As Women’s History Month continues, we recognize the achievements of Illinois’ female trailblazers in government.
1922 – Lottie Holman O’Neill was the first woman elected to the Illinois General Assembly. She served in the Illinois House and the Senate for 40 years.
1922 – Winifred Mason Huck was the first Illinois woman elected to Congress.
1924 – Florence Fifer Bohrer was the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate.
1958 – Floy Clements was the first African-American woman elected to the Illinois House.
1973 – Cardiss Collins was the first African-American woman from Illinois elected to the U.S. House, and the first African American to hold the party leadership position of Whip at Large in Congress.
1975 – Celeste Stiehl was the first woman to hold a leadership position in the Illinois General Assembly, holding the position of Assistant House Minority Leader and later Assistant Majority Leader.
1977 – Earlene Collins was the first African-American woman elected to the Illinois Senate.
1985 – Adeline Geo-Karis was the first woman appointed to Senate leadership, serving as Assistant Majority Leader.
1990 – Dawn Clark Netsch was the first woman elected to a constitutional office, becoming the first female Comptroller of the state.
1994 – Dawn Clark Netsch was the first woman in Illinois to be nominated by a major party to run for the position of governor.
1994 – Carol Mosely-Braun was the first Illinois woman and first African- American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
1994 – Judy Baar Topinka was elected State Treasurer. In 2006, she ran for Governor and in 2010 she was elected Comptroller. Topinka was the first female Republican nominee for governor, the first woman to serve as the state Republican chairman and the first woman to win two different statewide offices.
1997 – Barbara Flynn Currie was the first woman to become House Majority Leader.
1997 – Sonia Silva was the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Illinois House.
1999 – Corrine Wood was the first woman to serve as Illinois Lieutenant Governor.
2003 – Iris Y. Martinez was the first Hispanic woman elected to the Illinois Senate.
2003 – Lisa Madigan was the first woman to be elected Illinois Attorney General.
2005 – Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson was the first woman to hold the position of Senate Majority Leader.
2009 – Christine Radogno was the first woman Caucus Leader in the Illinois General Assembly, elected Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate.
2012 – Tammy Duckworth became the first disabled woman elected to the U.S. House and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.