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A record number of women are currently serving in Congress
How do you feel about the number of women serving in Congress?
By Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- More women are serving in Congress in 2021 than at any point in U.S. history, and the number of female lawmakers in the 117th Congress is more than double the number who were serving two decades ago.
- The first woman elected to Congress was Rep. Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), who served from 1917 to 1919 and later returned from 1941 to 1943, and since then 393 other women have served in either the House or Senate. The first female senator was Rebecca Latimer Fulton (D-GA), who was appointed and served for one day after the death of Thomas Watson in 1922, while the first woman to win a Senate election was Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR) in 1932.
- There are 123 female representatives and non-voting delegates currently serving in the House, and they comprise 28% of the chamber in the ongoing 117th Congress. The Senate began the year with 26 female senators, although that number declined by two when Kamala Harris (D-CA) became the first female vice president and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) lost a runoff election. This chart from USAFacts shows the number of women who have served in Congress since Rankin became the first in 1917:
- The longest-serving female member of Congress in history is Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who served 10 years in the House followed by 30 years in the Senate before her retirement in 2017.
- The longest-serving female House member is Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), who has served in the House since 1983 and will surpass Mikulski’s length of service if she wins reelection and remains in office into 2023.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has served in the Senate since 1992 and will overtake Mikulski’s record for the longest-tenured female senator if she wins re-election to another term in 2022.
- Since Rankin (R-MT) became the first female member of Congress, every state but Vermont has sent a woman to Congress, and 32 states have had a woman serve as a senator. This USAFacts chart shows whether a state has elected women to Congress, the Senate, the House, or neither:
(Photo Credit: U.S. House of Representatives by Phi Nguyen / Public Domain)
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