According to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, women only make up 24% of the U.S. Senate, 27% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 30% statewide elected executives, 31% of state legislative seats, and 0% of U.S. Presidents. Despite the fact that they make up half the population, the disparities amongst men and women in politics are still something we must continue working to fix. However, it is important to note that these numbers are greater than ever before in U.S. history. In light of recent events, there are many notable women who have paved the way in U.S. politics and continue to encourage young women everywhere to follow their dreams.
Here are a few notable female leaders in U.S. politics that have and are continuing to make monumental changes to our society further inspiring young women everywhere.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg– Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, also known as the Notorious R.B.G, was an American lawyer and activist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme court of the United States. She was the second woman to ever serve on the supreme court following her colleague Sandra Day O’Connor. Ginsberg studied at Cornell University in her undergrad and went on to attend Harvard Law School. Much of her time working in law was centered around fighting for gender equality and women’s rights. She advocated against gender discrimination and fought for women’s right to make decisions regarding their bodies. Despite passing away on September 18, 2020, she leaves a large legacy behind her. Ruth Bader Ginsberg fought for the rights of women all across America.
Photo Credit: Snappy Goat
Sonia Sotomayor– First Hispanic and Latina Member of the U.S. Supreme Court
Sonia Sotomayor also served with Ruth Bader Ginsberg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme court of the United States. She attended Princeton University and then furthered her education at Yale Law School. She is often noted for her advocacy for reforming the criminal justice system and her efforts in race relations as well as fighting against gender and ethnic discrimination. As the first Hispanic and Latina member of the U.S. Supreme court, Sotomayor advocated for the representation of people of color everywhere. From encouraging change at her college University to ruling on important topics such as first amendment rights, abortion rights, and employment discrimination, her efforts have and continue to pave the way for human rights in America.
Photo Credit: Steve Petteway
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez– Youngest Woman Elected into Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known by her initials AOC, is the youngest woman elected into U.S. Congress at just 29 years old. Not only did she made her mark in U.S. politics as the youngest woman elected, but she is also recognized as a very vocal Democratic Socialist. She currently serves as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14thcongressional circuit, beating out 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley. She is recognized for her notable social media presence with 8.9 million Instagram followers and 12.6 million Twitter followers. AOC runs a progressive platform focusing on issues such as Medicare for all, free college tuition, Green New Deal, the abolishment of ICE, LGBTQ+ rights, and more. She utilizes social media to appeal to younger generations and further encourages change within U.S. politics.
Photo Credit: Stale Grut
Kamala Harris– First Female Vice President of the United States
On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history as the first female vice president and highest-ranking female official in the history of the United States. However, not only did she make history as the first female VP, but she is also the first African-American and South Asian to serve in this position as well. She graduated from Howard University and then went on to attend the University of California Law School. She was the Attorney General of California prior to running in the presidential election. Her platform consisted of advocating for things such as healthcare reform, the DREAM act, progressive tax reform, and banning assault weapons amongst many other things. She has paved the way for women everywhere.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Nancy Pelosi– First Woman to become speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Nancy Pelosi is known as the first woman to become the speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She attended Trinity College in Washington D.C. and went on to become a very prominent figure amongst Democratic politicians. She is known for her influence regarding topics such as healthcare reform, social security reform, Immigration rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and more.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Hillary Clinton– First Woman Nominated for President of the United States by a Major Political Party
Hillary Clinton’s extensive background has contributed to her impact on U.S. politics far before she ran in the 2016 presidential election, making her the first woman nominated for President of the United States by a major political party. Clinton attended Wellesley College and then went on to earn a Juris Doctor (also known as Doctor of Law) from Yale Law School. She has been recognized twice by The National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. She has served as First Lady of the United States, first female senator from New York, and U.S. Secretary of State amongst many other notable roles. Despite losing the presidential election in 2016, she continues to influence American politics. She has gone on to write books speaking about her experience over the years.
Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney For Hillary for America
Rashida Tlaib– First Muslim Woman in U.S. Politics along with Ilhan Omar
Rashida Tlaib is currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 13thdistrict. Thus, making her the first person of Palestinian descent in Congress, as well as one of the two first Muslim women elected to U.S. Congress. Tlaib, along with AOC, is one of the first female members of the Democratic Socialists of America to serve in the U.S. Congress as well. She attended Wayne State University and went on to the Western Michigan University Cooley Law school. Her platform consists of issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, drug law reform, immigration, and abortion rights. Having recently assumed office in just 2019, she is definitely one to look out for as she is sure to have an impact on U.S. politics with her notable background and vocal advocacy.
Photo Credit: Franmarie Metzler
Ilhan Omar– First Muslim Woman in U.S. Politics along with Rashida Tlaib
As mentioned above, Ilhan Omar along with Rashida Tlaib is the first Muslim woman to serve in U.S. Congress. Ilhan Omar currently serves as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5thcongressional district. She is also the first Somali American as well as the first naturalized citizen of African descent in U.S. congress. Having been born in Somalia, she immigrated here with her family after securing asylum. Omar attended North Dakota State University. She advocates for issues such as living wages, affordable housing, universal healthcare, and student loan debt forgiveness amongst many other things.
Photo Credit: Tony Webster
These are just a handful of the women currently shaping U.S. politics today. For the first time ever, we are seeing a large increase of women of color running for elected positions. As our society continues to grow and evolve, it’s imperative that our elected officials are an accurate representation of our country as a whole. As we continue to become more and more diverse, it only makes sense that those representing our future serve as a mirror of our society. Shout out to these phenomenal female leaders for paving the way for little girls everywhere.