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Women in the United States Senate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-Georgia), the first female member of the United States Senate, who served for a single day in 1922.
Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-Georgia), the first female member of the United States Senate, who served for a single day in 1922.

This article covers the history of women in the United States Senate and various milestones achieved by female senators. It includes a list of all women who have served in the Senate, a list of current female senators, and a list of states represented by women in the Senate. The first female U.S. senator, Rebecca Latimer Felton, represented Georgia for a single day in 1922, and the first woman elected to the Senate, Hattie Caraway, was elected from Arkansas in 1932. Fifty-eight women have served in the upper house of the United States Congress since its establishment in 1789. As of January 20, 2021, there are 24 women (16 Democrats and 8 Republicans) serving.


By the 111th United States Congress (2009–2011), the number of women senators had increased to 17, including 4 Republicans and 13 Democrats
By the 111th United States Congress (2009–2011), the number of women senators had increased to 17, including 4 Republicans and 13 Democrats

For its first 130 years in existence, the Senate's membership was entirely male. Until 1920, few women ran for the Senate. Until the 1990s, very few were elected. This paucity of women was due to many factors, including the lack of women's suffrage in many states until ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, women's limited access to higher education until the mid-1900s, public perceptions of gender roles, and barriers to women's advancement such as sex discrimination.

The first woman in the U.S. Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton, who served representing Georgia for only one day in 1922. Hattie Caraway became the first woman to win election to the Senate, representing Arkansas, in 1932. Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate; she first served in the House, and began serving in the Senate in 1949. Margaret Chase Smith won her 1960 race for Senate in the nation's first ever race pitting two women (she and Lucia Cormier) against each other for a Senate seat. Elaine Edwards was the first Catholic woman in the Senate, having been appointed in 1972 by her husband, the Governor of Louisiana, when she was her state's First Lady, and retired from Congress after three months. Muriel Humphrey Brown was the first and only Second Lady to serve in the United States Senate. After her husband, Hubert Humphrey, was defeated in the 1968 presidential election, he won back his old Senate seat, representing Minnesota. Following his unexpected death in office, Brown was appointed by the Governor of Minnesota in 1978 to fill her late husband's Senate seat. She served for less than one year, and did not seek election.

In 1978, Nancy Kassebaum became the first woman ever elected to a full term in the Senate, representing Kansas, without her husband having previously served in Congress.[n 1] Since 1978, there has always been at least one woman in the Senate. The first woman to be elected to the Senate without any family connections was Paula Hawkins (R-FL), elected in 1980. She was also the first and to date only female member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints elected to the United States Senate. There were still few women in the Senate near the end of the 20th century, long after women began to make up a significant portion of the membership of the House. The trend of few women in the Senate began to change in the wake of the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, and the subsequent election of the 103rd United States Congress in 1992, which was dubbed the "Year of the Woman."[1] In addition to Barbara Mikulski, who was reelected that year (1992), four women were elected to the Senate, all Democrats. They were Patty Murray of Washington, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both of California. Carol Moseley Braun, who was African-American, was the first woman of color in the Senate. She was also the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator, winning the 1992 Democratic primary election over Alan Dixon. Later in 1992, Dianne Feinstein was the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator from a different party when she defeated John Seymour in a special election. Feinstein entered the Senate the same year as the first female Jewish senator.[2][3][4]

Bathroom facilities for women in the Senate on the Senate Chamber level were first provided in 1992.[5] Women were not allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993.[6][7] In 1993, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Carol Moseley Braun wore pants onto the floor in defiance of the rule, and female support staff followed soon after, with the rule being amended later that year by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Martha Pope to allow women to wear pants on the floor so long as they also wore a jacket.[6][7]

The first time two female senators from the same state served concurrently was beginning in 1993; Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-CA) were both elected in 1992, with Feinstein taking office that same year (as the result of a special election) and Boxer taking office in 1993; Boxer served until 2016, when she retired, and Feinstein was joined by Kamala Harris. In June 1993, Kay Bailey Hutchison won a special election in Texas, and joined Kassebaum as a fellow female Republican senator. These additions significantly diminished the popular perception of the Senate as an exclusive "boys' club." Since 1992, there has been at least one new woman elected to the Senate every two years, with the exception of the 2004 cycle (Lisa Murkowski was elected for the first time in 2004, but had been appointed to the seat since 2002). Since 2004, at least two new women have been elected to the Senate every two years, with the exceptions of 2010, when Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire was the only new woman elected to the Senate, and 2020, when Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming was the lone newly elected female senator.

Olympia Snowe of Maine arrived in the Senate in 1995, having previously served in the US House of Representatives and both houses of the Maine state legislature. She and later Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming are the only women to have served in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of the federal legislature. In 2000, Stabenow and Maria Cantwell became the first women to defeat incumbent elected senators in a general election, unseating Senators Spencer Abraham and Slade Gorton respectively.[n 2] Hillary Clinton is the first and only First Lady to run for or win a Senate seat. Clinton joined the Senate in 2001, becoming the first female senator from New York, and served until 2009, when she resigned to become the 67th United States Secretary of State, under President Barack Obama. She was replaced by Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been reelected three times and was herself a candidate for president in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.

In 2008, Kay Hagan became the first woman to unseat a female incumbent, Elizabeth Dole. Upon the opening of the 112th United States Congress in 2011, New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen was joined by newly elected Republican Kelly Ayotte, making up the first Senate delegation of two women belonging to different parties.

Eight Democratic women senators appear at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver. It has become a tradition at Democratic conventions for incumbent women senators to appear on opening night.
Eight Democratic women senators appear at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver. It has become a tradition at Democratic conventions for incumbent women senators to appear on opening night.

In 2011, Barbara Mikulski became the longest-serving female senator in history.[8] As of 2020, she remains the longest-serving female senator,[9] having served for 30 years.[10]

In 2012, there was a second "Year of the Woman," with the election of five women and the re-election of six women. This beat the record of four new female senators from 1992 and set the record of five new women and eleven female senators in one Senate class. The five new women were Democrats Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska. Hirono was the first Asian-American woman and first Buddhist in the Senate, and Baldwin was the first openly gay person in the Senate.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first former female senator and First Lady to win a major party's nomination for President of the United States. Despite winning a plurality of the popular vote, she ultimately lost her bid to President Donald Trump.

Joni Ernst became the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate when she joined in 2015. Catherine Cortez Masto, elected in 2016 was the first Latina senator.[11] In a June 2016 primary election, as a result of California's recent establishment of the top-two primary, Attorney General of California Kamala Harris and U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez became the first women of the same party to advance to a Senate general election. In November 2016, Harris became the first woman to defeat a woman of the same party in a Senate general election. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both of New Hampshire, hold the distinction of being the first and second women elected both governor and senator of a state; both served as Governor of New Hampshire and served together in the Senate starting in 2017.

In 2017, Tammy Duckworth became the first female double amputee in the Senate. On April 9, 2018, Duckworth gave birth to her daughter Maile Pearl, becoming the first incumbent senator to give birth.[12] Shortly afterward, rules were changed so that a senator has the right to bring a child under one year old on the Senate floor and breastfeed them during votes.[13] The day after those rules were changed, Maile became the first baby on the Senate floor when Duckworth brought her.[13][14]

In 2018 Kyrsten Sinema defeated Martha McSally to become Arizona's first female senator, and the first openly bisexual senator from any state. Two weeks later, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that he would appoint McSally to Arizona's other Senate seat, which was becoming vacant with the resignation of Jon Kyl. Sinema and McSally have been the only concurrently serving female senators to have previously faced off against each other in a Senate election. McSally exited the Senate in late 2020 after losing that year's special election to Mark Kelly, a Democrat.

Fifty-eight women have served in the United States Senate since its establishment in 1789.[15] Cumulatively, 36 female U.S. senators have been Democrats, while 22 have been Republicans. As of 2019, no female U.S. senator has ever died in office, won election to the House after her Senate term, resigned from a state governorship for the purpose of a Senate appointment by her successor, also won election as an independent or to represent more than one state in non-consecutive elections, served both seats of a state at different times, switched parties, or represented a third party in her career.

Some female U.S. senators have later run for U.S. president or vice president—see list of female United States presidential and vice-presidential candidates. In 2020, Kamala Harris became the first female senator, current or past, to win her vice-presidential election bid.

Election, selection, and family

Before 2001, a plurality of women joined the U.S. Senate through appointment following the death or resignation of a husband or father who previously held the seat. An example is Muriel Humphrey (D-MN), the widow of former senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey; she was appointed to fill his seat until a special election was held (in which she did not run). However, with the election of three women in 2000, the balance shifted; more women have now entered service as a senator by winning elections than by being appointed.[citation needed]

Recent examples of selection include Jean Carnahan and Lisa Murkowski. In 2000, Jean Carnahan (D-MO) was appointed to fill the Senate seat won by her recently deceased husband, Mel Carnahan. Carnahan—even though dead—defeated the incumbent senator, John Ashcroft. Carnahan's widow was named to fill his seat by Missouri Governor Roger Wilson until a special election was held. However, she lost the subsequent 2002 election to fill out the rest of the six-year term. In 2002, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was appointed by her father Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski, who had resigned from the Senate to become governor, to serve the remaining two years of his term. Lisa Murkowski defeated former governor Tony Knowles in her retention bid in 2004.

Two recent members of the Senate brought with them a combination of name recognition resulting from the political careers of their famous husbands and their own substantial experience in public affairs. The first, former senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), is married to former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole and served as Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of Labor under President George H. W. Bush; she later ran a losing bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. The other, former senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), wife of former President Bill Clinton, was First Lady of the United States and First Lady of Arkansas before taking her seat in 2000. She too ran an unsuccessful campaign for her party's presidential nomination in 2008; she resigned in 2009 to become the secretary of state for the eventual victor of that election, Barack Obama. In 2016, she ran a successful campaign for her party's presidential nomination, eventually losing in the general election to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Another famous name is Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS), the daughter of former Kansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Alf Landon. After retiring from the Senate, she married former senator Howard Baker (R-TN). Kassebaum has the distinction of being the first female elected senator who did not succeed her husband in Congress (Margaret Chase Smith was only elected to the Senate after succeeding her husband to his House seat).

Among the women elected or appointed in Senate history, by stature, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is the shortest, at 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m), whereas Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is the tallest, at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m).[16][17]

List of female U.S. senators in history

Portrait Name
State Term start Term end Length of
service (days)
Entered by Left for Party
Sen. Felton
Rebecca Felton
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia November 21, 1922 November 22, 1922 1
(1 day)
Appointment by Thomas W. Hardwick Appointment ended Democratic
Sen. Caraway
Hattie Caraway
Arkansas Arkansas December 9, 1931 January 3, 1945 4,774
(13 years, 25 days)
Appointment by Harvey Parnell Lost renomination Democratic
Sen. Long
Rose Long
Louisiana Louisiana January 31, 1936 January 3, 1937 338
(338 days)
Appointment by James Noe Appointment ended Democratic
Sen. Graves
Dixie Graves
Alabama Alabama August 20, 1937 January 10, 1938 143
(143 days)
Appointment by Bibb Graves Appointment ended Democratic
Sen. Pyle
Gladys Pyle
South Dakota South Dakota November 9, 1938 January 3, 1939 55
(55 days)
Special election Retired Republican
Sen. Bushfield
Vera C. Bushfield
South Dakota South Dakota October 6, 1948 December 26, 1948 81
(81 days)
Appointment by George Mickelson Appointment ended Republican
Sen. Smith
Margaret Chase Smith
Maine Maine January 3, 1949 January 3, 1973 8,766
(24 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Republican
Sen. Bowring
Eva Bowring
Nebraska Nebraska April 16, 1954 November 7, 1954 205
(205 days)
Appointment by Robert B. Crosby Appointment ended Republican
Sen. Abel
Hazel Abel
Nebraska Nebraska November 8, 1954 December 31, 1954 53
(53 days)
Special election Retired and resigned early[n 3] Republican
Sen. Neuberger
Maurine Neuberger
Oregon Oregon November 9, 1960 January 3, 1967 2,246
(6 years, 55 days)
Special election Retired Democratic
Sen. Edwards
Elaine Edwards
Louisiana Louisiana August 1, 1972 November 13, 1972 104
(104 days)
Appointment by Edwin Edwards Appointment ended Democratic
Sen. Humphrey
Muriel Humphrey
Minnesota Minnesota January 25, 1978 November 7, 1978 286
(286 days)
Appointment by Rudy Perpich Appointment ended Democratic (DFL)
Sen. Allen
Maryon Allen
Alabama Alabama June 8, 1978 November 7, 1978 152
(152 days)
Appointment by George Wallace Lost nomination to finish term Democratic
Sen. Kassebaum
Nancy Kassebaum
(born 1932)
Kansas Kansas December 23, 1978 January 3, 1997 6,586
(18 years, 11 days)
Election[n 4] Retired Republican
Sen. Hawkins
Paula Hawkins
Florida Florida January 1, 1981 January 3, 1987 2,193
(6 years, 2 days)
Election[n 4] Lost reelection Republican
Sen. Mikulski
Barbara Mikulski
(born 1936)
Maryland Maryland January 3, 1987 January 3, 2017 10,959
(30 years, 0 days)
Election Retired Democratic
Sen. Burdick
Jocelyn Burdick
North Dakota North Dakota September 16, 1992 December 14, 1992 89
(89 days)
Appointment by George Sinner Appointment ended Democratic-NPL
Sen. Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
(born 1933)
California California November 10, 1992 present 10,561
(28 years, 334 days)
Special election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Boxer
Barbara Boxer
(born 1940)
California California January 3, 1993 January 3, 2017 8,767
(24 years, 0 days)
Election Retired Democratic
Sen. Moseley Braun
Carol Moseley-Braun
(born 1947)
Illinois Illinois January 3, 1993 January 3, 1999 2,191
(6 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Democratic
Sen. Murray
Patty Murray
(born 1950)
Washington (state) Washington January 3, 1993 present 10,507
(28 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Hutchison
Kay Hutchison
(born 1943)
Texas Texas June 14, 1993 January 3, 2013 7,143
(19 years, 203 days)
Special election Retired Republican
Sen. Snowe
Olympia Snowe
(born 1947)
Maine Maine January 3, 1995 January 3, 2013 6,576
(18 years, 0 days)
Election Retired Republican
Sen. Frahm
Sheila Frahm
(born 1945)
Kansas Kansas June 11, 1996 November 6, 1996 148
(148 days)
Appointment by Bill Graves Lost nomination to finish term Republican
Sen. Collins
Susan Collins
(born 1952)
Maine Maine January 3, 1997 present 9,046
(24 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican
Sen. Landrieu
Mary Landrieu
(born 1955)
Louisiana Louisiana January 3, 1997 January 3, 2015 6,575
(18 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Democratic
Sen. Lincoln
Blanche Lincoln
(born 1960)
Arkansas Arkansas January 3, 1999 January 3, 2011 4,383
(12 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Democratic
Sen. Cantwell
Maria Cantwell
(born 1958)
Washington (state) Washington January 3, 2001 present 7,585
(20 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Carnahan
Jean Carnahan
(born 1933)
Missouri Missouri January 3, 2001 November 25, 2002 691
(1 year, 326 days)
Appointment by Roger B. Wilson Lost election to finish term Democratic
Sen. Clinton
Hillary Clinton
(born 1947)
New York (state) New York January 3, 2001 January 21, 2009 2,940
(8 years, 18 days)
Election Resigned to become United States Secretary of State Democratic
Sen. Stabenow
Debbie Stabenow
(born 1950)
Michigan Michigan January 3, 2001 present 7,585
(20 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Murkowski
Lisa Murkowski
(born 1957)
Alaska Alaska December 20, 2002 present 6,869
(18 years, 294 days)
Appointment by Frank Murkowski Incumbent Republican
Sen. Dole
Elizabeth Dole
(born 1936)
North Carolina North Carolina January 3, 2003 January 3, 2009 2,192
(6 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection[n 5] Republican
Sen. Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar
(born 1960)
Minnesota Minnesota January 3, 2007 present 5,394
(14 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic (DFL)
Sen. McCaskill
Claire McCaskill
(born 1953)
Missouri Missouri January 3, 2007 January 3, 2019 4,383
(12 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Democratic
Sen. Shaheen
Jeanne Shaheen
(born 1947)
New Hampshire New Hampshire January 3, 2009 present 4,663
(12 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Hagan
Kay Hagan
North Carolina North Carolina January 3, 2009 January 3, 2015 2,191
(6 years, 0 days)
Election[n 5] Lost reelection Democratic
Sen. Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
(born 1966)
New York (state) New York January 26, 2009 present 4,640
(12 years, 257 days)
Appointment by David Paterson Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Ayotte
Kelly Ayotte
(born 1968)
New Hampshire New Hampshire January 3, 2011 January 3, 2017 2,192
(6 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Republican
Sen. Baldwin
Tammy Baldwin
(born 1962)
Wisconsin Wisconsin January 3, 2013 present 3,202
(8 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Fischer
Deb Fischer
(born 1951)
Nebraska Nebraska January 3, 2013 present 3,202
(8 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican
Sen. Heitkamp
Heidi Heitkamp
(born 1955)
North Dakota North Dakota January 3, 2013 January 3, 2019 2,191
(6 years, 0 days)
Election Lost reelection Democratic-NPL
Sen. Hirano
Mazie Hirono
(born 1947)
Hawaii Hawaii January 3, 2013 present 3,202
(8 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Warren
Elizabeth Warren
(born 1949)
Massachusetts Massachusetts January 3, 2013 present 3,202
(8 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Ernst
Joni Ernst
(born 1970)
Iowa Iowa January 3, 2015 present 2,472
(6 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican
Sen. Moore Capito
Shelley Moore Capito
(born 1953)
West Virginia West Virginia January 3, 2015 present 2,472
(6 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican
Sen. Cortez Masto
Catherine Cortez Masto
(born 1964)
Nevada Nevada January 3, 2017 present 1,741
(4 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth
(born 1968)
Illinois Illinois January 3, 2017 present 1,741
(4 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Harris
Kamala Harris
(born 1964)
California California January 3, 2017 January 18, 2021 1,476
(4 years, 15 days)
Election Resigned to become Vice President of the United States Democratic
Sen. Hassan
Maggie Hassan
(born 1958)
New Hampshire New Hampshire January 3, 2017 present 1,741
(4 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Smith
Tina Smith
(born 1958)
Minnesota Minnesota January 3, 2018 present 1,376
(3 years, 280 days)
Appointment by Mark Dayton Incumbent Democratic (DFL)
Sen. Hyde-Smith
Cindy Hyde-Smith
(born 1959)
Mississippi Mississippi April 9, 2018 present 1,280
(3 years, 184 days)
Appointment by Phil Bryant Incumbent Republican
Sen. Blackburn
Marsha Blackburn
(born 1952)
Tennessee Tennessee January 3, 2019 present 1,011
(2 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican
Sen. Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema
(born 1976)
Arizona Arizona January 3, 2019 present 1,011
(2 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. McSally
Martha McSally
(born 1966)
Arizona Arizona January 3, 2019 December 2, 2020 699
(1 year, 334 days)
Appointment by Doug Ducey Lost election to finish term Republican
Sen. Rosen
Jacky Rosen
(born 1957)
Nevada Nevada January 3, 2019 present 1,011
(2 years, 280 days)
Election Incumbent Democratic
Sen. Loeffler
Kelly Loeffler
(born 1970)
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia January 6, 2020 January 20, 2021 380
(1 year, 14 days)
Appointment by Brian Kemp Lost election to finish term Republican
Sen. Lummis
Cynthia Lummis
(born 1954)
Wyoming Wyoming January 3, 2021 present 280
(280 days)
Election Incumbent Republican

Currently serving women U.S. senators

At the start of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2021, there were 26 women serving in the United States Senate. This is the highest number of women to have served concurrently in the Senate in U.S. history. Seventeen of the 26 were Democrats, while nine were Republicans.[18] Since January 20, 2021, there have been 24 women serving in the United States Senate; sixteen are Democrats, and eight are Republicans.[19]

In January 2018, after the appointment of Democrat Tina Smith of Minnesota to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Al Franken, and in April 2018 after the appointment of Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Thad Cochran, the number reached 23. In January 2019, four new women senators (Blackburn, McSally, Rosen, and Sinema) were seated although two women senators (Heitkamp and McCaskill) lost reelection bids, so the number of female senators increased to 25, with 17 being Democrats and 8 being Republicans. In January 2020, Kelly Loeffler was appointed to the Senate from Georgia, increasing the number of women in the Senate to 26, the highest proportion of women serving as U.S. senators in history.

Martha McSally lost an election to finish John McCain's unexpired term on November 3, 2020, and left the Congress on December 2, which reduced the number of female senators to 25. On January 3, 2021, Cynthia Lummis, the first woman senator from Wyoming, began her term, so the number of female senators reached 26 once again. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States; she resigned her Senate seat on January 18 in anticipation of the scheduled commencement of her term as Vice President (and thus President of the Senate) on January 20, which reduced the number of female senators to 25. In addition, Loeffler lost the January 5 special election runoff for the remainder of the term to which she had been appointed, and she left office also on January 20, which further reduced the number of women serving in the Senate to 24.

As of January 2021, four states (Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Washington) are represented by two female U.S. senators. Eleven incumbent women in the Senate are former U.S. representatives: Senators Stabenow, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Baldwin, Hirono, Moore Capito, Duckworth, Sinema, Rosen, Blackburn, and Lummis.

Class State Name Party Prior experience First took
Born Age when elected
3 Alaska Lisa Murkowski Republican Alaska House of Representatives 2002 1957 45
1 Arizona Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Arizona House of Representatives, Arizona Senate, U.S. House of Representatives 2019 1976 42
1 California Dianne Feinstein Democratic President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Mayor of San Francisco, gubernatorial nominee 1992 1933 59
1 Hawaii Mazie Hirono Democratic Hawaii House of Representatives, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, gubernatorial nominee, U.S. House of Representatives 2013 1947 66
3 Illinois Tammy Duckworth Democratic U.S. House of Representatives 2017 1968 49
2 Iowa Joni Ernst Republican Montgomery County Auditor, Iowa Senate 2015 1970 45
2 Maine Susan Collins Republican Massachusetts Deputy Treasurer, gubernatorial nominee 1997 1952 45
1 Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren Democratic Special Advisor to the President for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 2013 1949 64
1 Michigan Debbie Stabenow Democratic Michigan House of Representatives, Michigan Senate, U.S. House of Representatives 2001 1950 51
1 Minnesota Amy Klobuchar Democratic-Farmer-Labor Hennepin County Attorney 2007 1960 47
2 Minnesota Tina Smith Democratic-Farmer-Labor Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota 2018 1958 60
2 Mississippi Cindy Hyde-Smith Republican Mississippi Senate, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce 2018 1959 59
1 Nebraska Deb Fischer Republican Nebraska Legislature 2013 1951 62
3 Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto Democratic Nevada Attorney General 2017 1964 53
1 Nevada Jacky Rosen Democratic U.S. House of Representatives 2019 1957 61
2 New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Democratic New Hampshire Senate, Governor of New Hampshire 2009 1947 62
3 New Hampshire Maggie Hassan Democratic New Hampshire Senate, Governor of New Hampshire 2017 1958 59
1 New York Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic U.S. House of Representatives 2009 1966 43
1 Tennessee Marsha Blackburn Republican Tennessee Senate, U.S. House of Representatives 2019 1952 66
3 Washington Patty Murray Democratic Washington Senate 1993 1950 43
1 Washington Maria Cantwell Democratic Washington House of Representatives, U.S. House of Representatives 2001 1958 43
2 West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito Republican West Virginia House of Delegates, U.S. House of Representatives 2015 1953 62
1 Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly, U.S. House of Representatives 2013 1962 51
2 Wyoming Cynthia Lummis Republican Wyoming House of Representatives, Wyoming Senate, Wyoming Treasurer, U.S. House of Representatives 2021 1954 66

List of states represented by women

Thirty-three states have been represented by female senators. As of January 2021, 20 states are represented by female senators.

State Current Previous Total First woman senator Years represented by women senators
Alabama 0 2 2 Dixie Graves 1937–1938, 1978
Alaska 1 0 1 Lisa Murkowski 2002–present
Arizona 1 1 2 Kyrsten Sinema &
Martha McSally
Arkansas 0 2 2 Hattie Caraway 1931–1945, 1999–2011
California 1 2 3 Dianne Feinstein 1992–present
Colorado 0 0 0
Connecticut 0 0 0
Delaware 0 0 0
Florida 0 1 1 Paula Hawkins 1981–1987
Georgia 0 2 2 Rebecca Felton 1922, 2020–2021
Hawaii 1 0 1 Mazie Hirono 2013–present
Idaho 0 0 0
Illinois 1 1 2 Carol Moseley-Braun 1993–1999, 2017–present
Indiana 0 0 0
Iowa 1 0 1 Joni Ernst 2015–present
Kansas 0 2 2 Nancy Kassebaum 1978–1997
Kentucky 0 0 0
Louisiana 0 3 3 Rose Long 1936–1937, 1972, 1997–2015
Maine 1 2 3 Margaret Chase Smith 1949–1973, 1995–present
Maryland 0 1 1 Barbara Mikulski 1987–2017
Massachusetts 1 0 1 Elizabeth Warren 2013–present
Michigan 1 0 1 Debbie Stabenow 2001–present
Minnesota 2 1 3 Muriel Humphrey 1978, 2007–present
Mississippi 1 0 1 Cindy Hyde-Smith 2018–present
Missouri 0 2 2 Jean Carnahan 2001–2002, 2007–2019
Montana 0 0 0
Nebraska 1 2 3 Eva Bowring 1954, 2013–present
Nevada 2 0 2 Catherine Cortez Masto 2017–present
New Hampshire 2 1 3 Jeanne Shaheen 2009–present
New Jersey 0 0 0
New Mexico 0 0 0
New York 1 1 2 Hillary Clinton 2001–present
North Carolina 0 2 2 Elizabeth Dole 2003–2015
North Dakota 0 2 2 Jocelyn Burdick 1992, 2013–2019
Ohio 0 0 0
Oklahoma 0 0 0
Oregon 0 1 1 Maurine Neuberger 1960–1967
Pennsylvania 0 0 0
Rhode Island 0 0 0
South Carolina 0 0 0
South Dakota 0 2 2 Gladys Pyle 1938–1939, 1948
Tennessee 1 0 1 Marsha Blackburn 2019–present
Texas 0 1 1 Kay Hutchison 1993–2013
Utah 0 0 0
Vermont 0 0 0
Virginia 0 0 0
Washington 2 0 2 Patty Murray 1993–present
West Virginia 1 0 1 Shelley Moore Capito 2015–present
Wisconsin 1 0 1 Tammy Baldwin 2013–present
Wyoming 1 0 1 Cynthia Lummis 2021–present



Starting Total Graph
March 4, 1789 0  
November 21, 1922 1 *
November 23, 1922 0  
December 9, 1931 1 *
January 31, 1936 2 **
January 3, 1937 1 *
August 20, 1937 2 **
January 11, 1938 1 *
November 9, 1938 2 **
January 3, 1939 1 *
January 3, 1945 0  
October 6, 1948 1 *
December 27, 1948 0  
January 3, 1949 1 *
April 16, 1954 2 **
January 1, 1955 1 *
November 9, 1960 2 **
January 3, 1967 1 *
August 1, 1972 2 **
November 14, 1972 1 *
January 3, 1973 0  
January 25, 1978 1 *
June 8, 1978 2 **
November 8, 1978 0  
December 23, 1978 1 *
January 1, 1981 2 **
September 16, 1992 3 ***
November 10, 1992 4 ****
December 15, 1992 3 ***
January 3, 1993 6 ******
June 14, 1993 7 *******
January 3, 1995 8 ********
June 11, 1996 9 *********
November 7, 1996 8 ********
January 3, 1997 9 *********
January 3, 2001 13 *************
November 26, 2002 12 ************
December 20, 2002 13 *************
January 3, 2003 14 **************
January 3, 2007 16 ****************
January 3, 2009 17 *****************
January 22, 2009 16 ****************
January 26, 2009 17 *****************
January 3, 2013 20 ********************
January 3, 2017 21 *********************
January 3, 2018 22 **********************
April 9, 2018 23 ***********************
January 3, 2019 25 *************************
January 6, 2020 26 **************************
December 2, 2020 25 *************************
January 3, 2021 26 **************************
January 18, 2021 25 *************************
January 20, 2021 24 ************************

Time series

Cynthia LummisKelly LoefflerKyrsten SinemaJacky RosenMartha McSallyMarsha BlackburnCindy Hyde-SmithTina SmithMaggie HassanKamala HarrisTammy DuckworthCatherine Cortez MastoShelley Moore CapitoJoni ErnstElizabeth WarrenMazie HironoHeidi HeitkampDeb FischerTammy BaldwinKelly AyotteKirsten GillibrandJeanne ShaheenKay HaganClaire McCaskillAmy KlobucharElizabeth DoleLisa MurkowskiDebbie StabenowHillary ClintonJean CarnahanMaria CantwellBlanche LincolnMary LandrieuSusan CollinsSheila FrahmOlympia SnoweKay Bailey HutchisonPatty MurrayCarol Moseley-BraunBarbara BoxerDianne FeinsteinJocelyn BurdickBarbara MikulskiPaula Hawkins (politician)Nancy KassebaumMaryon AllenMuriel HumphreyElaine S. EdwardsMaurine NeubergerHazel AbelEva BowringMargaret Chase SmithVera C. BushfieldGladys PyleDixie Bibb GravesRose McConnell LongHattie CarawayRebecca Latimer Felton

Concurrently serving women from the same state

On January 3, 2019, Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally became the first women from the same state to start serving in the Senate on the same date.

State Start date End date Duration Senior senator Junior senator
California January 3, 1993 January 18, 2021 10,242 days
(28 years, 15 days)
Dianne Feinstein (D) Barbara Boxer (D)
(January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2017),
8,766 days (24 years, 0 days)
Kamala Harris (D)
(January 3, 2017 – January 18, 2021),
1,476 days (4 years, 15 days)
Kansas June 11, 1996 November 6, 1996 148 days Nancy Kassebaum (R) Sheila Frahm (R)
Maine January 3, 1997 January 3, 2013 5,844 days
(16 years, 0 days)
Olympia Snowe (R) Susan Collins (R)
Washington January 3, 2001 Present 7,585 days
(20 years, 280 days)
Patty Murray (D) Maria Cantwell (D)
New Hampshire January 3, 2011 Present 3,933 days
(10 years, 280 days)
Jeanne Shaheen (D) Kelly Ayotte (R)
(January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017),
2,192 days (6 years, 0 days)
Maggie Hassan (D)
(January 3, 2017–present),
1,741 days (4 years, 280 days)
Minnesota January 3, 2018 Present 1,376 days
(3 years, 280 days)
Amy Klobuchar (D) Tina Smith (D)
Nevada January 3, 2019 Present 1011 days
(2 years, 280 days)
Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Jacky Rosen (D)
Arizona January 3, 2019 December 2, 2020 699 days
(1 year, 334 days)
Kyrsten Sinema (D) Martha McSally (R)

See also


  1. ^ Of the female senators who preceded Kassebaum: Rebecca Latimer Felton, Rose McConnell Long, Dixie Bibb Graves, Vera C. Bushfield, Eva Bowring, Elaine S. Edwards, Muriel Humphrey, and Maryon Pittman Allen were all appointed and were never elected; Gladys Pyle (R-SD) and Hazel Abel (R-NE), were elected, but not to full terms (i.e., to complete terms where the previous senator had died or resigned, not to new six-year terms); Hattie Caraway and Maurine Brown Neuberger were both elected to full six-year terms, but their husbands had held the seat previously. Margaret Chase Smith's (R-ME) husband never served in the Senate, but he did serve in the House. When he died, Margaret won the ensuing election. Of the appointed senators, Long, Bushfield, Humphrey, and Allen were all appointed to fill out part of the terms of their deceased husbands, while Graves and Edwards were appointed by their husbands, the governor of their states at the time. However, Kassebaum's father was a former governor of Kansas, which means that the first woman to be elected to the Senate without any family connections was Paula Hawkins, elected in 1980 to represent Florida.
  2. ^ Bob Krueger and John F. Seymour, defeated by Kay Bailey Hutchison and Dianne Feinstein respectively, were appointed to the Senate by the governors of their states.
  3. ^ Abel resigned 3 days before the end of her term, a common practice to give her successor seniority advantage.
  4. ^ a b Predecessor resigned early to give successor seniority advantage, so the senator was appointed for the few days prior to the commencement of the elected term
  5. ^ a b When Kay Hagan defeated Elizabeth Dole, it was the first time in history a woman candidate defeated an incumbent woman.


  1. ^ "Year of the Woman". U.S. Senate.
  2. ^ "Jewesses in politics represent!". Jewish Women's Archive. November 5, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  3. ^ "Dianne Feinstein". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "Barbara Boxer". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  5. ^ Plaskow, Judith (July 8, 2008). "Embodiment, Elimination, and the Role of Toilets in Struggles for Social Justice". Cross Currents. 58 (1): 51–64. doi:10.1111/j.1939-3881.2008.00004.x.
  6. ^ a b Robin Givhan (January 21, 2004). "Moseley Braun: Lady in red". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Cooper, Kent (June 9, 2005). "The Long and Short of Capitol Style : Roll Call Special Features 50th Anniversary". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Franke-Ruta, Garance (January 5, 2011). "Barbara Mikulski Becomes Longest-Serving Female Senator". The Atlantic.
  9. ^ Gaines, Danielle E. (December 17, 2020). "Capitol Meeting Room Named in Honor of Maryland's First Female U.S. Senator". Maryland Matters.
  10. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (December 12, 2016). "Passing the torch: Mikulski says goodbye to the Senate". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "U.S. Senate: Senators, 1789 to present". Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  12. ^ "Tammy Duckworth Becomes First U.S. Senator To Give Birth While In Office". Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Serfaty, Sunlen (April 18, 2018). "Babies now allowed on Senate floor after rule change". CNN.
  14. ^ "A duckling onesie and a blazer: The Senate floor sees its first baby, but many traditions stand". The Washington Post. April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "Women in the U.S. Senate 1922–2015" (PDF). Center for American Women and Politics. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Kanin, Zach (November 17, 2007). "Does Height Matter in Politics?". HuffPost.
  17. ^ "Risk, hoops memories entice new Dream owner Loeffler". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2020. A skinny 5-foot-11, her nickname on the court was NBC — 'Newborn Calf.'
  18. ^ Spencer, Erin (November 5, 2020). "Record Number Of Women To Serve In The 117th U.S. Congress". Forbes. Retrieved January 26, 2021. For the Senate, the Forbes article counted 25 women and eight Republicans because the runoff election in Georgia involving Kelly Loeffler was not yet held at the time of writing.
  19. ^ "New Senators Warnock, Padilla, Ossoff Add Diversity to Chamber". Bloomberg Law. January 21, 2021.

External links

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