Women's rights trailblazers from New York

Letitia James being sworn in as New York City Public Advocate.
Letitia James being sworn in as New York City Public Advocate.
Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio
Public Advocates James was the first African-American woman to hold citywide elected office in New York City. In 2018, she was elected state attorney general, the first woman – and the first black person – to do so.

Women's rights trailblazers from New York

Many groundbreaking women in politics were from the Empire State.
May 11, 2018

New York has been the backdrop for the women’s equality movement in the United States for two centuries. In 1848, the state hosted the Seneca Falls Convention, a the first prominent gathering of women’s rights advocates. Just last fall, Letitia James made history by being the first woman elected attorney general, while state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first female to lead a majority conference in Albany. From Susan B. Anthony to James, here is a rundown of influential women in New York political history, and how their work contributed to achieving social and political equality.

New York has been the backdrop for the women’s equality movement in the United States for two centuries. In 1848, the state hosted the Seneca Falls Convention, a the first prominent gathering of women’s rights advocates. Now women such as New York City Public Advocate Letitia James are among the top contenders to be the next state attorney general. From Susan B. Anthony to James, here is a rundown of influential women in New York political history, and how their work contributed to achieving social and political equality.



 

Shirley Chisolm. Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress, and made history in 1972 by running for president. She was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Rep. Shirley Chisolm in 1965.
1 OF 16
16 Photos
  • Rep. Shirley Chisolm in 1965.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton [sitting] and Susan B Anthony.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt with Shirley Temple.
  • Gloria Steinem receiving a Minerva award during the California Women's Conference in 2008.
  • Congresswoman Bella Abzug and Mayor Ed Koch [left] meet with President Jimmy Carter in 1978
  • Mayor Ed Koch and Lt. Gov. Mary Anne Krupsak
  • Vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro [right] with presidential candidate Walter Mondale at a political rally in 1984.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during confirmation hearings, U. S. Supreme Court. July 21, 1993
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marches in the New Castle Memorial Day Parade with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016.
  • New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
  • US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
  • President Barack Obama talks with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to her investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court September 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan
  • New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
  • Letitia James being sworn in as New York City Public Advocate.
  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.
20191211