Date of Award


Degree Name

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Robert Behrman

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynn Rigsbee

Third Advisor

Dr. Troy Stewart

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Leonard J. Deutsch


A total of 125 women legislators have served in the West Virginia State Legislature (see Appendix A). Although every state legislator, both male and female, has played a role in molding the destinies of the citizens of this state, the past 70 years have been an uphill climb for the women who have served in the West Virginia Legislature.

This thesis examines the careers of some of the pioneering women who broke the gender barrier and entered into the male dominated world of state politics and those who have followed their lead. This paper is by no means meant to be an exhaustive review of either their personal or political lives. Instead, it serves as a reminder of their efforts and, hopefully, will encourage others, within both the academic community and the general citizenry, to recognize these women’s accomplishments in the face of adversity.

Information concerning the history of the West Virginia state legislature is scarce, and, to this author’s knowledge, no detailed reports or published papers have been written on the women who have served there. As a result, much of the information reported here was obtained through newspaper articles. Fortunately, some of the women featured here are still alive and graciously agreed to share with the author their experiences in the state legislature. Their insight, candor, and cooperation are greatly appreciated.


Women legislators – West Virginia.

West Virginia – Legislature – History.