Women in the Senate

The first woman senator was not elected until 1943. Since then the numbers have been slowly growing, particularly since the 1980s. However, Gender parity is still some way off.

50%
Men
Women
1901

36
0
0%
1902

36
0
0%
1903

36
0
0%
1904

36
0
0%
1905

36
0
0%
1906

36
0
0%
1907

36
0
0%
1908

36
0
0%
1909

36
0
0%
1910

36
0
0%
1911

36
0
0%
1912

36
0
0%
1913

36
0
0%
1914

36
0
0%
1915

36
0
0%
1916

36
0
0%
1917

36
0
0%
1918

36
0
0%
1919

36
0
0%
1920

36
0
0%
1921

36
0
0%
1922

36
0
0%
1923

36
0
0%
1924

36
0
0%
1925

36
0
0%
1926

36
0
0%
1927

36
0
0%
1928

36
0
0%
1929

36
0
0%
1930

36
0
0%
1931

36
0
0%
1932

36
0
0%
1933

36
0
0%
1934

36
0
0%
1935

36
0
0%
1936

36
0
0%
1937

36
0
0%
1938

36
0
0%
1939

36
0
0%
1940

36
0
0%
1941

36
0
0%
1942

36
0
0%
1943

21 Aug 1943 – election

35
1
3%
1944

35
1
3%
1945

35
1
3%
1946

35
1
3%
1947

1 Jul 1947 – terms commenced (elected 28 Sept 1946)

34
2
6%
1948

34
2
6%
1949

34
2
6%
1950

22 Feb 1950 – terms commenced (elected 10 Dec 1949); Senate increased to 60 senators

56
4
7%
1951

28 Apr 1951 – election

56
4
7%
1952

56
4
7%
1953

9 May 1953 – Senate election
1 Jul 1953 – terms commenced

56
4
7%
1954

56
4
7%
1955

11 Oct 1955 – Nancy Buttfield (SA) appointed

55
5
8%
1956

1 Jul 1956 – terms commenced (elected 10 Dec 1955)

55
5
8%
1957

55
5
8%
1958

55
5
8%
1959

1 Jul 1959 – terms commenced (elected 22 Nov 1958)

55
5
8%
1960

55
5
8%
1961

55
5
8%
1962

1 Jul 1962 – terms commenced (elected 9 Dec 1961)

55
5
8%
1963

55
5
8%
1964

55
5
8%
1965

1 Jul 1965 – terms commenced (elected 5 Dec 1964)

56
4
7%
1966

56
4
7%
1967

56
4
7%
1968

1 Jul 1968 – terms commenced (elected 25 Nov 1967)

57
3
5%
1969

57
3
5%
1970

57
3
5%
1971

1 Jul 1971 – terms commenced (elected 21 Nov 1970)

58
2
3%
1972

58
2
3%
1973

58
2
3%
1974

18 May 1974 – election

56
4
7%
1975

13 Dec 1975 – election; Senate increased to 64 senators

58
6
9%
1976

58
6
9%
1977

14 Dec 1977 – Janine Haines (SA) appointed

57
7
11%
1978

1 Jul 1978 – terms commenced (elected 10 Dec 1977)

58
6
9%
1979

58
6
9%
1980

15 Oct 1980 – Jean Hearn (Tas.) appointed

57
7
11%
1981

12 Mar 1981 – Florence Bjelke-Petersen (Qld) appointed
5 May 1981 – Margaret Reid (ACT) appointed
1 Jul 1981 – terms commenced (elected 18 Oct 1980)

54
10
16%
1982

54
10
16%
1983

5 Mar 1983 – elections

51
13
20%
1984

5 Nov 1984 – Kathy Sullivan (Qld) resigned

52
12
19%
1985

1 Jul 1985 – terms commenced (elected 1 Dec 1984); Senate increased to 76 senators

62
14
18%
1986

13 Mar 1986 – Jocelyn Newman (Tas.) appointed
26 Aug 1986 – Janet Powell (Vic.) appointed

60
16
21%
1987

11 Feb 1987 – Sue West (NSW) appointed
11 Jul 1987 – election

59
17
22%
1988

29 Jan 1988 – Sue Ryan (ACT) resigned
21 Jul 1988 – Irina Dunn (NSW) appointed

59
17
22%
1989

59
17
22%
1990

24 Mar 1990 – election
1 Jul 1990 – terms commenced

58
18
24%
1991

29 Aug 1991 – Karin Sowada (NSW) appointed

57
19
25%
1992

57
19
25%
1993

13 Mar 1993 – election
1 Jul 1993 – terms commenced
24 Aug 1993 – Kay Denman (Tas.) appointed

59
17
22%
1994

59
17
22%
1995

29 Nov 1995 – Natasha Stott Despoja (SA) appointed

58
18
24%
1996

2 Mar 1996 – election
8 Mar 1996 – Sue Mackay (Tas.) appointed
1 Jul 1996 – terms commenced

53
23
30%
1997

9 Apr 1997 – Marise Payne (NSW) appointed
13 May 1997 – Karen Synon (Vic.) appointed
15 Oct 1997 – Cheryl Kernot (Qld) resigned

52
24
32%
1998

16 Jun 1998 – Trish Crossin (NT) appointed
3 Sep 1998 – Belinda Neal (NSW) resigned

52
24
32%
1999

1 Jul 1999 – terms commenced (elected 3 Oct 1998)

54
22
29%
2000

54
22
29%
2001

54
22
29%
2002

1 Feb 2002 – Jocelyn Newman (Tas.) resigned
1 Jul 2002 – terms commenced (elected 10 Nov 2001)

53
23
30%
2003

14 Feb 2003 – Margaret Reid (ACT) resigned

54
22
29%
2004

54
22
29%
2005

5 May 2005 – Connie Fierravanti-Wells (NSW) appointed
1 Jul 2005 – terms commenced (elected 9 Oct 2004)

49
27
36%
2006

49
27
36%
2007

2 Apr 2007 – Jeannie Ferris (SA) died
19 Apr 2007 – Sue Boyce (Qld) appointed

49
27
36%
2008

8 May 2008 – Jacinta Collins (Vic.) appointed
1 Jul 2008 – terms commenced (elected 24 Nov 2007)

49
27
36%
2009

49
27
36%
2010

49
27
36%
2011

1 Jul 2011 – terms commenced (elected 21 Aug 2010)
28 Aug 2011 – Helen Coonan (NSW) resigned

47
29
38%
2012

31 Mar 2012 – Judith Adams (WA) died
20 Jun 2012 – Lin Thorp (Tas.) appointed

47
29
38%
2013

15 May 2013 – Sue Lines (WA) appointed
13 Nov 2013 – Deborah O’Neill (NSW) appointed

45
31
41%
2014

1 Jul 2014 – terms commenced (elected 7 Sept 2013)

47
29
38%
2015

47
29
38%
2016

1 Jul 2016 – terms commenced (elected 2 Jul 2016)

43
31
42%

Women in the House

While the first woman member was elected in 1943, women did not consistently sit in the House until 1980. Women did not gain a quarter of the lower house seats until a hundred years after Federation.

50%
Men
Women
1901

75
0
0%
1902

75
0
0%
1903

75
0
0%
1904

75
0
0%
1905

75
0
0%
1906

75
0
0%
1907

75
0
0%
1908

75
0
0%
1909

75
0
0%
1910

75
0
0%
1911

75
0
0%
1912

75
0
0%
1913

75
0
0%
1914

75
0
0%
1915

75
0
0%
1916

75
0
0%
1917

75
0
0%
1918

75
0
0%
1919

75
0
0%
1920

75
0
0%
1921

75
0
0%
1922

75
0
0%
1923

75
0
0%
1924

75
0
0%
1925

75
0
0%
1926

75
0
0%
1927

75
0
0%
1928

75
0
0%
1929

75
0
0%
1930

75
0
0%
1931

75
0
0%
1932

75
0
0%
1933

75
0
0%
1934

75
0
0%
1935

75
0
0%
1936

75
0
0%
1937

75
0
0%
1938

75
0
0%
1939

75
0
0%
1940

75
0
0%
1941

75
0
0%
1942

75
0
0%
1943

21 Aug 1943 – election

74
1
1%
1944

74
1
1%
1945

74
1
1%
1946

28 Sep 1946 – election

73
2
3%
1947

73
2
3%
1948

73
2
3%
1949

10 Dec 1949 – election; House increased to 123 members

122
1
1%
1950

122
1
1%
1951

28 Apr 1951 – election

123
0
0%
1952

123
0
0%
1953

123
0
0%
1954

29 May 1954 – House election

123
0
0%
1955

10 Dec 1955 – election

124
0
0%
1956

124
0
0%
1957

124
0
0%
1958

22 Nov 1958 – election

124
0
0%
1959

124
0
0%
1960

124
0
0%
1961

9 Dec 1961 – election

124
0
0%
1962

124
0
0%
1963

30 Nov 1963 – House election

124
0
0%
1964

124
0
0%
1965

124
0
0%
1966

26 Nov 1966 – House election

123
1
1%
1967

123
1
1%
1968

123
1
1%
1969

25 Oct 1969 – House election

125
0
0%
1970

125
0
0%
1971

125
0
0%
1972

2 Dec 1972 – House election

125
0
0%
1973

125
0
0%
1974

18 May 1974 – election

126
1
1%
1975

13 Dec 1975 – election

127
0
0%
1976

127
0
0%
1977

10 Dec 1977 – election

124
0
0%
1978

124
0
0%
1979

124
0
0%
1980

18 Oct 1980 – election

122
3
2%
1981

122
3
2%
1982

122
3
2%
1983

5 Mar 1983 – election

119
6
5%
1984

1 Dec 1984 – election; House increased to 148 members

140
8
5%
1985

140
8
5%
1986

140
8
5%
1987

11 Jul 1987 – election

139
9
6%
1988

139
9
6%
1989

139
9
6%
1990

24 Mar 1990 – election

138
10
7%
1991

138
10
7%
1992

138
10
7%
1993

13 Mar 1993 – election

134
13
9%
1994

12 Mar 1994 – By-election for seat of Fremantle (WA) won by Carmen Lawrence
26 Mar 1994 – By-election for seat of Mackellar (NSW) won by Bronwyn Bishop

132
15
10%
1995

30 Jan 1995 – Ros Kelly (Member for Canberra, ACT) resigned

133
14
10%
1996

2 Mar 1996 – election

125
23
16%
1997

125
23
16%
1998

3 Oct 1998 – election

115
33
22%
1999

115
33
22%
2000

12 Aug 2000 – By-election for seat of Isaacs (Vic.) won by Ann Corcoran

114
34
23%
2001

17 Mar 2001 – By-election for seat of Ryan (Qld) won by Leonie Short
10 Nov 2001 – election

112
38
25%
2002

112
38
25%
2003

112
38
25%
2004

9 Oct 2004 – election

113
37
25%
2005

113
37
25%
2006

113
37
25%
2007

24 Nov 2007 – election

110
40
27%
2008

110
40
27%
2009

5 Dec 2009 – By-election for seat of Higgins (Vic.) won by Kelly O’Dwyer

109
41
27%
2010

21 Aug 2010 – election

113
37
25%
2011

113
37
25%
2012

113
37
25%
2013

7 Sept 2013 – election

111
39
26%
2014

8 Feb 2014 – By-election for seat of Griffith (Qld) won by Terri Butler

110
40
27%
2015

110
40
27%
2016

2 Jul 2016 – election

107
43
29%