Feb 242010

Jeanette RankinPolitician, Pacifist, Reformer. Jeanette Rankin became the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives and the first female member of Congress on April 2, 1917.

First order of business (after having a “Ladies Room” installed) was suffrage (the right to vote), which she got for women in her home state of Montana in 1914 – five years before the 19th Amendment passed. A die-hard pacifist and Gandhi fan, she voted against World War I and became very unpopular when she voted against World War II, making her the only member of Congress to do so.

Still running for office at the tender age of eighty-eight – for a third term in Congress – she died from surgery complications in 1973.