Women Elected to Party Leadership Positions

Twenty-three women in congressional history have been elected by their peers into the Democratic and Republican Party leadership—17 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.

House of Representatives

Congress Member Caucus/Conference Position
81st (1949–1951) Woodhouse, Chase Going Democratic Caucus Secretary
83rd (1953–1955) Kelly, Edna Flannery Democratic Caucus Secretary
84th (1955–1957) Kelly, Edna Flannery Democratic Caucus Secretary
86th (1959–1961) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
87th (1961–1963) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
88th (1963–1965) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
88th (1963–1965) Kelly, Edna Flannery1 Democratic Caucus Secretary
89th (1965–1967) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
90th (1967–1969) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
91st (1969–1971) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
92nd (1971–1973) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
93rd (1973–1975) Sullivan, Leonor K. Democratic Caucus Secretary
94th (1975–1977) Mink, Patsy T. Democratic Caucus Secretary
95th (1977–1979) Chisholm, Shirley Anita Democratic Caucus Secretary
96th (1979–1981) Chisholm, Shirley Anita Democratic Caucus Secretary
97th (1981–1983) Ferraro, Geraldine Anne Democratic Caucus Secretary
98th (1983–1985) Ferraro, Geraldine Anne Democratic Caucus Secretary
99th (1985–1987) Martin, Lynn Republican Conference Vice Chair
99th (1985–1987) Oakar, Mary Rose Democratic Caucus Secretary
100th (1987–1989) Oakar, Mary Rose Democratic Caucus Secretary
100th (1987–1989) Martin, Lynn Republican Conference Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) Molinari, Susan Republican Conference Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) Dunn, Jennifer Republican Conference Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) Dunn, Jennifer Republican Conference Secretary
104th (1995–1997) Kennelly, Barbara B. Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
104th (1995–1997) Vucanovich, Barbara F. Republican Conference Secretary
105th (1997–1999) Molinari, Susan Republican Conference Vice Chair
105th (1997–1999) Kennelly, Barbara B. Democratic Caucus Vice Chair
106th (1999–2001) Fowler, Tillie Kidd Republican Conference Vice Chair
106th (1999–2001) Pryce, Deborah Republican Conference Secretary
107th (2001–2003) Pelosi, Nancy Democratic Caucus Whip
107th (2001–2003) Pryce, Deborah Republican Conference Vice Chair
107th (2001–2003) Cubin, Barbara L. Republican Conference Secretary
108th (2003–2005) Pelosi, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
108th (2003–2005) Pryce, Deborah Republican Conference Chair
109th (2005–2007) Pryce, Deborah Republican Conference Chair
109th (2005–2007) Pelosi, Nancy Democratic Caucus Leader
110th (2007–2009) Pelosi, Nancy U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House
110th (2007–2009) Granger, Kay Republican Conference Vice Chair

Senate

Congress Member Caucus/Conference Position
90th (1967–1969) Smith, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
91st (1969–1971) Smith, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
92nd (1971–1973) Smith, Margaret Chase Republican Conference Chair
104th (1995–1997) Mikulski, Barbara Ann Democratic Caucus Secretary
105th (1997–1999) Mikulski, Barbara Ann Democratic Caucus Secretary
105th (1997–1999) Snowe, Olympia Jean Republican Conference Secretary
106th (1999–2001) Mikulski, Barbara Ann Democratic Caucus Secretary
106th (1999–2001) Snowe, Olympia Jean Republican Conference Secretary
107th (2001–2003) Hutchison, Kathryn Ann Bailey Republican Conference Vice Chair
107th (2001–2003) Mikulski, Barbara Ann Democratic Caucus Secretary
108th (2003–2005) Hutchison, Kathryn Ann Bailey Republican Conference Vice Chair
108th (2003–2005) Mikulski, Barbara Ann Democratic Caucus Secretary
109th (2005–2007) Hutchison, Kathryn Ann Bailey Republican Conference Vice Chair
109th (2005–2007) Stabenow, Deborah A. Democratic Caucus Secretary
110th (2007–2009) Hutchison, Kathryn Ann Bailey Republican Conference Policy Committee Chairwoman
110th (2007–2009) Murray, Patty Democratic Caucus Secretary

Notes

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