A list of women that broke through barriers to enter the world of American politics.
Hillary Clinton was the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. Clinton also served as the 67th secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and was elected as the first female senator for the state of New York from 2001 to 2009. She was the first first lady to have an office in the West Wing during her husband's presidency and the first first lady to seek elective office. Clinton is pictured on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2016, in Philadelphia.
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Dr. Carla Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to hold the post of librarian of Congress. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2016. She is the former chief executive officer of the Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library and former president of the American Library Association (ALA). Pictured above, Hayden talks to Jamie Lee Curtis, right, before Curtis read her new children's book to students from Moten Elementary School at the Library of Congress, Sept. 21, 2016, in Washington.
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Gen. Lori Robinson became the first woman to lead a top-tier U.S. war-fighting command when she was appointed leader of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command in Colorado in May 2016. She is one of just two female four-star generals in the Air Force and the first woman to lead a U.S. combatant command. Above, Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson salutes during her arrival at the change of command ceremony, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado on May 13, 2016.
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Janet Yellen is the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve. In 2014 President Obama appointed her for the position. She will remain as chairwoman until her term is up in 2018. As leader of America’s central bank, Yellen has powerful influence over global financial markets and the U.S. economy. Pictured, Yellen delivers remarks, Dec. 2, 2015, in Washington.
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Nancy Pelosi was elected as the first female speaker of the House in 2006 and served from 2007 to 2011. Pelosi is congratulated by her staff after the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 was passed in the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010, in Washington.
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Madeleine Albright, the 64th secretary of state, was the first female to hold the office. At the time of her appointment, she was the highest-ranking woman in history of the U.S. government. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton, Dec. 5, 1996. Prior to her post as secretary of state, she represented the U.S. in the United Nations, and in 2012 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Albright is pictured, Jan. 23, 1997, at her swearing-in ceremony in the White House Oval Office.
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Janet Reno served as the first female attorney general of the United States from 1993 until 2001, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. Reno is pictured here being sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 9, 1993.
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Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential nominee of a major U.S. party when Walter Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. From 1979-1985, she represented New York in the House of Representatives. Above, Ferraro speaks on stage at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
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Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1981, she was a key swing vote in many historic cases, including the upholding of Roe v. Wade. Pictured, O'Connor is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 25, 1981, in Washington.
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Shirley Chisolm was the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in 1968. She was also the first African-American woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1972, which she failed to receive. Chisholm is pictured, Jan. 25, 1972, announcing her bid for president in Brooklyn, New York.
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Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving first lady of the United States. Roosevelt served as the first chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt is shown as she addresses delegates at the 1956 Democratic National Convention.
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Francis Perkins was an American sociologist and workers’ rights advocate. She became the first woman to hold a U.S. cabinet position when she was appointed secretary of labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. She held the position for 12 years, making her the longest serving secretary of labor in U.S. history. Perkins is pictured after being appointed Commission of Labor by N.Y. Governor-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt to succeed James A. Hamilton in New York, Dec. 27, 1928.
Jeannette Rankin was the first woman to hold federal office in the United States when she was elected to the House of Representatives by the state of Montana as a member of the Republican Party in 1916. Rankin was the only representative to vote against congressional authorization for WWI and WWII, and after she left Congress, she continued to be outspoken about her views against the Vietnam War.
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Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president from a nationally recognized ticket as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party in 1872.
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