In 1922, just two
years after women were given the right to vote, Lottie Holman
O'Neill was the first woman elected to the Illinois State
legislature. She continued to serve in the Illinois House and
Senate for 40 years.
Two years later, in
1924, Florence Fifer Bohrer, daughter of Governor Fifer, was
the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate.
of Cook County became the first African-American woman to be elected
to the Illinois House in 1958.
Fifty years after the
first woman from Illinois was elected to the U.S. House, the first
African-American woman was elected to it.
Cardiss Collins became a U.S. Representative in 1973 and
served until 1997. In 1979 she became president of the
Congressional Black Caucus.
elected as the first African-American woman to the Illinois Senate
in 1977, served until 1999.
The first woman in a
leadership position in the Illinois legislature was
Celeste Stiehl who became the first Assistant House Minority
Leader in 1975.
is a trail-blazer and in 1985 she became the first woman to serve as
Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois Senate.
Dawn Clark Netsch
was elected as Comptroller in 1990, she became the first woman to be
elected to a constitutional office. Four years later she ran
for governor, becoming the first woman in Illinois to be nominated
by a major party.
In 1994, Carol
Mosely-Braun became the first African-American woman in the U.S.
Senate. Judy Baar Topinka was elected State Treasurer,
the office she held until she ran for governor in 2006.
After 18 years in the
Barbara Flynn Currie
became the first woman to become the House Majority Leader in 1997,
a position which she continues to hold.
In 1997 Sonia Silva
became the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Illinois House.
served as the state's first woman Lieutenant Governor beginning in
In 2003, the first
Hispanic woman, Iris Y. Martinez, was elected to the Illinois
In 2003, Lisa
Madigan was the first woman to be elected Attorney General in
Illinois. In 2006 she was elected to her second term earning
the largest vote of any statewide candidate.
Halvorson became the first woman Democrat to hold the position
of Senate Majority Leader in 2005.
Christine Radogno became the state's first woman Caucus Leader,
Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate in 2009.