This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first woman being sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, was a powerful voice for women’s suffrage. After successfully securing voting rights for women in both Washington State and Montana, Rankin ran for Congress in her home state. She was sworn into the 65th Congress on April 2, 1917, three years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women across the country the right to vote.
Upon her historic election, Rankin famously said: “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.” Rankin’s prophetic statement was proven true four years later when Alice Robertson, a Republican from Oklahoma, was sworn into Congress. These two pioneers forged the path for nearly 100 other Republican women who have been sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, 21 Republican women serve in the House, where we not only represent constituents in our home districts, but also serve as leaders in the Republican Party. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents Eastern Washington State, serves as the House Republican Conference Chair. Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee and Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana chair congressional committees. All Republican women play an important role in advancing our agenda, but these four women play powerful roles in shaping the debate and influencing policy that will improve the lives of the American people.