Women in Politics: A Timeline
1756: Lydia Chapin
Taft, also known as Lydia Taft, became the first legal woman
voter in America. She voted in 3 town hall mettings with the
consent of the electorate.
1776: The State
Constitution of New Jersey granted all property-owning citizens
the right to vote, regardless of race or color. However, this
right was lost in 1807 when it was restricted to white males.
1869: Wyoming becomes
the first sub-national territory to grant women the right
to vote, followed by Utah (1870, lost in 1887, restored in
1895), Colorado (1893), Arizona (1912), Oregon (1912), Illinios
(1913) and Montana (1914).
1872: Susan B. Anthony
is the first US woman to vote in a presidential election;
subsequently, she is arrested for having voted illegally.
However, her trial provided her with a much more public platform
to spread her message. True to her word, she never paid the
fine imposed upon her as punishment for voting.
The Isle of Man gives property-owning unmarried women and
widows the right to vote, becoming the first nation to do
Aletta Jacobs is the first woman in the Netherlands to attempt
to register to vote; her application is denied.
New Zealand grants all women the right to vote; however, New
Zealand is not a sovereign nation at this time but a self-governing
colony of the British Empire. Regardless, New Zealand is often
credited today for being the first nation to grant all women
the right to vote. Women gained the right to stand for office
in New Zealand in 1919.
Finland becomes the first European nation to give women the
vote, and 19 women are elected to the new 200-person Finnish
Jeanette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to the
U.S. House of Representatives.
US ratifies the 19th Ammendment, providing universal sufferage
Women ages 21 to 29 in Britain are able to vote for the first
time, as women's suffrage is reduced from age 30 to 21.
Alexandra Kollontai is appointed Ambassador from the Soviet
Union to Sweden, becoming the first woman Ambassador in modern
Frances Perkins, the first U.S. female Cabinet member, is
appointed Secretary of Labor. This makes her the first woman
to enter the line of succession to the US Presidency at number
Women vote and stand for election to the House of Representatives
for the first time in Japan. Of the 79 women running
for office, 39 are elected.
Nakayama Masa is appointed Minister of Health and Welfare
in Japan, becoming Japan's first female cabinet member.
Siramavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) becomes the
world's first female Prime Minister.
Indira Gandhi becomes the first Prime Minister of India.
Ching-ling named Co-Chairwoman of the People's Republic of
China, becoming the first non-royal woman to lead the state
Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.
Maria Estela (Isabela) Martinez de Peron succeeds her husband
and becomes the first woman President of Argentina and the
first female head of state in the Americas.
Harris is tapped by President Lyndon B. Johnson to become
the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the
first African American woman to be named to the Cabinet and
enter the Presidential line of succession.
Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo becomes the first woman Prime
Minister of Portugal.
Lidia Geiler is the first woman elected President of Bolivia.
Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime MInister of the United
Kingdom. She served in that position -- winning re-election
in 1983 and in 1987 -- until resigning in 1990.
Simone Weil of France is the first woman elected President
of the European Parliament.
Vigdis Finnbogadottir is the first woman elected President
Jeanne Sauve is the first woman appointed Speaker of the House
of Commons of Canada.
Gro Harlem Brundtland is the first woman to become Prime Minister
Barbara is elected President of Malta.
Milka Planinc is the first woman to become Prime Minister
Eugenia Charles, Doinica, is the first woman to become Prime
Minister in the Caribbean.
Rosario Ibarra de Piedra is the first woman to run for President
Geraldine Ferraro (D) is the first woman nominated for Vice-President
by either major political party in the United States.
Maria Liberia-Peters is the first woman to become Prime Minister
of the Netherlands Antilles.
Corazon Aquino is the first woman elected president of the
Benazir Bhutto is the first woman elected Prime Minister of
Pakistan and becomes the first woman elected to head a Muslim
country. However, she was removed from office 20 months later
on false charges of corruption. In 1993 she was re-elected
but was again removed in 1996. She then went into self-imposed
exile in Dubai for security reasons. In 2007, she returned
to Pakistan as a popular figure, likely to win election to
be Prime Minister once again. She was assassinated by Islamic
Fundamental Extremists on December 27, 2007.
Barrios de Chamorro elected President of Nicagagua.
Mary Robinson is the first woman elected President of Ireland.
Ertha Pascal-Trouillot is the first woman elected President
Carmen Lawrence is Australia's first female Premier.
Edith Cresson is the first woman elected Prime Minister of
Khaleda Zia Rahman is the first woman to become Prime Minister
Rita Johnston is Canada's first female Premier.
California elects two women, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer, to the U.S. Senate.
Betty Boothroyd is the first woman chosen to be Speaker of
the House of Commons in Great Britain.
Hanna Suchocka is the first woman to become Prime Minister
Toujan Faisal is the first woman elected to the Parliament
Tansu Ciller is the first woman elected Prime Minister of
Agathe Uwilingiyimana is the first woman to become Prime Minister
of Rwanda, though she was officially relieved of her position
eighteen days later. She remained in the position however
in a "caretaker capacity" until her assassination
in 1994 at the beginning of the Rawandan Genocide.
Anson Chan is the first woman, also the first Chinese person,
to be appointed Chief Secretary, the number two position in
Sylvie Kinigi is the first woman to become Prime Minister
received first female Prime Minister Kim Campbell.
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga elected President of Sri Lanka.
Two women run for President and 8 for Vice President of Peru,
the first time women have been candidates for these offices.
McAleese elected President of Ireland.
Vike-Freiberga elected to President of Latvia. She is
the first woman to president of a country in Eastern Europe
of the former Soviet Union.
Elisa Moscoso de Arias becomes first female President of Panama.
Clark elected Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Kaarina Halonen elected to be Finland's first female President.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo elected President of the Phillippines.
Sukarnoputri elected as the first woman President of the Republic
Pelosi is sworn in as the House Democratic Whip - the highest-ranking
leadership position ever held by a women in the United States
Congress at that time. She was later named Minority Leader.
Merino was elected as Prime Minister of Peru, becoming the
first woman to hold the position. However, unsubstantiated
rumors began to circulate about Merino that she was a lesbian
due to her status as unmarried and having bought a house with
a female collegue. Due to the fact that Peru is a deeply Roman
Catholic nation, these rumors were enough to have Merino dismissed
from office 6 months after her term began, despite a 60% job
Diogo is elected Prime Minister of Mozambique.
Yulia Tymoshenko helps lead the Ukrainian Orange Revolution
and is named Prime Minister by her "Orange Partner"
President Viktor Yushenko. Yushenko removes her from office
in 2006 and reappoints her once again to the office in 2007.
Sirleaf-Johnson elected Africa's first female president as
Liberia's head-of-state in November.
Merkel elected Chancellor of Germany.
take control of the United States Congress and Nancy Pelosi
is elevated to the position of Speaker of the House. She is
the third highest ranking official in the United States government
and the highest ranking female in US political history.
Bachelet is elected President of Chile.
Simpson Miller elected first Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Hillary Clinton is the first woman to ever be considered as
a top candidate (or even a serious one) for the US Presidency.
However, she eventually loses the Democratic Party Nomination
to Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the tightest Primary
race in US history.
Fernández de Kirchner elected President of Argentina.
Patil is elected President of India.
Greceanîi is elected Prime Minister of Moldova.
IWDC would like to make this timeline as complete and up-to-date
as possible. If you have a suggestion for an entry,
please email email@example.com.