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Ekstrom Library

Government Resources: Society: Women

Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, 2011

 • Women’s gains in educational attainment have significantly outpaced those of men over the last 40 years.  Today, younger women are more likely to graduate from college than are men and are more likely to hold a graduate school degree.  Higher percentages of women than men have at least a high school education, and higher percentages of women than men participate in adult education.

• Educational gains among women relative to men can be seen across racial and ethnic groups and this trend is also present in other developed countries.

• Despite these gains in graduation rates, differences remain in the relative performance of female and male students at younger ages, with girls scoring higher than boys on reading assessments and lower on math assessments.

• These differences can be seen in the fields that women pursue in college; female students are less well represented than men in science and technology-related fields, which typically lead to higher paying occupations. Source:Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, 2011 (White House) 

Women in Congress

The first woman elected to Congress was Representative Jeannette Rankin (R-MT, 1917-1919,  1941-1943). The first woman to serve in the Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA). She was appointed in 1922 and served for only one day. A total of 276 women have served in Congress, 176 Democrats and 100 Republicans. Of these women, 237 (151 Democrats, 86 Republicans) have served only in the House of Representatives; 31 (19 Democrats, 12 Republicans) have served only in the Senate; and 8 (6 Democrats, 2 Republicans) have served in both houses. These figures include one non-voting Delegate each from Guam, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Source: Women in the U.S. Congress, 1917-2011. Source: Women in the United States Congress (Congressional Research Service via U.S. Department of State)

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