- There are currently 127 women in Congress.
- Women throughout US history have shattered political glass ceilings.
- Vermont is the only state that has not sent a woman to Congress.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There are currently 127 women serving in the 116th US Congress, but many more have made political history through the years.
Most recently, Kamala Harris became the first ever African-American and Asian-American candidate to run for vice president on a major party ticket. She was born in Oakland, California.
Every state has produced powerful political leaders who’ve shattered glass ceilings. Some of those politicians eventually became well-known for representing another state â€” Sarah Palin, for example, was the first and only female governor of Alaska, but she was actually born in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Here is the most famous female political figure from every state.
ALABAMA: Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She was secretary of state during George W. Bush’s presidency and the first and only black woman to have served in that position. She spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention and said, “I think my father thought I might be president of the United States. I think he would have been satisfied with secretary of state.”
ALASKA: Lisa Murkowski
Lisa Murkowski, who was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, is the the first woman from Alaska to be elected to the Senate and the second most senior Republican woman in the Senate. Known as a moderate Republican, she pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and production, but broke with Republicans when she voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
ARIZONA: Gabrielle Giffords
Gabrielle Giffords served in the US House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012 and was the third woman to represent Arizona in the history of the state. In 2011, she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt during her first “Congress on Your Corner” event in a Safeway parking lot.
She spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, calling her recovery “a daily fight.” She was born in Tuscon, Arizona.
ARKANSAS: Blanche Lincoln
Blanche Lincoln was born in Helena, Arkansas. She served as both a US Representative (1993 to 1997) and a US Senator (1999 to 2011). At the time of her election, she was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 38 years old.
CALIFORNIA: Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California. She was California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017, and elected to the US Senate in 2016.
Harris is currently the Democratic vice presidential nominee in the 2020 election. She is the first African-American and Asian-American to run for vice president on a major party ticket, and the third woman.
COLORADO: Marilyn Musgrave
Marilyn Musgrave was born in Greeley, Colorado. She represented Colorado in the US House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009.
CONNECTICUT: Ella T. Grasso
Ella T. Grasso was born in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. She served in the US House of Representatives from 1970 to 1974, and then became the first woman elected as governor of a US state whose husband hadn’t also held the position in 1975.
DELAWARE: Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride is an LGBTQ+ activist currently running for Delaware State Senate. In 2012, she was the first openly transgender person to work at the White House, and she became the first openly transgender speaker at a major political party’s convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She was born in Wilmington, Delaware.
FLORIDA: Janet Reno
Janet Reno was the first woman to serve as US attorney general. She was also the second-longest-serving attorney general, holding the role from 1993 to 2001. Reno was born in Miami, Florida, and died of Parkinson’s disease in 2016.
GEORGIA: Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in Congress when she was elected in 1992, and she served six terms in the US House of Representatives. She ran for president as the Green Party candidate in 2008.
HAWAII: Patsy Mink
Patsy Mink of Paia, Hawaii, was the first woman of colour elected to Congress. She also sponsored and co-authored Title IX, which protects students against gender discrimination in federally funded programs.
She was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
IDAHO: Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin served as the governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009, though she was born in Sandpoint, Idaho. She is the first and only woman to have been governor of the state, and she earned the Republican Party’s first female vice-presidential nomination. She recently appeared on “The Masked Singer” where she rapped “Baby Got Back.”
ILLINOIS: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois. She served as first lady from 1993 to 2001, US senator of New York from 2001 to 2009, and secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. She was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party in the US and the first woman to win the popular vote, though she lost the election to Donald Trump.
INDIANA: Maria Cantwell
Maria Cantwell is a US senator representing Washington. She previously served in the US House of Representatives, having been the first Democrat elected in Washington’s first congressional district in 40 years. She also spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Cantwell was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
IOWA: Joni Ernst
Joni Ernst is the first female combat veteran to serve in Congress, and the first woman to represent Iowa. She was elected in 2014 and is running again in 2020. She was born in Red Oak, Iowa.
KANSAS: Gale Norton
Gale Norton was the first female US Secretary of the Interior, holding the role from 2001 to 2006. She was born in Wichita, Kansas.
KENTUCKY: Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins became the highest-ranking female Democrat in the US when she was elected governor of Kentucky in 1983. She held the position until 1987, and she remains the only woman to have served as governor of the state. She was born in Shelby County, Kentucky.
LOUISIANA: Lindy Boggs
Lindy Boggs was born in Pointe Coupee Roads, Louisiana. Her husband, Hale Boggs, was majority leader in the Senate until his campaign plane disappeared in Alaska in 1972. Lindy, who had served as his chief political adviser, ran for and won his seat in a special election. In her eight terms, she went on to cofound the Congressional Woman’s Caucus in 1977 and become the first woman to preside over a political convention in 1976.
MAINE: Margaret Chase Smith
Margaret Chase Smith was born in Skowhegan, Maine. She was the first woman to be elected to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. She passed the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act granting women in the military full status (they had been considered volunteers up until then), and her “Declaration of Conscience” speech challenged McCarthyism at a time when speaking up carried grave consequences.
MARYLAND: Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She was sworn in as the first female speaker of the House in 2007 and again in 2019. It is the highest position of power ever achieved by a woman in the US – third in the line of succession after the president and vice president.
“We have broken the marble ceiling,” Pelosi said when she was sworn in for the first time. “For our daughters and our granddaughters now the sky is the limit.”
MASSACHUSETTS: Jane Swift
Jane Swift was the first female governor of Massachusetts, as well as the first-ever pregnant governor in the US (she gave birth to twins while in office). She was born in North Adams, Massachusetts.
MICHIGAN: Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit, Michigan. She is the first Palestinian-American woman and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
MINNESOTA: Amy Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar was born in Plymouth, Minnesota. She was elected to the US Senate in 2006 and is the first female senator to represent Minnesota. She ran for the Democrat nomination in the 2020 presidential election, but dropped out of the race in March and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
MISSISSIPPI: Cindy Hyde-Smith
MISSOURI: Maxine Waters
Maxine Waters is currently serving her 15th term in the US House of Representatives representing California. She is the first woman and first African American to chair the House Financial Services Committee. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
MONTANA: Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress and the only member to vote against participating in both world wars. She was born near Missoula, Montana.
“I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last,” she said when she was elected in 1916.
NEBRASKA: Deb Fischer
Deb Fischer was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is the senior senator from Nebraska, having been the first woman elected to a full term to represent Nebraska in 2012.
NEVADA: Catherine Cortez Masto
Catherine Cortez Masto was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was attorney general of Nevada from 2007 to 2015. She then became the first woman to represent Nevada and the first-ever Latina elected to the US Senate in 2016. She spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and had been considered as a potential running mate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Kelly Ayotte
Kelly Ayotte was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. She was the first woman to serve as attorney general of New Hampshire. She was then elected to the US Senate in 2010 and served one term.
She made headlines in 2016 when she withdrew her support for Donald Trump after the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, saying, “I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
NEW JERSEY: Mary Teresa Norton
Mary Teresa Norton was the first female Democrat elected to Congress and the first woman to represent New Jersey. She served in the House of Representatives from 1925 to 1951 and earned the nickname “Battling Mary.” She was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
NEW MEXICO: Michelle Lujan Grisham
Michelle Lujan Grisham was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico. She is the first Democratic Latina in US history to serve as governor. Before becoming governor of New Mexico in 2018, she served in the US House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018.
NEW YORK: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, New York. She became a household name when she defeated incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018, who hadn’t had a primary challenger since 2004, and became the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress. Her historic campaign was featured in the Netflix documentary “Knock Down The House.”
NORTH CAROLINA: Alma Adams
Adams is also known for wearing stylish hats – she owns over 1,100.
NORTH DAKOTA: Brynhild Haugland
Born in Ward County, North Dakota, Brynhild Haugland spent 52 years in the North Dakota House of Representatives, making her the longest-serving incumbent state legislator in the US.
OHIO: Lori Lightfoot
OKLAHOMA: Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate and became a prominent liberal figure as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008. Despite early momentum in her 2020 presidential campaign, she bowed out of the race in March and endorsed Joe Biden.
OREGON: Patricia Schroeder
Patricia Schroeder was born in Portland, Oregon. She was the first woman to represent Colorado in Congress when she was elected in 1972. Her legislative successes include the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Schroeder became known for her sharp wit. She coined the term “Teflon President” to describe Ronald Reagan, and when asked how she could be both a mother of young children and a congresswoman, she said, “I have a brain and a uterus and I use both.”
PENNSYLVANIA: Madeleine Dean
Madeleine Dean was elected to the US House of Representatives in 2018 – one of four Democratic women elected from Pennsylvania that year who replaced an all-male Congressional delegation. She was born in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
RHODE ISLAND: Martha McSally
Martha McSally was the first female fighter pilot in the US Air Force to fly in combat and the first woman to command a combat aviation squadron. She is currently serving as a US Senator for Arizona, having been appointed to John McCain’s Senate seat. She was born in Warwick, Rhode Island.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina. She was the first female governor of South Carolina and served as US ambassador to the United Nations under President Trump.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Kristi Noem
“It is a distinct honour to serve as our state’s first woman governor, first and foremost because of the message it sends to our state’s girls and young women, but really boys and young men as well,” Noem said at her inauguration, according to the Argus Leader.
TENNESSEE: Hattie Wyatt Caraway
Hattie Wyatt Caraway became the first woman ever elected to the Senate in 1932 (she had been appointed to the position in 1931 after her husband died, then won a special election to retain it). She was also the first woman to chair a Senate committee and the first woman to preside over the Senate. She was born on a farm near Bakerville, Tennessee.
TEXAS: Katie Hill
Katie Hill was born in Abilene, Texas. She rose to prominence when her campaign to represent California’s 25th Congressional district flipped a Republican seat in 2019. She became the first bisexual person elected to Congress from the state.
She resigned a few months after taking office after she admitted having an “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign staffer.
UTAH: Paula Hawkins
Paula Hawkins was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. A US senator representing Florida, she was best known for passing the 1982 Missing Children’s Act.
VERMONT: Consuelo Bailey
Vermont is the only state that has never sent a woman to Congress, but Vermont women have still made political history. Consuelo Bailey was elected as the first female lieutenant governor in the US in 1954. She was also the first woman to serve as Vermont’s speaker of the House and the first woman to practice law in front of the US Supreme Court. She was born in Fairfield, Vermont.
VIRGINIA: Danica Roem
Danica Roem is the first openly transgender lawmaker in the US. She was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017, winning against an opponent who called himself “Virginia’s chief homophobe.” She also became the first trans politician to win reelection in 2019. Roem was born in Manassas, Virginia.
WASHINGTON: Patty Murray
Patty Murray was born in Bothell, Washington. She is the first female senator to represent the state and is the sixth most senior member of the Senate.
WEST VIRGINIA: Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Sylvia Mathews Burwell served as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, from 2014 until the end of his second term. She was born in Hinton, West Virginia.
WISCONSIN: Tammy Baldwin
Tammy Baldwin was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She was elected to the US Senate in 2012, becoming the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the Senate and the first-ever openly gay senator in US history.
WYOMING: Anne Gorsuch Burford
Anne Gorsuch Burford was born in Casper, Wyoming. She was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1975 and served two terms. In 1981, she became the first female administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, though her tenure there was controversial. Her son, Neil Gorsuch, is now a US Supreme Court Justice.
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