
Two hundred forty-five women have been elected or appointed to the U.S.
Congress.1 Jeanette Rankin (R-MT) has the distinction of being the first woman
elected to serve in Congress. On November 9, 1916, she was elected to the House
of Representatives as Montana's Representative-at-Large to the 65th Congress (1917-
A record 90 women serve in the 110th Congress; 74 in the House (55 Democrats
and 20 Republicans), and 16 in the Senate (11 Democrats and 5 Republicans).3 Of
the 245 women who have served in Congress, 157 have been Democrats, and 88 have
been Republicans. In addition, 210 (135 Democrats, 75 Republicans) have served
only in the House of Representatives; 28 (17 Democrats, 11 Republicans) have
served only in the Senate; and 7 (5 Democrats, 2 Republicans) have served in both
Edith Nourse Rogers (R-MA) holds the record for length of service by a woman
in Congress (35 years). She was elected to the House to fill the vacancy caused by
the death of her husband, John Jacob Rogers (R-MA, 1913-1925). Mrs. Rogers
served from June 25, 1925, until her death on September 10, 1960. Margaret Chase
Smith (R-ME) holds the record for length of Senate service by a woman (24 years).
She was also first elected to the House to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her
For additional information on the women who have served in Congress, please refer to
U.S. Congress, House, Office of History and Preservation, Women in Congress, 1917-2006
(Washington: GPO, 2006), [http://womenincongress.house.gov], visited Nov. 15, 2007.
2 Reps. Rankin (R-MT), Patsy Mink (D-HI), Jane Harman (D-CA), and Cynthia McKinney
(D-GA) are the only women to serve non-consecutive terms in the same house of Congress.
Rep. Rankin served from 1917-1919 and from 1941-1943. Rep. Rankin was also the only
Member of Congress to vote against America's entry into both World Wars. Rep. Mink
served from 1965-1977 and from September 1990, when she was seated following a special
election, until her death in September 2002. Rep. Harman served from 1993-1999, and from
2001 to the present. Rep. McKinney served from 1993-2003 and from 2005-2007.
3 Ninety-three women were elected to the 110t' Congress; 77 to the House and 16 to the
Senate. However, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) died on Apr. 22, 2007, Rep.
Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) died on Oct. 6, 2007, and Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN) died on Dec. 15,
4 The number of representatives includes one Delegate to the House of Representatives from
Hawaii, one from the District of Columbia, one from Guam, and one from the U.S. Virgin
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Women in the United States Congress: 1917-2008, report, May 7, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808760/m1/4/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.