The 118th Congress, sworn in earlier this year, broke the record for the number of women serving in the legislature. As of March 2023, here are the numbers:
- 25 women senators (1 more than 117th Congress)
- 125 women in the House (2 more than 117th Congress)
- 150 total
Compare that to 147 total women in the 117th Congress and 132 in the 116th Congress, and there’s a clear upward trend.
Below is a complete list of all female legislators, including four non-voting delegates.
Continue reading for a deeper look into the female members of Congress.
Women in Congress by Party
Of the 25 female senators, 15 are Democrats, nine are Republicans, and one is registered as an Independent. The one Independent is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a former Democrat who switched party affiliations late last year.
Of the 125 female members in the U.S. House of Representatives, 92 are Democrats and 33 are Republicans.
Newly Elected Women in Congress in 2023
Twenty-four women were newly elected in 2022—16 Democrats and eight Republicans. Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) was the only newly elected woman in the Senate (and the first female senator from Alabama). Jennifer McClellan won in a special election in late February and will push the number of women in the House to 125 once she is sworn in. She is Virginia’s first Black woman in Congress.
Female Leadership in the 118th Congress
There are some notable women in leadership positions in the 118th Congress, including names we expect to see mentioned in relation to future presidential elections, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Joni Ernst, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Other women in powerful positions include House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, House Republican Conference Chairman Elise Stefanik, and President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (the first woman to hold the position).
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi is noticeably absent from this list as the spot of House Minority Leader is now occupied by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Pelosi stepped down from her leadership position and Jeffries ran unopposed.
States With No Female Representation
Despite the overall rise in female lawmakers, there are nine states with no women representation in Washington:
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Vermont was on the list until this year when Rep. Becca Balint became the first-ever woman elected to Congress from the Green Mountain State.
History of Women in Congress
Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to hold federal office when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. She remains the only woman ever elected to Congress from Montana.
In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA) became the first woman appointed to the Senate but only served one day as it was largely a symbolic gesture.
Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway (D-AR) became the first woman elected to serve a full term in the Senate. She was initially appointed after her husband died in 1931 and went on to win reelection in 1932.
Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, became the first Black woman to serve in Congress in 1968. She served until 1982.
Other female senators also filled the role of their husbands, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the U.S. elected a woman to a full term in the Senate without having a husband who previously served. Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS) served from 1978 to 1997.
Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) set many firsts during her time in Congress, including becoming the first female Whip and Speaker of the House.
Notably, no woman has served as Senate Majority Leader.