Women Officeholders by Race and Ethnicity

Our reporting of data on women officeholders by race and ethnicity is guided by our desire to move away from treatment of women as monolithic and challenge the centering of whiteness as a default racial/ethnic category. Providing information on women’s racial/ethnic self-identities offers users of our data the opportunity to see the rich diversity among them and make more detailed assessments about the status of women in elective office.

In both the summary information and pages linked below, we offer current and historic data on  Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black, Latina, Middle Eastern and North African, Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian, and White women officeholders as well as notable firsts. While these racial/ethnic categories are themselves imperfect and subject to change, we adopt these categories provisionally and in alignment with both the U.S. Census and CAWP’s historical race/ethnicity data collection. For more information on CAWP’s historic and current collection of race/ethnicity data, please see our methodological statement. For more information on historical milestones in women’s political representation, please see CAWP’s “Milestones for Women in American Politics.”

In our current reporting, women who self-identify as more than one race/ethnicity are included in each group with which they identify. We strongly caution against adding totals from each racial/ethnic group, as it will double count officeholders. To conduct more detailed calculations, users should refer to CAWP’s Women Elected Officials Database. For those choosing to report an aggregate count of “women of color,” including any women with racial/ethnic identities other than white, please refer to the database search tool by race/ethnicity (and select all but white and unavailable) or contact CAWP staff directly. 

Current Women Officeholders by Race and Ethnicity

These numbers do not include 18 (5D, 13R) women state legislators whose race/ethnicity we could not confirm, as well as 1 (1D) woman state legislator who identifies solely as Chicana.

Asian American/Pacific Islander

Congress
10
(8D, 2R)
U.S. Senate
2
(2D)
U.S. House
8
(6D, 2R)
U.S. Delegate
1
(1R)

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
3
(2D, 1R)
Governor
0
State Legislature
77
(70D, 6R, 1NP)
State Senate
21
(19D, 1R, 1NP)
State House/Assembly
56
(51D, 5R)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
4
(3D, 1R)

Black

U.S. Senate
0
U.S. House
26
(26D)
U.S. Delegate
2
(2D)

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
8
(7D, 1R)
Governors
0
State Legislature
368
(365D, 3R)
State Senate
85
(84D, 1R)
State House/Assembly
283
(281D, 2R)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
7
(7D)

Latina

See full fact sheet on current and historic Latina officeholders

Unlike the U.S. Census, CAWP has included Latina as a primary racial/ethnic category in requests for self-identification. This means that while some officeholders might select white as race and Hispanic for ethnicity when asked as separate questions, they are asked by CAWP to report any race or ethnicity (one or more) with which they identify (options include white and Latina). For more information, see our methodological statement on race and ethnicity.

Congress
15
(11D, 4R)
U.S. Senate
1
(1D)
U.S. House
14
(10D, 4R)
U.S. Delegate
1
(1R)

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
9
(7D, 2R)
State Legislature
153
(139D, 14R)
State Senate
46
(41D, 5R)
State House/Assembly
107
(98D, 9R)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
3
(2D, 1I)

Middle Eastern/North African

U.S. Senate
0
U.S. Delegate
0

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
0
Governors
0
State Legislature
11
(11D)
State Senate
1
(1D)
State House/Assembly
10
(10D)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
0

Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian

U.S. Senate
0
U.S. Delegate
0

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
1
(1D)
Governors
0
State Legislature
32
(28D, 4R)
State Senate
10
(9D, 1R)
State House/Assembly
22
(19D, 3R)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
0

White

Congress
95
(60D, 35R)
U.S. Senate
21
(13D, 8R)
U.S. House
74
(47D, 27R)
U.S. Delegate
0

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Statewide Elective Executive
75
(36D, 37R, 2NP)
Governors
8
(5D, 3R)
State Legislature
1,678
(934D, 723R, 14NP, 5Ind, 2Prg)
State Senate
409
(218D, 177R, 14NP)
State House/Assembly
1,269
(716D, 546R, 5Ind, 2Prg)
Mayors – 100 Most Populous Cities
16
(8D, 5R, 3NP)

Multiracial Alone

These data represent women officeholders who have self-identified as multiracial alone and are thus not included in any other racial/ethnic category.

Statewide Elective Executive
0
Governors
0
State Legislature
2
(2D)
State Senate
0
State House/Assembly
2
(2D)

Notable Firsts

  • 1893: Laura Eisenhuth (D-ND) became the first woman and first white woman to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1893 to 1894. 
  • 1895: Clara Cressingham (R), Carrie C. Holly (R), and Frances Klock (R) became the first three women and the first three white women to serve in state legislative office, all serving in the Colorado House of Representatives. They each served from 1895 to 1896.
  • 1917: Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) became the first woman and the first white woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1917 to 1919 and again from 1941 to 1942.  
  • 1922: Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA) became the first woman and the first white woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. She became appointed to the office, but only served one day in 1922.
  • 1923: Soledad Chacón (D-NM) became the first Latina to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as New Mexico’s Secretary of State from 1923 to 1926. 
  • 1924: Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson (R-MI) became the first Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian to serve in state legislative office, serving in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1924 to 1925.
  • 1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) became the first woman and first white woman serve as governor in the United States, serving as Wyoming’s governor from 1925 to 1927. She became elected to replace her deceased husband.
  • 1928: Minnie Buckingham Harper (D-WV) became the first Black woman to serve in state legislative office. She became appointed to West Virginia House of Delegates in 1928 to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, but she did not seek election to another term.
  • 1931: Fedelina Lucero Gallegos (R-NM) and Porfirria Hidalgo Saiz (D-NM) became the first Latinas to serve in state legislative office, both serving from 1931 to 1932.
  • 1939: Crystal Dreda Bird Fauset (D-PA) became the first Black woman elected to serve in state legislative office, serving in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives from 1939 to 1940.
  • 1963: Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-HI) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve in state legislative office, serving in Hawaii’s state senate from 1963 to 1964.
  • 1965: Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-HI) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1977 and again from 1990 to 2002. 
  • 1969: Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1983. 
  • 1975: March Fong Eu (D-CA) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as California’s Secretary of State from 1975 to 1993. 
  • 1979: Vel R. Phillips (D-WI) became the first Black woman to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as Wisconsin’s Secretary of State from 1979 to 1983. 
  • 1980: Eunice Sato (R-CA) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city, serving as Long Beach, California’s mayor from 1980 to 1982.
  • 1987: Lottie Shackleford (D-AR) became the first Black woman to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city, serving as Little Rock, Arkansas’ mayor from 1987 to 1991.
  • 1989: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) became the Latina to serve in the U.S. Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 2019. 
  • 1991: Sandy Garrett (D-OK) became the first Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian woman to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1991 to 2011.
  • 2000: Heather Fargo (NP-CA) became the first Latina to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city, serving as Sacramento, California’s mayor from 2000 to 2008.
  • 2011: Nikki Haley (R-SC) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve as a U.S. governor, serving as South Carolina’s governor from 2011 to 2017.
  • 2011: Susana Martinez (R-NM) became the first Latina to serve as governor in the United States, serving as New Mexico’s governor from 2011 to 2019.
  • 2013: Mazie Hirono (D-HI) became the first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, serving from 2013 to present. She previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013.
  • 2017: Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) became the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate, serving from 2017 to present.
  • 2018: Valerie Davidson (Ind-AK) became the first Alaska Native woman to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as Alaska’s lieutenant governor from October to December 2018.
  • 2019: Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM) became the first Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian women to serve in the U.S. Congress. They both identify as Native American. Davids has served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2019 to present. Haaland served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2019 to 2021.
  • 2021: Kamala Harris (D) is the first Black and first Asian American/Pacific Islander woman serve in federal executive office, serving as vice president from 2021 to present.