The Washington Post reports that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski will be honored for her five decades of public service on Saturday. Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in congressional history.
When Mikulski began her House tenure in 1977, she was one of 21 women serving in Congress — 18 in the House and three in the Senate. Today there are 92 women serving, with 17 in the Senate.
Along the way, she had to battle stereotypes, including some that suggested women couldn’t be serious legislators. When she entered the Senate, she told The Washington Post last year, “I was greeted with a lot of skepticism from my male colleagues.” She added: “Was I going to go the celebrity route or the Senate route? I had to work very hard.”
Among Mikulski’s other “firsts,” as we noted last year: She was the first female Democrat to serve in both chambers of Congress and the first female Democrat to be elected to the Senate without succeeding her husband or father. In the Senate, she was the first woman to chair an Appropriations subcommittee and the first woman to serve on a handful of other panels.