Women in the U.S. Senate 2017

Current U.S. Senate
21
(16D, 5R)
21% of 100 seats
Historic U.S. Senate
50
(33D, 17R)

Counts include current and past women senators.

U.S. Senators by Race and Ethnicity

*Women who self-identify as more than one race/ethnicity are included on CAWP pages for each group with which they identify. We strongly caution against adding totals from each racial/ethnic group should, as it will double count officeholders. 

Of the 21 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate:

  • 3 identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander
  • 1 identifies as Black
  • 1 identifies as Latina
  • 17 identify as white
5

states (CA, LA, ME, NE, NH) have sent three women to the Senate.

California was the first state to send two women Boxer (D) and Feinstein (D) to the Senate simultaneously.

11

states (AL, AR, KS, MN, MO, NC, ND, NH, NY, SD, WA) have been represented twice by women in the Senate.

Since that time, four other states have been represented by two women simultaneously (KS, ME, NH, WA).

13

other states (AK, FL, GA, HI, IA, MA, MD, MI, NV, OR, TX, WI, WV) have sent one woman to the Senate each.

Currently, three states (CA, NH, WA) are represented by two women in the Senate.

  • 1922

    Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA) became the first woman appointed to the Senate, but only served one day.

  • 1932

    Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR), appointed in 1931 to fill a vacancy caused by her husband's death, ran for a full term and became the first woman elected to the Senate.

  • 1948

    Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) became the first woman elected to the Senate without having first been appointed to serve. Smith had first come to Congress when elected to fill her deceased husband's House seat; she went on to be elected to the Senate in her own right.

  • 1978

    Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS) was the first woman to have been elected to the Senate without having previously filled an unexpired Congressional term.

  • 1987

    Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) becomes the first Democratic woman to have been elected to the Senate without having previously filled an unexpired Congressional term.

  • 1992

    Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) became the first woman of color elected to the Senate.

  • 2012

    Mazie Hirono (D-HI), an Asian/Pacific Islander, became the second woman of color to serve in the Senate.

The first woman ever to chair a major Senate committee was Kassebaum, who chaired the Senate's Labor and Human Resources Committee in the 104th Congress. Caraway chaired the Senate Committee on Enrolled Bills during the 73rd-78th Congresses.

How the 50 Women Who Have Served First Entered the Senate

Current U.S. Senators
Name Party Position Year(s) Served State
Tammy Baldwin D U.S. Senator 2013-present Wisconsin
Maria Cantwell D U.S. Senator 2001-present Washington
Shelley Moore Capito R U.S. Senator 2015-present West Virginia
Susan Collins R U.S. Senator 1997-present Maine
Catherine Cortez Masto D U.S. Senator 2017-present Nevada
Tammy Duckworth D U.S. Senator 2017-present Illinois
Joni Ernst R U.S. Senator 2015-present Iowa
Dianne Feinstein D U.S. Senator 1992-present California
Deb Fischer R U.S. Senator 2013-present Nebraska
Kirsten E. Gillibrand D U.S. Senator 2009-present New York
Kamala Harris D U.S. Senator 2017-2021 California
Maggie Hassan D U.S. Senator 2017-present New Hampshire
Heidi Heitkamp D U.S. Senator 2013-2018 North Dakota
Mazie K. Hirono D U.S. Senator 2013-present Hawaii
Amy Klobuchar D/DFL U.S. Senator 2007-present Minnesota
Claire McCaskill D U.S. Senator 2007-2018 Missouri
Lisa Murkowski R U.S. Senator 2002-present Alaska
Patty Murray D U.S. Senator 1993-present Washington
Jeanne Shaheen D U.S. Senator 2009-present New Hampshire
Debbie A. Stabenow D U.S. Senator 2001-present Michigan
Elizabeth A. Warren D U.S. Senator 2013-present Massachusetts