Our nation’s capital is making feminist history. As of January 2, Washington, DC is being led by a trio of trailblazing women, two of whom are women of color, making it the only city in the US where the mayor, chief of police, and school chancellor are all women.

Muriel Bowser, the second woman to be elected as Mayor of Washington, DC, announced last week that she will be keeping top DC leaders Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. After the announcement, the Washington Post referred to Bowser, Lanier, and Henderson as “DC’s Matriarchy.”

“How fitting for the nation’s capital to have three women in charge, women who have gotten things done in this city for years,” said Bowser. “We want to the whole world to know we are a city on the move.”

Police Chief Lanier has lived an inspiring and difficult life that has undoubtedly contributed to her leadership, perseverance, and understanding of the problems of poor people struggling to make their way. She dropped out of high school at 14 after becoming pregnant, and supported herself through two master’s degrees before joining the police force. Kaya Henderson, who has been DC schools chancellor since 2011, is widely credited with the rapid and sudden progress of DC public schools.

Furthermore, Bowser nominated Polly Donaldson as director of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development. An out lesbian and expert in affordable housing, Bowser calls Donaldson “a person with a proven track record and proven leadership.”

And we cannot forget, in Congress, the District of Columbia is represented by delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton is a strong voice in Congress for women’s rights, civil rights, economic justice, and statehood for the District of Columbia.

With this collection of impressive female leadership, Washington DC can boast of a feat no other city can claim.

Media Resources: Washington Post 11/6/14; CNN 9/20/13; Washington Post 1/4/15;

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Kelsey Carroll

Kelsey is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a focus on politics and global feminism(s). She has an ardent interest in conceptualizations of gender, women’s rights, and self-care.