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Historical Data

Women Elected to Party Leadership Positions, 1949–Present

Twenty-four women in congressional history have been elected by their peers into the Democratic and Republican Party leadership—18 in the House and six in the Senate. 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 Member Name Caucus/Conference Position
8181st WoodhouseChase Going Woodhouse Democratic Caucus Secretary
8383rd KellyEdna Flannery Kelly Democratic Caucus Secretary
8484th KellyEdna Flannery Kelly Democratic Caucus Secretary
8686th SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
8787th SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
8888th KellyEdna Flannery Kelly 1 Democratic Caucus Secretary
8888th SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
8989th SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
9090th SmithMargaret Chase Smith Republican Conference Chair
9090th SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
9191st SmithMargaret Chase Smith Republican Conference Chair
9191st SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
9292nd SmithMargaret Chase Smith Republican Conference Chair
9292nd SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
9393rd SullivanLeonor K. Sullivan Democratic Caucus Secretary
9494th MinkPatsy T. Mink Democratic Caucus Secretary
9595th ChisholmShirley Anita Chisholm Democratic Caucus Secretary
9696th ChisholmShirley Anita Chisholm Democratic Caucus Secretary
9797th FerraroGeraldine Anne Ferraro Democratic Caucus Secretary
9898th FerraroGeraldine Anne Ferraro Democratic Caucus Secretary
9999th MartinLynn Martin Republican Conference Vice Chair
9999th OakarMary Rose Oakar Democratic Caucus Secretary
100100th MartinLynn Martin Republican Conference Vice Chair
100100th OakarMary Rose Oakar Democratic Caucus Secretary
104104th KennellyBarbara B. Kennelly Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
104104th MikulskiBarbara Ann Mikulski Democratic Caucus Secretary
104104th MolinariSusan Molinari Republican Conference Vice Chair
104104th VucanovichBarbara F. Vucanovich Republican Conference Secretary
105105th DunnJennifer Dunn Republican Conference Secretary
105105th DunnJennifer Dunn Republican Conference Vice Chair
105105th KennellyBarbara B. Kennelly Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
105105th MikulskiBarbara Ann Mikulski Democratic Caucus Secretary
105105th MolinariSusan Molinari Republican Conference Vice Chair
105105th SnoweOlympia Jean Snowe Republican Conference Secretary
106106th FowlerTillie Kidd Fowler Republican Conference Vice Chair
106106th MikulskiBarbara Ann Mikulski Democratic Caucus Secretary
106106th PryceDeborah D. Pryce Republican Conference Secretary
106106th SnoweOlympia Jean Snowe Republican Conference Secretary
107107th CubinBarbara L. Cubin Republican Conference Secretary
107107th HutchisonKathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison Republican Conference Vice Chair
107107th MikulskiBarbara Ann Mikulski Democratic Caucus Secretary
107107th PelosiNancy Pelosi Democratic Caucus Whip
107107th PryceDeborah D. Pryce Republican Conference Vice Chair
108108th HutchisonKathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison Republican Conference Vice Chair
108108th MikulskiBarbara Ann Mikulski Democratic Caucus Secretary
108108th PelosiNancy Pelosi Democratic Caucus Leader
108108th PryceDeborah D. Pryce Republican Conference Chair
109109th HutchisonKathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison Republican Conference Vice Chair
109109th PelosiNancy Pelosi Democratic Caucus Leader
109109th PryceDeborah D. Pryce Republican Conference Chair
109109th StabenowDeborah A. Stabenow Democratic Caucus Secretary
110110th GrangerKay Granger Republican Conference Vice Chair
110110th HutchisonKathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison Republican Conference Policy Committee Chairwoman
110110th MurrayPatty Murray Democratic Caucus Secretary
110110th PelosiNancy Pelosi U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House
111111th McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris Rodgers Republican Conference Vice Chair
111111th PelosiNancy Pelosi U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House

Footnotes

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