top of page
Swatt book cover FINAL.jpg


Back Stories 
Historical Data 
The back stories for many of the women who have sought office in California offer additional insight into women's struggle for political equality in the Golden State. Many of the names and stories have been lost to history. Here are a few of those tales, with a link to each. 
The Legacy of Gail Laughlin
Early California suffragist was founder and leader of State and National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs
Ivy Baker Priest Cashes In
Former U.S. Treasurer becomes California's first female statewide officeholder.
When Every Vote Counted
Robin Young loses by one of the narrowest margins in California history.
Communist Candidate Surprises 
State Schools Superintendent candidate Bernadette Doyle flies under the radar.
Freeing the Senate From Pantyhose
State Senator Rebecca Morgan walks onto the state Senate floor and into history.
Dirty Trick is No Treat
Mildred Younger's opponent puts up a bogus candidate named Younger to confuse voters.
What's in a Name?
Simone...just Simone...didn't see the need for a second name. Neither did primary election voters.

Did You Know?

Widows Succession
The nation's first Jewish congresswoman joined a long line of women who kept the fires burning.
Since 1912 California women have run for statewide, legislative and congressional political office more than 3,800 times. The first four successful women were elected to the State Assembly in 1918. In the next 50 years, women ran more than 500 times. The most dramatic surge in female candidates started in the 1970s and has continued to increase. Since 1970, women have run more than 3,200 times for statewide, legislative and congressional offices. Click here to view our exclusive chart that details women's electoral performance since 1912.
Get the Chart
Election winners in California history.

Here are rosters of the California women who have won election to statewide, legislative, and congressional offices since the first women won election to the Assembly in 1918.

Statewide Constitutional Offices - 1966-2018

State Senate - 1976-2018

State Assembly - 1918-2018

State Board of Equalization - 1935-2018

California Members of Congress - 1923-2018

Election Data

George Skelton profiles new Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis 
L.A. Times columnist introduces Kounalakis, daughter of a Greek immigrant developer and former US ambassador, on Nov. 12, 2018
Paving the Way authors to unveil book on California women in politics in early 2019
After more than two years of research, Paving the Way: Women's Struggle for Political Equality in California will be published by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley in early 2019. California State Librarian Greg Lucas wrote the foreword for the book, which will be
showcased at a series of events around the state. 


bottom of page