Women in the 117th Congress

The 117th Congress will be sworn in on Sunday, January 3rd, and the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, shares data on women in the incoming congressional class as of January 3rd. The numbers below will change for the following reasons:

  • Senator Kamala Harris (D) will be sworn in as vice president on January 20th.
  • Representative Marcia Fudge (D) has been selected to serve in the Cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Representative Deb Haaland (D) has been selected to serve in the Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior.
  • Senator Kelly Loeffler (R) is in a runoff election on January 5th.
  • The House race in NY-22, featuring Claudia Tenney (R), is undecided.
  • Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) will be provisionally seated while the House race in IA-02 is under review by the U.S. House Committee on Administration. Miller-Meeks’ opponent – Rita Hart (D) – has petitioned for the review. Miller-Meeks is included in the counts below.

The ramifications of these changes are noted in more detail in section two.

Counts below do not include 4 (2D, 2R) women who will serve as non-voting delegates in the 117th Congress.

Women in Congress on January 3rd

  • 144 women will serve in Congress as of January 3rd, making up 26.9% of all members. This surpasses the previous record of 127 (23.7%), set in 2019.
    • At least 118 (27.1%) women will serve in the U.S. House, beating the previous record of 102 (23.4%), set in 2019.
    • 26 (26%) women will serve in the U.S. Senate, tying the record, which was set in 2020.
  • 106 Democratic women will serve in Congress, tying the record set in 2019.
    • 89 Democratic women will serve in the House, tying the record set in 2019.
    • 17 Democratic women will serve in the Senate, tying the record set in 2018.
  • 38 Republican women will serve in Congress, breaking the previous record of 30, set in 2006.
    • 29 Republican women will serve in the House, breaking the previous record of 25, set in 2006.
    • 9 Republican women will serve in the Senate, tying the record set in 2020.
  • 52 women of color will serve in the 117th Congress, surpassing the previous record of 48, set in 2019. Of these, 47 are Democrats and 5 are Republicans.
    • 48 women of color will serve in the House, beating the previous record of 44. Of these, 43 are Democrats and 5 are Republicans.
    • 4 women of color will serve in the Senate, tying the record set in 2019. All are Democrats.
  • The freshman class of House legislators in the 117th Congress includes 27 women. The record for non-incumbent women House legislators is 36, set in 2019.
    • The freshman class of House legislators will include 9 Democratic women, far short of the record of 35 set in 2019.
    • There will be 18 new Republican women in the House, surpassing their previous record of 9, set in 2010.
    • There will be 8 women of color in the freshman House class, including 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The record for non-incumbent women of color in the House is 14, set in 2019.

Changes

  • Kamala Harris will leave the Senate to be sworn in as vice president on January 20, 2021. This will reduce the number of women in Congress overall, the Senate, Democratic women in Congress, Democratic women in the Senate, women of color in Congress, women of color in the Senate, Democratic women of color in Congress, and Democratic women of color in the Senate. California Governor Gavin Newsom has selected California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve the remainder of Harris’s term, so there will be no Black women in the U.S. Senate by February 2021.
  • Marcia Fudge, if confirmed, will leave the House to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This will reduce the number of women in Congress overall, the House, Democratic women in Congress, Democratic women in the House, women of color in Congress overall, women of color in the House, Democratic women of color in Congress, and Democratic women of color in the House. Her departure from the House will trigger a special election, as opposed to an immediate appointment, to fill her seat.
  • Deb Haaland, if confirmed, will leave the House to serve as Secretary of the Interior. This will reduce the number of women in Congress overall, the House, Democratic women in Congress, Democratic women in the House, women of color in Congress overall, women of color in the House, Democratic women of color in Congress, and Democratic women of color in the House. Her departure from the House will trigger a special election, as opposed to an immediate appointment, to fill her seat.
  • Senator Kelly Loeffler is in a runoff election on January 5, 2021. Because Loeffler was appointed to fill a term that originally ended in 2022, Loeffler will hold her seat until the special election is decided. She will be sworn in with the 117th Congress on January 3rd, ahead of her runoff election, and is included in the numbers above. If she loses the special election, that will reduce the number of women in Congress overall, the Senate, Republican women in Congress, and Republican women in the Senate.
  • The House race in NY-22 is undecided. If Claudia Tenney (R) prevails, that will increase the number of women in Congress overall, the House, Republican women in Congress, Republican women in the House, non-incumbent women in the House, and non-incumbent Republican women in the House.
  • The House race in IA-02 is under review by the U.S. House Committee on Administration. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) will be sworn in provisionally on January 3, 2021. Should the
  • review yield a change in the result to favor her opponent – Rita Hart (D), this will change the number of Republican and Democratic women in Congress overall, in the House, and among non-incumbent women in the House.


For the latest data on women in the 2020 elections, with interactive data visualizations, see CAWP’s Election 2020 Results Tracker.

Contact

Daniel De Simone: ddesimone@eagleton.rugters.edu; 760.703.0948