International Women’s Day: A Look Back at Female Firsts in Politics

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On International Women’s Day, CNN Politics takes a look back at the first women to ever hold prominent positions in the world of politics.

From Jeannette Rankin, a Montana Republican who in 1917 became the first woman to serve in Congress, to New York Democrat Shirley Chisholm, who in 1969 became the first African-American woman elected to Congress, each woman faced a set of challenges unique to her setting. But each managed to rise in the largely male-dominated world of politics.

Last November the number of women serving in Congress passed 100 for the first time, but the percentage of women in Congress is still about 20%.

And women have yet to hold the nation’s highest office — the presidency.

If Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator and first lady, win the Democratic presidential nomination, she will become the first woman to capture a major party’s White House nomination.

In light of International Women’s Day, Clinton tweeted an excerpt of her 1995 speech in Beijing, China. The then-first lady famously said “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”

The speech, which became known as a Clinton classic, has been cited by her presidential campaign several times.

Clinton, who is the first former first lady to seek the presidency, has made women’s issues — from abortion rights to equal pay — cornerstones of her run.

According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, while most Americans are ready for a female president, they also say electing one is not a top priority.

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