Famous Firsts in Politics by American Women

1872 Victoria Claflin Woodhull
1st U.S. Female Presidential Candidate
Victoria Claflin Woodhull becomes the first woman presidential candidate in the United States when she is nominated by the National Radical Reformers.
1887 Susanna Medora Salter
1st Female Mayor
Susanna Medora Salter becomes the first woman elected mayor of an American town, in Argonia, Kansas.
1916 Jeannette Rankin
1st Female Congresswoman
Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
1925 Nellie Tayloe Ross
1st Female State Governor
Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman to serve as governor of a state, in Wyoming. In the fall of 1924 she was elected to succeed her deceased husband, William Bradford Ross. (Miriam Amanda "Ma" Ferguson is inaugurated governor of Texas days later.)
1932 Hattie Wyatt Caraway
1st Female Senator
Hattie Wyatt Caraway, of Arkansas, becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
1933 Frances Perkins
1st Female on a Presidential Cabinet
Frances Perkins is appointed secretary of labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, making her the first woman member of a presidential cabinet.
1960 Oveta Culp Hobby
1st Female Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare
Oveta Culp Hobby becomes the first woman to serve as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. She is also the first director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), and the first woman to receive the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal.
1964 Margaret Chase Smith
1st Female Presidential Nominee (by a major party)
Margaret Chase Smith, of Maine, becomes the first woman nominated for president of the United States by a major political party, at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco.
1969 Shirley Chisholm
1st African-American Female Congresswoman
Shirley Chisholm, of New York, becomes the first African-American woman in Congress. Her motto is, "Unbought and unbossed." She served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years.
1981 Sandra Day O'Connor
1st Female Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor is appointed by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, making her its first woman justice.
1990 Dr. Antonia Novello
1st Female U.S. Surgeon General
Dr. Antonia Novello is sworn in as U.S. Surgeon General, becoming the first woman (and first Hispanic) to hold that job.
1991 Sharon Pratt Dixon
1st African-American Female Mayor (of a major city)
On January 2, Sharon Pratt Dixon is sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC.
1992 Carol Moseley-Braun
1st African-American Female Senator
Carol Moseley-Braun, of Illinois, becomes the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
1993 Janet Reno
1st Female U.S. Attorney General
1997 Madeleine Albright
1st Female U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright is sworn in as U.S. secretary of state. She is the first woman in this position as well as the highest-ranking woman in the United States government.
2005 Condoleezza Rice
1st African-American Female Secretary of State