It’s an open secret that the glass ceiling is alive and well in many places, especially in American politics. While the number of female politicians is growing, this is a field that is still dominated by male politicians.
In order to stand out in this patriarchal political world, female politicians have to work twice as hard to receive the same attention that male politicians do. Despite that, a number of women have risen to the challenge and done more than ably serve their country. Along the way, these women helped to create a legacy of political success that future female leaders can aspire to.
Who, then, are the biggest female politicians in history? Keep reading to discover the answer!
No list of prominent female politicians would be complete without Hillary Clinton. Once, she put her own professional ambitions aside to serve as First Lady of the United States alongside her husband, President Bill Clinton. After that, she was elected Senator from New York, eventually becoming Secretary of State.
All of this culminated with her unsuccessful attempt to run for president in 2016. While she lost that election and seemingly retired from political life, the toxic words, actions, and sheer reputation of Trump have caused more than a few voters to imagine if the country would have been better off if she managed to win the election.
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Kamala Harris is another political veteran who truly understands how the game works. Her political life became most prominent once she became California’s attorney general back in 2011. And in 2016, she was elected to the United States Senate.
So far, the biggest political accomplishment of Kamala Harris is that she serves as Vice President of the United States. When she and Joe Biden won the election, Harris ended up making history three times over. Not only is she the first female vice president, but she’s also the first Black vice president and the first South Asian vice president.
Nancy Pelosi is practically political royalty at this point, having been a member of Congress since 1987. It didn’t take long for her to make history in her own right, becoming the first woman elected to the position of Speaker of the House (a position she has held twice) and the first woman to lead a major political party on behalf of either chamber of the United States Congress.
In addition to her long term of service, Pelosi is also one of the most highly-visible female politicians because she has effectively been one of the biggest leaders in the Democratic Party for two decades, and she continues to shape party decisions to this day.
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Many people often claim we need bold, young new leadership in politics, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a perfect example of this. In 2018, Ocasio-Cortez took on incumbent Joe Crowley, and she ended up becoming the youngest woman in history to serve in Congress.
In this position, Ocasio-Cortez has been a strident voice for change. And that voice reaches far thanks to her large following on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. The young politician understands these platforms well enough that she knows how to reach young voters even as she runs circles around her political rivals.
There are some who would tell you that being First Lady isn’t the same thing as being a politician. However, Michelle Obama definitely blurred those lines, using her position and connection to President Barack Obama to lead a number of different initiatives to help improve the country.
While Michelle spearheaded a number of important programs for various groups (including artists, working women, and military families), her signature cause was childhood obesity. She set out to change the way we approach early obesity at both the local and national level, and this left a lasting mark on a nation that continues to struggle with obesity-related health issues.
While she likely wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, Michelle Bachmann had a political career that was a bit like Hillary Clinton’s. This prominent Republican was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2000 before getting elected to the House of Representatives in 2006. She served in that role until early 2015.
It’s impossible to tell if this is the primary reason she retired, but Bachmann unsuccessfully tried to run for president back in 2012. Two years later, she announced her intentions to retire, having (again, like Clinton) experienced enough politics to last a lifetime.
While Jill Biden hasn’t been FLOTUS as long as Michelle Obama was, she has taken the cue of that younger woman to use her position and influence to improve the nation. One way she does so is by emphasizing the importance of education, and Dr. Jill Biden has continued to serve as a community college professor even while serving as First Lady.
Right now, Jill’s priority seems to be the White House initiative she created called Joining Forces. This initiative is intended to provide much-needed support to military families and veteran families as well as survivors and caregivers. To bring this initiative to life, she visited dozens of different military installations and ultimately secured 80 different proposals and commitments to help provide financial support.
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