Oldest Women Currently in Congress

10 Oldest Women Currently in Congress

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In 1916, Jeannette Rankin made history when she became the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. Rankin was a suffragist and fought for women’s rights. Serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rankin paved the way for every woman who has served in Congress since then.
All of the women on this list have had long careers as politicians and public servants. Many of them started out in education and went on to start political careers to make a difference in their local communities. These women range in age from their late 70s to late 80s and show women and girls everywhere that its never too late to go after what you want.
As of June 2020, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Anna Eshoo (December 13, 1942 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 77 years, 6 months, 10 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  California’s 18th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1993

Anna Eshoophoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Anna Eshoo is the U.S. House Representative for California’s Silicon Valley area, a position she has held since 1993. Eshoo’s political career started in 1978 when she became the Chair of the San Mateo Democratic Party. She then went on to become a member of the Democratic National Committee. After this, Eshoo was chief of staff to Speaker pro tempore Leo McCarthy of the California State Assembly. Eshoo first made a bid of the House of Representatives in 1988, but ended up losing.

Did You Know?

Anna Eshoo – who is of Assyrian and Armenian descent –  is the only Assyrian American in Congress, and is also one of only two congresswomen of Armenian descent, with Jackie Speier being the other.


9. Frederica Wilson (November 5, 1942 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 77 years, 7 months, 18 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  Florida’s 24th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 2011

Frederica Wilsonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Frederica Wilson has been serving Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011. Before becoming a Congresswoman, Wilson was a member of Florida’s Senate and the state’s House of Representatives. Wilson was also a teacher, principal, and a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board. As a Congresswoman, Wilson has fought to improve the quality of life for her constituency by creating jobs with dignity, improving education, stopping home foreclosures, safeguarding Medicare and Social Security, and strengthening ties with Haiti and the Caribbean.

Did You Know?

While Frederica Wilson was working as an educator, she founded the 5000 Role Models program, which seeks to bring down dropout rates.


8. Lucille Roybal-Allard (June 12, 1941 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 79 years, 11 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  California’s 40th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1993

Lucille Roybal-Allardphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Lucille Roybal-Allard is one of the many Congresswomen on this list from California. Roybal-Allard has represented the 33rd, 34th, and now 40th district of the state and has been in office for over 26 years. As a Latina Congresswoman, Roybal-Allard has made many firsts, including being the first Latina to serve as one of the 12 “cardinals,” or chairs, of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the first Latina to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. Roybal-Allard is also the first woman to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as the first woman to chair the California Democratic congressional delegation.

Did You Know?

In addition to making many firsts in Congress, Lucille Roybal-Alalrd founded the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.


7. Donna Shalala (February 14, 1941 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 79 years, 4 months, 9 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  Florida’s 27th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 2019

Donna Shalalaphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Donna Shalala is a newer member of the House of Representatives, having won in Florida’s 27th district during the 2018 midterm elections. However, Shalala is no stranger to public service as she served as the18th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. Shalala is the longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. history. From 2015 – 2017, Shalala served as the president of the Clinton Foundation.

Did You Know?

In the early 1960s, Donna Shalala began her career in public service as one of the United States’ first Peace Corps volunteers in Iran.


6. Nancy Pelosi (March 26, 1940 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 80 years, 2 months, 28 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  California’s 12th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  June 2, 1987

Nancy Pelosiphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Nancy Pelosi made history in 2007 when she became the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in the U.S. government. Pelosi was Speaker the first time from 2007 to 2011. When the Democrats won the majority in the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Pelosi was once again appointed Speaker at the start of the next year.

Before becoming Speaker of the House, Pelosi served as House minority leader from 2003 – 2007 and again from 2011 – 2019. Pelosi was the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress.

Did You Know?

During her first time as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in passing many landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.


5. Maxine Waters (August 15, 1938 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 81 years, 10 months, 8 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  California’s 43rd District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1991

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Maxine Waters is another long-serving Democratic member of the House of Representatives from California. Waters is the most senior member of the twelve Black women currently serving in Congress. Beginning her political career in the 1970s, Waters has made a name for herself for being outspoken and critical of Republican presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Additionally, Waters has always advocated for women, children, people of color, and the poor.

Did You Know?

In 2019, Maxine Waters became the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee.


4. Nita Lowey (July 5, 1937 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 82 years, 11 months, 18 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  New York’s 17th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1989

Nita Loweyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Nita Lowey has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1989. This is Lowey’s last term in Congress as she announced in late 2019 that she would not be running for reelection in 2020. Over her three-decade long career, Lowey served in the Democratic Leadership in 2001 and 2002 as the first woman and the first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Did You Know?

In 2018, after the Democrats won the majority in the House of Representatives, Nita Lowey became the first woman to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.


3. Grace Napolitano (December 4, 1936 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 83 years, 6 months, 19 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  California’s 32nd District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1999

Grace Napolitanophoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Grace Napolitano is another woman in her 80s who has been in Congress since the 1990s. Although Napolitano’s district has been redrawn a few times since she first assumed office in 1999, she has been able to win each of her reelection campaigns. Napolitano began her political career in 1986 when she became a member of the Norwalk City Council. Over the years, Napolitano has been a part of many committees including the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands; Subcommittee on Water and Power; Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; and many more.

Did You Know?

Grace Napolitano had previously worked for the Ford Motor Company and worked her way up, holding various positions in the company, and retired in 1992.


2. Eddie Bernice Johnson (December 3, 1935 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 84 years, 6 months, 20 days
Chamber:  House of Representatives
State:  Texas’s 30th District
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  January 3, 1993

Eddie Bernice Johnsonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Bernice Johnson has been the Representative for Texas’s 30th district since 1993. Johnson is the second oldest woman in Congress, but the oldest in the House of Representatives. Before becoming a politician for the first time in the early 1970s, Johnson worked for 16 years as Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital, being the first African American woman to hold the position. During her time in Congress so far, Johnson has authored or co-authored more than 177bills that were passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president.

Did You Know?

When Eddie Bernice Johnson first ran for a seat in the Texas House in 1972, she was the underdog, but she ended up winning in a landslide and became the first Black woman ever elected to public office from Dallas.


1. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933 – Present)

Current Age (as of June 2020): 87 years, 1 day
Chamber:  Senate
State:  California
Political Party:  Democratic
Assumed Office:  November 4, 1992

Dianne Feinsteinphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Dianne Feinstein very recently celebrated her 87th birthday, making her the oldest women currently in Congress. Feinstein has been the a California Senator since 1992 and has worked from the government since the 1960s. Before being elected to the Senate, Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 – 1988. She was the first woman to ever hold that position. During the 1992 special election, Feinstein was on the same ballot as Barbara Boxer. Both women became California’s first female senators.

Did You Know?

Since 2017, Dianne Feinstein has been the longest-tenured female U.S. Senator currently serving in the Senate. Feinstein’s term isn’t set to expire until 2025 and should she continue in office until at least November 2022, she will become the longest-serving female Senator in history.


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