The spirit of innovation and advancement due to the startups and high-tech industry in the bay area, as well as the liberal spirit associated with San Francisco, is not well reflected when it comes to political representation of women in the national and state level.
The first woman to represent the California in the US House was Mae Nolan in 1923, who took her husband’s seat after his death.
Two years later, Florence Kahn was elected and served until 1937.
Until 2019, almost 40 more women were elected, making California one of the states with the highest number of females that were elected to the House. However, none of the women represented San Francisco, California’s 2nd congressional district.
In 1992, Dianne Feinstein was the first woman elected to the US Senate, and a few months later Barbara Boxer joined her.
Together, they were the first female pair to serve their country at the same time.
Both were elected several more times. Boxer for 24 years and Feinstein for 26 years and is still serving.
As for the local politics in California, there was never a female Governor in CA.
The first four women who were elected in 1918 to serve in the California State Assembly (the House) were – Esto Broughton, Grace Dorris, Elizabeth Hughes, and Anna Saylor.
The first woman who was elected and served in the California State Senate was Rose Ann Vuich, from 1976 until 1992.
San Francisco had only two female mayors over the years:
The first one was Dianne Feinstein (1978-1988), the second woman elected was London Breed, who was also the first black woman elected.
In the economy of the city, the overall gender pay ratio is 83%, and the overall gender pay gap is $13,200. (That information is based on AAUW 2017 data, the most recent available).
The Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote
Nevertheless, the Suffragist Movement in California reached historical achievements almost a decade before most of the American women, in 1911.
Women started to campaign for the right to vote in CA since the 1870s. They filed for lawsuits and tried to change the state constitution but failed.
The first major campaign of 1896 had failed in the general election due to San Francisco and Alameda counties.
After the earthquake in 1906, women went out to the streets calling for the public to support their right to vote with the help of suffragists from all over the country.
They moved from town to town throughout the state and convinced people to support their struggle. They’ve created bags, postcards, and other merchandise to increase the publicity.
In 1911 they succeeded, and California became the 6th State in the USA to give women the right to vote and be elected for office.
Seven years later, in 1918, four women were elected to the California State legislature.