Women in American Politics

On August 18, 1920, more than four decades after its fundamental concept was introduced by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was finally ratified. This constitutional amendment stated that no citizen could be denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. Women in America have come a long way since then, and there are now quite a few women icons the whole world can look up to. Here are five women who have blazed a trail in American politics.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Few American women today wield as much political influence as Hillary Clinton. In the past two decades, Hillary has served as First Lady (from 1993 to 2001), as a United States senator (from 2001 to 2008), and as Secretary of State (from 2009 to 2013). She has broken several glass ceilings in that span of time, being the first First Lady to run for public office after her tenure in the White House, and possibly the first to come within such close range of the presidency. Today Hillary Clinton remains a viable nominee for the highest position in the land, and many await her future plans with anticipation – especially after her call to “get cracking” and be rid of the glass ceiling.

Nancy Pelosi

She is currently serving as the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives. Pelosi may not be enjoying the power she once had as the first woman Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (2007 to 2011), but she remains one of the most powerful women in American politics today. Known as an effective fund-raiser for Democratic candidates, Pelosi has made no secret of her support for liberal policies. She was a major player in getting the Affordable Care Act passed, and she is a staunch advocate of civil liberties. Her more controversial stands include her vote against military intervention in Iraq and against reinstating the draft.

Susanna Madora Salter

In 1887, when the state of Kansas gave women the right, some men nominated Susan Madora Salter for the position of mayor simply as a joke. Salter’s only political experience had come from her participation in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Much to the surprise of the jokers, Salter won with the support of women, and she became the first woman mayor of the United States. Although women today no longer think twice about having a woman as head of their city, at that time being a woman mayor was a very solid glass ceiling.

Shirley Chisholm

In 1968 the people of the United States elected Shirley Chisholm to Congress. She was the first black woman to be elected as congresswoman, and during her stint she became known as “Fighting Shirley”. She earned this nickname mainly because of her consistent opposition to whatever she deemed was Washington bearing down on legislative processes. Chisholm served for seven terms and even run for her party’s presidential nomination in 1972. Although she was not nominated, she is often referred to as a “Moses” who opened the arena of politics for African American women.