Massachusetts’ track record on women’s political representation is one that many find disappointing, and perhaps surprising for a state often characterized as innovative and progressive. At the state level women hold 23.5% of all legislative seats – this represents a 2.5% decrease from 2009. While women comprise the majority of the state’s population, women have not achieved political parity on the local, state, or federal level.
- 1923: Susan Fitzgerald and Sylvia Donaldson were the first women elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives
- 1937: The first woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate was Sybil Holmes
- 1925: Edith Nourse Rogers was the first woman who served in the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts
- 1986: Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy was the first woman to be elected to a statewide office;
- 1999: Shannon O'Brien was elected as State Treasurer - the only woman to serve in a statewide office other than Lieutenant Governor
- 2001: Jane Swift served as the first female Governor of the Commonwealth
- 2002: Kerry Healey was elected Lieutenant Governor
- 2006: Martha Coakley became the first woman to serve as Attorney General
- 2007: Therese Murray became the first woman to serve as Senate President
- 2009: Ayanna Pressley became the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council.
Did You Know . . .
- Only 4 women from MA have ever served in the U.S. Congress?
- The 2007 election of Niki Tsongas ended a 25-year period during which no women from Massachusetts served in the U.S. Congress?
- No woman has ever been elected Governor or Secretary of State?
- Of all women serving in the Massachusetts Legislature, only 11% are women of color?