On This Day in 1932, the First Woman is Elected to the United States Senate



On January 12, 1932, Ophelia Wyatt Caraway (D-AR) becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Caraway was appointed to the Senate two months earlier to fill a vacancy left by her late husband, Thaddeus Horatio Caraway, who passed away while serving in the Senate. She was re-elected in 1938, but failed to win re-nomination in 1944. FDR later appointed her to the Federal Employees Compensation Commission.

Historical note: While Caraway was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, she was preceded in the Senate by Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was appointed in 1922 to fill a vacancy, but did not run for election thereafter. Jeannette Rankin, who was elected to the House in 1917, was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Today there are 21 women in the U.S. Senate and 83 women in the U.S. House.

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