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An Introduction

Since 1917, when Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in Congress, 246 more women have served as U.S. Representatives or Senators. This Web site, based on the book Women in Congress, 1917–2006, contains biographical profiles of former women Members of Congress, links to information about current women Members, essays on the institutional and national events that shaped successive generations of Congresswomen, and images of each woman Member, including rare photos.

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Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts presides over the House Chamber in this image from 1926. Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts presides over the House Chamber in this image from 1926. Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Madam Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

Read about the historic career of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California—the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.

Historical Essays

Read essays that provide historical context about four distinct generations of women in Congress: “Women Pioneers on Capitol Hill” (1917–1934); “Congresswomen in an Age of Crises” (1935–1954); “Traditionalists, Feminists, and the Changing Face of Women in Congress” (1955–1976); and “Recent Trends Among Women in Congress” (1977 to present). The essays discuss institutional developments, legislative agendas, social changes, and national historical events that shaped each generation of Congresswomen.

Member Profiles

Jeanette Rankin

Read biographical profiles of individual former women Representatives, Delegates, and Senators that focus on their congressional careers. These profiles also contain information for further readings and references to individual Members’ manuscript collections. For current Members, find quick links to their Biographical Directory entries and official Web sites.

Educational Resources


This page features materials designed to help teachers and students use the information presented in Women in Congress in their classrooms. It includes lesson plans on the women pioneers who served on Capitol Hill from 1917 to 2006 as well as activities on photographs, objects, and quotations. Also included are a collection of fast facts on women’s congressional service, a link to an interactive map, and a list of online educational resources. The additional resources are intended to guide students and teachers into the primary sources provided online by the Office of the Clerk and related agencies.


View an array of historical artifacts from the House Collection related to the history of women in Congress. Items include political campaign buttons, historic images, gallery passes, collectable cards, and magazine covers.

Historical Data

Historical Data

Ninety-one of the 247 women who have served in Congress are current Members—75 in the House and 16 in the Senate. In total there have been 212 women Representatives, 28 Senators, and seven women who have served in both chambers. In this section, users can find tables and appendices of historical data about women in Congress, including: women in Congress by Congress from 1917 forward; women who have chaired committees; women who have held party leadership positions; women of color in Congress; and women who have marriage and familial connections in Congress.