Chatham University

Fast Facts Pennsylvania

Characteristics of Female Representatives in Harrisburg16

  • In the Pennsylvania General Assembly, there are a total of 64 women.
  • Of that 64, 52 are members of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives; they make up 26% of the House.
  • The State Senate has 50 members, 12 are women, putting the percentage of women in the State Senate at 24%.
  • Women legislators make up 1/4 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

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Pennsylvania Women in State Executive Positions19

Statewide Elective Executives (Total Positions: 5)

Kathleen Kane (D) Attorney General 2013-2016
Linda L. Kelly (R) Attorney General 2011-2013
Robin Wiessmann (D) State Treasurer 2007-2009
Catherine Baker Knoll (D) Lieutenant Governor 2003-2008
Barbara H. Hafer (D) 1 State Treasurer 1997-2005
Barbara H. Hafer (R) Auditor General 1989-1997
Catherine Baker Knoll (D) State Treasurer 1989-1997
Grace M. Sloan (D) State Treasurer 1961-1964;
1969-1977
Grace M. Sloan (D) Auditor General 1965-1969
Genevieve Blatt (D) Secretary of Internal Affairs 1955-1967

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Women in Govenor's Executive Staff

Yesenia Bane Deputy Chief of Staff 2015-
Elena Cross Deputy Chief of Staff 2015-
Sarah Galbally Secretary of Policy and Planning 2015-
Andrea Mead Chief of Staff to the First Lady 2015-
Sharon Minnich Secretary of Adminstration 2015-
Betsy Phillips Director of Scheduling 2015-
Denise J. Smyler General Counsel 2015-

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Women Cabinet Officials

Jessica Altman Insurance Commissioner 2017-
Cindy Dunn Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources 2015-
Dr. Rachel Levine Secretary of Health 2015-
Teresa D. Miller Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services 2018-
Teresa Osborne Secretary of Aging 2015-
Leslie Richards Secretary of Transportation 2015-
Jennifer Smith Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs 2018-
Robin Wiessmann Secretary of Banking and Securities 2015-
Teresa D. Miller Insurance Commissioner 2015-2018

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Pennsylvania Women Elected to U.S. Congress18

U.S. Congress (Total Seats: 2 U.S. Senators, 19 U.S. Representatives)

Chrissy Houlahan (D) U.S. Representative 2019-
Madeleine Dean (D) U.S. Representative 2019-
Mary Scanlon (D) U.S. Representative 2019-
Susan Wild (D) U.S. Representative 2019-
Allyson Schwartz (D) U.S. Representative 2005-2015
Kathy Dahlkemper (D) U.S. Representative 2009-2011
Melissa Hart (R) U.S. Representative 2001-2007
Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D) U.S. Representative 1993-1995
Kathryn Elizabeth Granahan (D) 1 U.S. Representative 1956-1963
Vera Daerr Buchanan (D) 2 U.S. Representative 1951-1957
Veronica Grace Boland (D) 3 U.S. Representative 1941-1943

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Historical Look at Women in the Pennsylvania State Legislature20

  House Senate
Year D R Other Total
Women/
Total
House
% Women
in House
D R Total
Women/
Total
Senate
% Women
in Senate
2019 30 22 0 52 / 203 25.6 6 6 12 / 50 24.0
2017 22 21 0 43 / 203 21.2 3 5 8 / 50 16.0
2015 18 23 0 41 / 203 20.2 4 6 10 / 50 20.0
2013 16 21 0 37 / 203 18.2 6 3 9 / 50 18.0
2011 15 19 0 34 / 203 16.7 6 6 12 / 50 24.0
2009 11 18 0 29 / 203 14.3 5 6 11 / 50 22.0
2007 11 16 0 27 / 203 13.3 5 5 10 / 50 20.0
2005 10 16 0 26 / 203 12.8 5 4 9 / 50 18.0
2003 10 18 0 28 / 203 13.8 5 3 8 / 50 16.0
2001 13 17 0 30 / 203 14.8 5 3 8 / 50 16.0
1999 12 13 0 25 / 203 12.3 4 3 7 / 50 14.0
1997 12 13 0 25 / 203 12.3 3 3 6 / 50 12.0
1995 12 14 0 26 / 203 12.8 3 1 4 / 50 8.0
1993 14 10 0 24 / 203 11.8 3 1 4 / 50 8.0
1991 10 11 0 21 / 203 10.3 3 1 4 / 50 8.0
1989 7 8 0 15 / 203 7.4 2 0 2 / 50 4.0
1987 6 9 0 15 / 203 7.4 2 0 2 / 50 4.0
1985 3 8 0 11 / 203 5.4 2 0 2 / 50 4.0
1983 2 7 0 9 / 203 4.4 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1981 1 9 0 10 / 203 4.9 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1979 3 8 0 11 / 203 5.4 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1977 7 3 0 10 / 203 4.9 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1975 4 4 0 8 / 203 3.9 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1973 3 3 0 6 / 203 3.0 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1971 4 2 0 6 / 203 3.0 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1969 3 3 0 6 / 203 3.0 1 0 1 / 50 2.0
1967 5 4 0 9 / 203 4.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1965 7 6 0 13 / 203 6.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1963 7 6 0 13 / 203 6.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1961 6 5 0 11 / 203 5.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1959 7 6 0 13 / 203 6.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1957 6 6 0 12 / 203 5.9 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1955 7 4 0 11 / 203 5.4 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1953 4 1 0 5 / 203 2.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1951 4 1 0 5 / 203 2.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1949 3 1 0 4 / 203 2.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1947 1 2 0 3 / 203 1.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1945 3 1 0 4 / 203 2.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1943 0 0 0 0 / 203 0.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1941 0 0 0 0 / 203 0.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1939 2 0 0 2 / 203 1.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1937 2 0 0 2 / 203 1.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1935 1 0 1 2 / 203 1.0 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1933 1 1 1 3 / 203 1.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1931 0 4 1 5 / 203 2.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1929 0 5 0 5 / 203 2.5 0 0 0 / 50 0.0
1927 0 5 0 5 / 203 2.5 0 1 1 / 50 2.0
1925 0 6 0 6 / 203 3.0 0 1 1 / 50 2.0
1923 0 8 0 8 / 203 3.9 0 0 0 / 50 0.0

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Women in Pennsylvania Senate Leadership Positions21

Judith L. Schwank (D) Minority Appropriations Committee Vice Chair 2017-2020
Kim L. Ward (R) Majority Appropriations Committee Vice Chair 2015-2020
Lisa M. Boscola (D) Minority Policy Committee Chair 2011-2020
Jane C. Orie (R) Majority Caucus Whip 2001-2011

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Women in Pennsylvania House of Representatives Leadership Positions22

Donna Oberlander (R) Majority Policy Committee Chair 2018-2020
Joanna E. McClinton (D) Minority Caucus Chair 2018-2020
Marcy Toepel (R) Majority Caucus Chair 2017-2020
Rosita C Youngblood (D) Minority Caucus Secretary 2015-2020
Donna R. Oberlander (R) Majority Caucus Secretary 2015-2018
Sandra J. Major (R) Majority Caucus Chairman 2011-2016
Jennifer L. Mann (D) Minority Caucus Secretary 2011-2012
Jennifer L. Mann (D) Majority Caucus Secretary 2019-2010
Sandra Major (R) Minority Caucus Chairman 2007-2010
Elinor Z. Taylor (R) Majority Caucus Chairman 2003-2006
Elinor Z. Taylor (R) Majority Caucus Secretary 1995-2004
Mae W. Kernaghan (R) Minority Caucus Chairman 1969-1970
Mae W. Kernaghan (R) Majority Caucus Chairman 1967-1968
Marian E. Markley (R) Majority Caucus Secretary 1963-1966
Marion L. Munley (D) Minority Caucus Secretary 1963-1964
Marian E. Markley (R) Minority Caucus Secretary 1959-1962
Mary A. Varallo (D) Majority Whip 1959-1960
Mary A. Varallo (D) Minority Caucus Chairman 1957-1958

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Women Officers of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Mary-Jo Mullen Comptroller 2013-2020

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Women Officers of the Pennsylvania Senate

Donetta D'Innocezo Chief Clerk 2013-2020
Megan Martin Secretary and Parliamentarian 2012-2020

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Women of Color17

  • Charlotte Vandine Forten (1786-1886) and her family lobbied for the abolition of slavery by hosting anti-slavery gatherings, writing for publications, and encouraging elites to join the cause.
  • March 28,1867: Caroline LeCount was illegally denied entrenance to ride a Philadelphia public streetcar. She obtained a copy of the legislation, and presented it to the magistrate. The streetcar conductor who denied her entrenance was arrested and fined $100, and LeCount secured Black's right to ride streetcars.
  • 1912: Daisy E. Lampkin hosted women's rights tea in her home before joining the Negro Women's Equal Franchise Federation where she campaigned for women's right to vote. Later, she chaired the Allegheny County Negro Women's Republican League, served as vice-chair of the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania, and vice chair of the Colored Voters Division of the Republican National Committee.
  • 1930: Lampkin became the first field secretary for the NAACP, and is credited with increasing membership more than any other executive in the organization.
  • 1914-1917: Ruth L. Bennett opened the Home for Negro Girls, for girls and women who recently arrived from the South during the Great Migration.
  • March 1965: C. Delores Tucker (1927-2005), joined Martin Luther King Jr. in his march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. She helped found the National Political Congress of Black Women.
  • 1971: Tucker became the first African American to serve as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She was also the first African American woman in the nation to be Secretary of State.

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Political Groups15

  • 1920: The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania was established, a successor organization to the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association. The LWV povides education to "increase the effectiveness of women voters and to further better government
  • 1923, Pennsylvania State Council of Republican Women was founded
  • 1927, Federation of Democratic Women was formed
  • 1972, Governor Sapp created the Pennsylvania Commission for Women
  • 1981, Pennsylvania Elected Women's Association was formed
  • 1982, Pennsylvania Women's Campaign Fund was founded

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Political Firsts14

  • 1922: The first women were elected to the State House. All Republicans, they were: Sarah Gerturde MacKinney, Alice M. Bentley, Rosa S. DeYoung, Sarah McCunde Gallagher, Helen Grimes, Lillie H. Pitts, Martha G. Speiser, and Martha G. Thomas
  • 1923-1928: Representative Alice M. Bentley served as Speaker Pro Tempore, the first woman to do so.
  • 1932:The first women Democrat was elected to the State House: Anna M. Brancato.
  • 1995: Sandra Schultz Newman was the first woman elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
  • 2012: Kathleen Kane was elected as Attorney General, the first woman elected to this position.

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Political History

  • Early Republic
    • 1984: An Act from Congress granted honorary United States citizenship to Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671-1726), wife of William Penn.
    • 1985: Hannah Callowhill Penn and William Penn received honorary citizenship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Anti Slavery
    • 1833: Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher and teacher, helped form the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia. Later, she was president of the Female Anti-Slavery Society.
    • 1848: Jane Grey Swisshelm launched The Saturday Visiter, an abolitionist and womens' rights paper. Her essays influenced the state legislature to grant married women the right to own property.
  • Suffrage
    • 1868: Pennsylvania Women's Suffrage Association was founded in Philadelphia, a hotbed of feminist agitation.
    • July 4, 1876: Susan B. Anthony read her famous "Declaration of Rights for Women" at the Washington statue in front of Independence Hall.8
    • 1913: The General Assembly approved a women's suffrage amendment to the state Constitution.
    • 1915: Male voters rejected the amendment by 55,000 votes.
    • June 4, 1919: the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was approved by Congress.10
    • June 14, 1919: Pennsylvania became the seventh state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.11

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