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Women of the Senate

Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), ca.1987

On November 21, 1922, Rebecca Felton of Georgia took the oath of office, becoming the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. That milestone event opened the door for other women to follow. To date, 60 women have served in the Senate.

Long before Felton took office, however, women had already left their mark on Senate history. In fact, women have always been a part of the Senate’s story, influencing its members and guiding its actions as petitioners, activists, correspondents, spouses, witnesses, lobbyists, speakers, and most importantly, as staff and then as senators. As Felton took office in 1922, a growing number of pioneering women had assumed top staff positions on committees and in senators’ offices. Today, women hold many of the most important and influential posts in the Senate.

To commemorate the centennial of the Woman Suffrage Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, and to acknowledge the service of the first woman senator in 1922, we celebrate the important and evolving role of the Women of the Senate.

Female Senators of the 108th Congress, 2003–2005
"Highest Paid Woman in Government Employ,"Popular Mechanics, August 1911
Carol Moseley Braun, 1993-1999