Listen: Congress, Cokie Roberts, Rachel discussed on Morning Edition
"Women's movement of this country. Although I am a woman and I'm equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people of America. She was a trailblazer. Many times over Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to congress that was fifty years ago. She paved the way for a new milestone, the new congress that will convene in January. We'll have more women serving than any before. And that record number of women in congress has many of you asking questions. So let's bring a commentator Cokie Roberts to try to answer them in a regular series. Ask cokie. Hey. Hi, rachel. All right. So our first question goes back to the very beginning. Mike Koeppen writes as follows who was the first female elected official well in the United States, according to the center for American women and politics. It was Susan Salter who was elected mayor of our Goania Kansas in eighteen eighty seven then in eighteen ninety two Laura is and who became the first woman elected to statewide office as superintendent of public education in North Dakota. Then women started getting elected to state legislatures and then finally one thousand nine hundred sixteen Montana famously sent the. The first woman to congress Jeannette Rankin and that gets a store next question. This is Lee Williams in Santa Barbara my question Cokie is how soon after we got the vote. Did we have representation in congress? Well, actually had representation before the vote women could vote in several western states before the national suffrage amendment was ratified in nineteen twenty Rankin was a suffragette helped move the congress to pass the amendment. She was such a curiosity. Rachel, she got numerous speaking, invitations and marriage proposal. Yeah. She kept to the speech is not the man. They wanna start to dribble into congress many of them widows of congressmen, including my own mother when she was elected in a special election in nineteen Seventy-three. She joined only fifteen other women in the house, but many of those windows were re elected many times over they rose to prominent and powerful positions, remember, racial. You have to be elected to the house. Not appointed. Right. And even in the famous year of the woman in one thousand nine hundred ninety two however, only twenty four new women were elected to the house bringing the total to ten percent and seven women took seats in the Senate. All right. So our next listener wants to know what kind of Mark women make when they finally get to cars. This is Nancy voice in Austin, Texas, for what accomplishments will the women in congress be most remembered, well, they're involved in all kinds of legislation, but they've made a concerted effort to work together to help women children and families, and they formed in nineteen seventy seven the bipartisan congressional caucus on women's issues to do that. The focus has been a lot on economic issues. Equal credit pension reform childcare subsidies government contracts IRA's for homemakers, family and medical leave. And then they've also taken the lead on issues like domestic violence prevention, breast cancer research on other made an enormous difference in women's lives. They really are the the women's movement in America is the women in elective office. All right Cokie Roberts. Thank you, so much you can send your questions about how politics and government work by emailing us at ask Cokie at NPR dot org, or you can tweet us your question with the hashtag ask Cokie. Thanks so much Cokie good to talk to you.."