Historical Data

Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas reviews vocabulary with women Members of Congress before a spelling bee at the National Press Club./tiles/non-collection/W/WICdata_2007_111_002.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas reviews vocabulary with women Members of Congress before a spelling bee at the National Press Club.
The following lists were developed to answer reference questions often posed by Member offices, researchers, and the general public. Elected in 1916, Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana was the first woman to serve in Congress. One hundred and forty-seven of the 393 women who have served in Congress are current Members—123 in the House and 24 in the Senate. In total, there have been 352 women Members of the House of Representatives and 58 Senators. Seventeen women have served in both chambers.

  • There have been 16 Asian-Pacific-American (APA) women who have served in Congress. The first APA woman elected to Congress, Patsy Mink of Hawaii, won election to the House in 1964.
  • There have been 50 African-American women who have served in Congress. The first African-American woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm of New York, won election to the House in 1968.  
  • There have been 23 Hispanic-American women who have served in Congress. The first Hispanic-American woman elected to Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, won election to the House in 1989.
  • The first woman of color elected to the Senate was Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1992.
  • The first woman of color elected to both chambers was Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, who was elected to the United States Senate in 2012.