With Democrats winning a majority of the seats in the House yesterday, House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will become the first woman and self-declared feminist Speaker of the House in history. As speaker, Pelosi is third in line of succession to the White House.
Rep. Pelosi has publicly articulated a positive plan for her “first 100 hours” as speaker. Pelosi has said she will start by increasing the federal minimum wage, removing the ban on stem cell research, implementing 9-11 commission recommendations, working to lower the cost of prescription drug coverage, and increasing tax breaks for middle-class Americans, according to CNN. As minority leader, Pelosi worked tirelessly to raise money to elect Democrats to the House and was responsible for the highest levels of party unity in voting in decades, according to the Associated Press. Pelosi has been a long-time supporter of women’s rights and women breaking the glass ceiling.
After holding leadership positions, including Chair of California’s Democratic Party, Pelosi was elected to the House in 1987, filling Sala Burton’s seat, which was formerly Phil Burton’s seat. In 2000, she became the first woman Democratic whip, and in 2002, she became the first woman Democratic leader. Pelosi has referred to her rise within the party ranks as breaking through a “marble ceiling,” a phrase that she feels reflects the difficulty for women to rise to positions of power within national government, according to the Associated Press.