A Century of Women in Congress

On November 7, 1916, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. To commemorate the centennial of her November 1916 election and April 1917 swearing-in as a U.S. Representative, the Office of the House Historian conducted oral histories with former women Members, staff, and family. Drawn from decades of congressional experience, the interviews in this ongoing project convey a larger narrative about the transformative role of women in American politics and their contributions to Congress during the past century. Learn more about this project.



After her historic election in 1916, Jeannette Rankin predicted that more women would follow her to Congress. In this collection of interviews, women Members from across the country give credence to Rankin’s bold words, recalling the many ways they made a lasting impact on the institution.



Tucked behind the scenes, House staff perform a myriad of functions to keep Congress running smoothly. Over the years, women have made great strides working for Members, committees, leadership, and House Officers, gaining equal access to staff positions historically held by men.



From campaigning, to office work, to attending district events, family members have contributed to the careers of many Representatives. Interviews with family provide a unique and personal perspective of the experience of women Members of Congress.

Common Themes

Common Themes

Gathering the diverse stories of women Members and staff highlights shared experiences. Explore stories of women campaigning for office, building relationships in Congress, participating in the legislative process, and overcoming obstacles.

About the Program

Learn more about the oral history program, editing practices, and rights and reproductions.

List of Interviewees

Search a list of individual interviews, and access audio and video clips, transcripts, interview abstracts, and related images and artifacts.

Educational Resources

Utilize lesson plans and teaching tips to incorporate information from oral history interviews in the classroom.

More About This Project

This project is part of a larger commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first woman to serve in Congress.