Women Elected to Party Leadership Positions, 1949–Present

More than three dozen women in congressional history have been elected by their peers into the Democratic and Republican Party leadership. The first was Connecticut Representative Chase Going Woodhouse, who served a single term as Secretary of the Democratic Caucus in the 81st Congress (1949–1951). Illinois Representative Lynn Martin became the first Republican woman elected to a House leadership position when she won the vice chair post in the Republican Conference in the 99th–100th Congresses (1985–1989). The first woman elected to a Senate leadership position was Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who chaired the Senate Republican Conference in the 90th—92nd Congresses (1967–1973). California Representative Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in congressional history—having served as House Democratic Whip and House Democratic Leader, prior to being elected Speaker of the House in 2007.

Congress Name Caucus/Conference Position
81st (1949–1951)
81st (1949–1951) WOODHOUSE, Chase Going Democratic Caucus Secretary
83rd (1953–1955)
83rd (1953–1955) KELLY, Edna Flannery Democratic Caucus Secretary
84th (1955–1957)
84th (1955–1957) KELLY, Edna Flannery Democratic Caucus Secretary
86th (1959–1961)
86th (1959–1961) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
87th (1961–1963)
87th (1961–1963) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
88th (1963–1965)
88th (1963–1965) KELLY, Edna Flannery 1 Democratic Caucus Secretary
88th (1963–1965) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
89th (1965–1967)
89th (1965–1967) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
90th (1967–1969)
90th (1967–1969) SMITH, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
90th (1967–1969) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
91st (1969–1971)
91st (1969–1971) SMITH, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
91st (1969–1971) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
92nd (1971–1973)
92nd (1971–1973) SMITH, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
92nd (1971–1973) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
93rd (1973–1975)
93rd (1973–1975) SULLIVAN, Leonor Kretzer Democratic Caucus Secretary
94th (1975–1977)
94th (1975–1977) MINK, Patsy Takemoto Democratic Caucus Secretary
95th (1977–1979)
95th (1977–1979) CHISHOLM, Shirley Anita Democratic Caucus Secretary
96th (1979–1981)
96th (1979–1981) CHISHOLM, Shirley Anita Democratic Caucus Secretary
97th (1981–1983)
97th (1981–1983) FERRARO, Geraldine Anne Democratic Caucus Secretary
98th (1983–1985)
98th (1983–1985) FERRARO, Geraldine Anne Democratic Caucus Secretary
99th (1985–1987)
99th (1985–1987) MARTIN, Lynn Morley Republican Conference Vice Chair
99th (1985–1987) OAKAR, Mary Rose Democratic Caucus Secretary
100th (1987–1989)
100th (1987–1989) MARTIN, Lynn Morley Republican Conference Vice Chair
100th (1987–1989) OAKAR, Mary Rose Democratic Caucus Secretary
104th (1995–1997)
104th (1995–1997) KENNELLY, Barbara Bailey Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) MIKULSKI, Barbara Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
104th (1995–1997) MOLINARI, Susan Republican Conference Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) VUCANOVICH, Barbara Farrell Republican Conference Secretary
105th (1997–1999)
105th (1997–1999) DUNN, Jennifer Blackburn Republican Conference Vice Chair
105th (1997–1999) DUNN, Jennifer Blackburn Republican Conference Secretary
105th (1997–1999) KENNELLY, Barbara Bailey Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
105th (1997–1999) MIKULSKI, Barbara Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
105th (1997–1999) MOLINARI, Susan Republican Conference Vice Chair
105th (1997–1999) SNOWE, Olympia Jean Senate Republican Conference Secretary
106th (1999–2001)
106th (1999–2001) FOWLER, Tillie Kidd Republican Conference Vice Chair
106th (1999–2001) MIKULSKI, Barbara Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
106th (1999–2001) PRYCE, Deborah D. Republican Conference Secretary
106th (1999–2001) SNOWE, Olympia Jean Senate Republican Conference Secretary
106th (1999–2001) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
107th (2001–2003)
107th (2001–2003) CUBIN, Barbara L. Republican Conference Secretary
107th (2001–2003) HUTCHISON, Kathryn Ann Bailey (Kay) Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair
107th (2001–2003) MIKULSKI, Barbara Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
107th (2001–2003) PELOSI, Nancy Democratic Caucus Whip
107th (2001–2003) PRYCE, Deborah D. Republican Conference Vice Chair
107th (2001–2003) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
108th (2003–2005)
108th (2003–2005) HUTCHISON, Kathryn Ann Bailey (Kay) Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair
108th (2003–2005) MIKULSKI, Barbara Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
108th (2003–2005) PELOSI, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
108th (2003–2005) PRYCE, Deborah D. Republican Conference Chair
108th (2003–2005) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
109th (2005–2007)
109th (2005–2007) HUTCHISON, Kathryn Ann Bailey (Kay) Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair
109th (2005–2007) PELOSI, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
109th (2005–2007) PRYCE, Deborah D. Republican Conference Chair
109th (2005–2007) STABENOW, Deborah Ann Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
109th (2005–2007) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
110th (2007–2009)
110th (2007–2009) GRANGER, Kay Republican Conference Vice Chair
110th (2007–2009) HUTCHISON, Kathryn Ann Bailey (Kay) Senate Republican Conference Policy Committee Chairwoman
110th (2007–2009) MURRAY, Patty Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
110th (2007–2009) PELOSI, Nancy U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House
110th (2007–2009) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
111th (2009–2011)
111th (2009–2011) MCMORRIS RODGERS, Cathy Republican Conference Vice Chair
111th (2009–2011) MURKOWSKI, Lisa Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair
111th (2009–2011) MURRAY, Patty Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
111th (2009–2011) PELOSI, Nancy U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House
112th (2011–2013)
112th (2011–2013) DEGETTE, Diana Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
112th (2011–2013) MCMORRIS RODGERS, Cathy Republican Conference Vice Chair
112th (2011–2013) MURRAY, Patty Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
112th (2011–2013) PELOSI, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
112th (2011–2013) SCHAKOWSKY, Janice D. Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
112th (2011–2013) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Debbie Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
112th (2011–2013) WATERS, Maxine Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
113th (2013–2015)
113th (2013–2015) DEGETTE, Diana Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
113th (2013–2015) FOXX, Virginia Ann Republican Conference Secretary
113th (2013–2015) JENKINS, Lynn Republican Conference Vice Chair
113th (2013–2015) MCMORRIS RODGERS, Cathy Republican Conference Chair
113th (2013–2015) MURRAY, Patty Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary
113th (2013–2015) PELOSI, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
113th (2013–2015) SCHAKOWSKY, Janice D. Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
113th (2013–2015) SEWELL, Terri Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip
113th (2013–2015) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Debbie Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip

Footnotes

1Kelly and Sullivan shared the Secretary post during the 88th Congress, with Kelly serving in the second session.