New Jersey Facts

Women in New Jersey Government 2022

A current breakdown of women in New Jersey government, including details on cabinet members, women in legislative leadership, women committee chairs, and county and municipal officeholders.

New Jersey Women Officeholders – Current and Historic

Current and historical information on women in Congress, statewide elective executive, and state legislative office from New Jersey.

New Jersey County Report Cards

Milestones for Women in New Jersey Politics

Timeline of important firsts in New Jersey's political history. 

1921

Margaret Laird (R) and Jennie Van Ness (R) became the first two women elected to the New Jersey Assembly.

1925

Rebecca Estell Bourgeois Winston (D) of Estell Manor became the first woman to serve as mayor in New Jersey. 

Mary Teresa Norton (D) became the first woman to represent New Jersey in Congress, serving in the US House of Representatives from 1925 to 1951. To date, no woman has represented New Jersey in the US Senate. 

1957

Madaline A. (Worthy) Williams (D) became the first Black woman elected to the New Jersey Assembly. 

1965

Marion West Higgins (R) became the first woman speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, and was the third woman in the nation to be the speaker of a state house.  

Mildred Barry Hughes (D) became the first woman elected to the New Jersey Senate. 

1968

Wynona Lipman (D-Essex County) became the first Black woman elected to a county freeholder board in New Jersey. 

1972

Wynona Lipman (D) became the first Black woman to serve in the New Jersey Senate. 

1977

Ruth Carpenter (R) of Hunterdon County became the first woman elected sheriff in New Jersey. 

1981

Jane Burgio (R) became the first woman appointed secretary of state in New Jersey. 

1982

Marie Garibaldi became the first woman to serve on New Jersey's Supreme Court.

1983

Nidia Davila-Colon (D-Hudson County) became the first Latina elected to a county freeholder board. 

1994

Deborah Poritz became New Jersey’s first female attorney general.

Christine Todd Whitman (R) became the first woman (and only woman to date) to serve as New Jersey’s governor. 

1995

Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D) became the first Latina to serve in the New Jersey Assembly. 

1996

Deborah Poritz became the first woman to serve as chief justice on the New Jersey State Supreme Court. 

2008

M. Teresa Ruiz (D) became the first Latina to serve in the New Jersey Senate. 

2010

Kim Guadagno (R) took office as New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor. 

Barbara Buono (D) became the first woman to be elected majority leader of the New Jersey State Senate.

2011

Mildred Scott (D-Middlesex County) became the first Black woman elected county sheriff in New Jersey, as well as the first woman elected sheriff in Middlesex County. 

Sheila Y. Oliver (D) became the first woman of color (and second woman) to serve as speaker of the New Jersey Assembly. She was the second Black women in the nation to serve as speaker of a lower house. 

2015

Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) became the first Black woman and the first woman of color to represent New Jersey in Congress. 

2016

Susan Shin-Angulo (D-Camden County) became the first Asian American woman elected to a county freeholder board in New Jersey. 

2018

Sheila Oliver (D) became the first woman of color to serve as New Jersey's lieutenant governor and the first woman of color to serve in a statewide office in New Jersey. 

2021

Sadaf Jaffer (D-16), Shama Haider (D-37), and Ellen Park (D-37) are elected to the New Jersey Assembly, becoming the first Asian or Pacific Islander women elected to the legislature.