Fast Facts Pennsylvania
Characteristics of Female Representatives in Harrisburg16
- In the Pennsylvania General Assembly, there are a total of 49 women.
- Of that 49, 42 are members of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives; they make up only about 20% of the House.
- The State Senate has 50 members, 7 are women, putting the percentage of women in the State Senate at 14%.
- Female legislators make up less than 1/5 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Pennsylvania Women in State Executive Positions19
Statewide Elective Executives (Total Positions: 5)
|Kathleen Kane (D)||Attorney General||2012 - present|
|Linda L. Kelly (R)||Attorney General||2011-2012|
|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 McCalmont (D)||State Treasurer||1961-1964;
|Grace McCalmont (D)||Auditor General||1965-1968|
|Genevieve Blatt (D)||Secretary of Internal Affairs||1955-1967|
Pennsylvania Women Elected to U.S. Congress18
U.S. Congress (Total Seats: 2 U.S. Senators, 19 U.S. Representatives)
|Allyson Schwartz (D)||U.S. Representative||2005-2014|
|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||1955-1963|
|Vera Daerr Buchanan (D) 2||U.S. Representative||1951-1957|
|Veronica Grace Boland (D) 3||U.S. Representative||1941-1943|
- 1 Granahan concurrently won a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband and a regular election.
- 2 Buchanan won a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband; she was subsequently re-elected.
- 3 Boland won a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband.
Historical Look at Women in the Pennsylvania State Legislature20
Women in Pennsylvania Senate Leadership Positions21
|Jane C. Orie (R)||Majority Caucus Whip||2001-2011|
Women in Pennsylvania House of Representatives Leadership Positions22
|Rosita C. Youngblood (D)||Minority Caucus Secretary||1993-2018|
|Marcy Toepel (R)||Majority Caucus Chairman,
Majority Caucus Secretary
|Donna R. Oberlander (R)||Majority Caucus Secretary||2009-2018|
|Sandra J. Major (R)||Majority Caucus Chairman,
Minority Caucus Secretary
|Jennifer L. Mann (D)||Majority Caucus Secretary,
Minority Caucus Secretary
|Elinor Z. Taylor (R)||Majority Caucus Chairman,
Majority Caucus Secretary
|Mae W. Kernaghan (R)||Majority Caucus Chairman,
Minority Caucus Chairman
|Marian E. Markley (R)||Majority Caucus Secretary,
Minority Caucus Secretary
|Marion L. Munley (D)||Minority Caucus Secretary||1947-1964|
|Mary A. Varallo (D)||Majority Whip,
Minority Caucus Secretary
Women of Color17
- 1800’s, Charlotte Vadine Forten (1786-1886), her daughters, and granddaughters urged members of the African American elite to join a racially mixed group that promoted immediate abolition by hosting anti-slavery gatherings, writing for publications, and lobbying for an African American abolitionist perspective in organizations to which they belonged.
- March 28,1867, Caroline LeCount, a teacher in Philadelphia's public schools, secured the right of Blacks to ride Philadelphia's public streetcars.
- She attempted to enter a car and the conductor told her that African Americans were not allowed to ride, but LeCount refused to let the matter drop. Since the office of Secretary of the Commonwealth was located at the time in Philadelphia, LeCount next took the matter to that office to obtain a copy of the legislation, which she presented to the magistrate. Her determination resulted in the conductor's arrest and $100 fine.
- Early 1900’s, Daisy E. Lampkin believed to have begun with hosting a women's rights tea in her home in 1912, which led to her subsequent roles as a suffragist and member of the Negro Women's Equal Franchise Federation, campaigning for women's right to vote.
- She became the chair of the Allegheny County Negro Women's Republican League, vice chair of the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania, and vice chair of the Colored Voters Division of the Republican National Committee.
- Lampkin became the first field secretary for the NAACP in 1930 and has been credited with increasing the organization's membership more than any other executive in the organization.
- 1914-1917, Ruth L. Bennett was a twentieth-century activist. Joined by fourteen women in Chester, Delaware County, Bennett organized an "improvement club" and opened the Home for Negro Girls, recently arrived from the South
- March 1965, C. Delores Tucker (1927-2005), who walked with King during the famous five-day, fifty-four-mile march in Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery.
- Tucker was instrumental in founding the National Political Congress of Black Women, an organization that she later chaired.
- 1971, C. Delores Tucker became the first African American in the nation to serve as secretary of the Commonwealth
- 1940-1996, Judge Genevieve Blatt, who is considered the “first lady of PA politics”, was the first woman elected to a statewide political office in Pennsylvania and became the first woman to sit as a Pennsylvania appellate judge on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court. She also blazed a new trail for girls to compete in interscholastic athletics by her landmark ruling on Title IX.
- She served as an assistant city solicitor in Pittsburgh in the 1940's.
- Elected as Secretary of Internal Affairs in 1954 for three consecutive terms.
- Judge Blatt ran on the Democratic ticket for Auditor General in 1950. She won a tight race in a party primary U.S. Senate seat in 1964, but then lost the election to the Republican incumbent, Senator Hugh Scott by 50,000 votes.
- From 1964 through 1968, she was appointed as a member of President Johnson's Consumer Advisory Council.
- In 1972, Gov. Milton J. Shapp appointed her to fill an unexpired term on the Commonwealth Court, the state's appeals court. She won election on her own the next year, being re-elected in 1983. She retired from the bench in 1993.
- She was awarded Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 1956.
- 1920, The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania was established, a successor organization to the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association,
- 1923, Pennsylvania State Council of Republican Women founded
- 1927, Federation of Democratic Women is formed
- 1972, Governor Sapp created the PA Commission for Women
- 1981, PA Elected Women’s Association is formed
- 1982, founding of the Pennsylvania Women’s Campaign Fund
- 1922, first 8 women elected to State House (all Republicans):
- 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, first woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore.
- 1932, Anna M. Brancato, First female Democrat is elected to the state House.
- 1995, Sandra Schultz Newman is the first female elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- 2008, Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll is the only woman to serve in a statewide executive office in Pennsylvania
- 2012, Attorney General Kathleen Kane is the first woman elected to this position.
- Early Republic
- 1984, Hannah Callowhill Penn (wife of William Penn) were made the fourth honorary citizens of the United States, by act of Congress (her husband was third).1
- May 8, 1985, the Penns were granted honorary citizenship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.2
- Revolutionary War, Sara Franklin Bache and Ester De Berdt Reed organized a group of 2,200 Pennsylvania women to collect money, buy cloth, and sew clothing for Revolutionary soldiers.3
- Anti Slavery
- 1833, Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher and teacher, was one of four women to participate at the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia and became president of the Female Anti-Slavery Society.4
- Pre-Civil War, Anna Dickinson, Lucretia Mott, Ann Preston, and Jane Swisshelm were among Pennsylvania women who led the antislavery cause.5
- 1848, Jane Grey Swisshelm, launched her abolitionist paper, The Saturday Visiter, which featured antislavery propaganda and women's rights.6
- Her essays influenced the state legislature to grant married women the right to own property, in 1848.
- 1868 women in Philadelphia organized a Pennsylvania Women's Suffrage Association.7
- Philadelphia was 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
- Pennsylvania played a prominent part in the suffrage movement.
- 1913 & 1915, The General Assembly approved a women's suffrage amendment to the state's Constitution, but Pennsylvania's male voters rejected the amendment by fifty-five thousand votes.9
- 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
- 1922, Pennsylvanians elected the first women to the Legislature. Eight won state House seats, making Pennsylvania a national leader.12
- Notable PA women who contributed to the national suffrage cause: Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, Lavinia Lloyd Dock, Florence Kelley, and Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm.13
- 1 Pennsylvania State Legislature, “Pennsylvania History”
- 2 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 3 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 4 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 5 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 6 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 7 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 8 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 9 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 10 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 11 Pennsylvania State Legislature
- 12 Schmedlen, Jeanne Hearn. “History of Women in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 1923-2008” Office of Speaker of the House Dennis M. O’Brien.
- 13 Schmedlen, Jeanne Hearn
- 14 Schmedlen, Jeanne Hearn
- 15 Schmedlen, Jeanne Hearn
- 16 Schmedlen, Jeanne Hearn
- 17 Patrick, Leslie “African American and Civil Rights in Pennsylvania” in Black History in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Commonwealth
- 18 Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/index.php
- 19 Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/index.php
- 20 Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/index.php
- 21 Senate Historical Biographies Archive, Pennsylvania State Senate, http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/BiosHistory/index.cfm?body=S
- 21 House Historical Biographies Archive, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/BiosHistory/index.cfm?body=h