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Currently, our database contains biographical records for 3,750 women, who ran in 5,120 campaigns.

This web site identifies women candidates for elective office in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, giving biographical information for each woman, information about her campaign, party affiliation, photographs,and lists of selected resources. We estimate that women ran in well over 7,000 campaigns by 1920.


Marietta Patrick and Lydia Hall of Massachusetts were elected to their local school board in 1855.


Eleven years later woman-suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton offered her name as a candidate for the U.S. Congress.


Newspaper publisher Victoria Woodhull announced as a presidential candidate.


Belva Lockwood ran a full campaign for the U.S. presidency in 1884 and again in 1888. Beginning in the 1870s, lesser-known women were drawn to politics through the suffrage, temperance, and progressive movements and ran, often in highly contested elections, for a wide variety of political offices.


In 1887 Susanna Salter became mayor of Argonia, Kansas.


Colorado elected the first three women to a state legislature in 1894.


In Utah, Martha Hughes Cannon became the first woman state senator.

20th and 21st Century

In the 20th century, the stories of Woodhull and Lockwood and other women candidates of their era were nearly lost. Even after ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and the integration of women into the electoral process, it continued, and continues, to be a struggle for women to get elected to public office beyond the local level. Many states have yet to elect a woman to serve in Congress, as governor, or as mayors of large cities. For women of color the opportunity to serve in elective office at the national level has come slowly. Patsy Mink, from Hawai'i, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964; and in 2012 Hawai'i elected the first Asian-American woman to the Senate. The first African-American woman representative was not elected to Congress until 1968. The first Hispanic American woman was elected to the House of Representatives only in 1989 and none has served in the Senate. As of 2013 no Native American woman has been elected to Congress.


Featured Candidates

belva ann lockwood
Belva Ann Lockwood
American attorney, politician, educator, and author.

jeannette rankin
Jeannette Rankin
The first woman in the United States Congress, elected in Montana.

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Recent Updates

JUN5 Win or Lose, Tuesday’s Primaries Are a Big Deal for Women
MAY22 Stacey Abrams Wins Georgia Democratic Primary for Governor, Making History
MAY15 Pennsylvania Primaries Deliver Strong Wins for Democratic Women
APR3 A Wave of Young Women Running Campaigns (and Changing Politics)