In the United States, about 51% of our population are women, yet only 19.4% of our members of Congress are women. For International Women’s Day, I created a map that shows what the percentage of each state’s representation in Congress are women. Explore the map to see how many of your state’s congressional members are women.
As an American, I am humbled by the women whose work has made the current gender diversity ratio possible, including the women who serve today and the women who have stood up before them. The first woman to serve in Congress was Representative Jeanette Rankin of Montana. She was elected in 1917, three years before the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. Rankin is still the only woman from Montana ever to be elected to Congress. The history gets a little complicated, but a woman was not elected to serve in the Senate - without previously filling an unexpired congressional seat - until 1978. Nancy Pelosi was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, the highest level of government a woman has ever held.
But looking at the map, you can see that thirteen states don’t have female representation at the congressional level and two states have never elected a woman to Congress. In fact, the United States has seen 115 sessions of Congress, with approximately 12,399 people serving, and only 2.5% (318) of these representatives have been female.
A lot has been done to get us to where we are today, but we still have a long way to go and that starts with seeing the entire picture.