Boston to tie record for most women serving on City Council

Andrea Joy Campbell greeted well-wishers Tuesday night.
Andrea Joy Campbell greeted well-wishers Tuesday night.(John Blanding/Globe Staff)

Boston voters on Tuesday picked a pair of women to join the City Council, unseating two long-serving men and bringing the total number of women on the council to four, which ties the record.

Four women councilors will serve on the 13-member panel for at least the next two years — returning councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu, and newcomers Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Joy Campbell.

The only other period when four women served on the council was from 1994 through 1997, when Diane J. Modica, Maura A. Hennigan, Maureen E. Feeney, and Peggy Davis-Mullen all had terms that overlapped, according to a Globe analysis of city records.


The first woman to serve on the council was Mildred M. Harris in 1937.

Since then, 10 other women have held a seat on the council. Essaibi George and Campbell will be the 12th and 13th councilwomen when they are officially sworn in next year.

There has been at least one woman on the council for the past 41 years, since 1974.

The longest-serving councilwoman was Hennigan, who held a seat for 24 years, from 1982 through 2005.

When the council was first formed in 1822, there were two branches: a board of aldermen and a common council. It remained in that form through 1909 when the two-branch system was dropped for a nine-member at-large council.

In 1983, the council was restructured again, expanding to become a 13-member body consisting of four at-large seats and nine district seats.

The history of women on the Boston City Council
Councilwomen Years Notes
Annissa Essaibi George 2-year term starts 2016
Andrea Joy Campbell 2-year term starts 2016
Michelle Wu 2014-present
Ayanna Pressley 2010-present
Maureen E. Feeney 1994-2011* *resigned November 10, 2011
Peggy Davis‐Mullen 1994-2001
Diane J. Modica 1994-1997
Rosaria Salerno 1988-1993
Maura A. Hennigan (Casey) 1982-2005
Rosemarie E. Sansone 1978-1981
Louise Day Hicks 1970-1971*, 1974-1977, 1979** *resigned January 25, 1971. **resigned January 3, 1979.
Katherine Craven 1964-1967
Mildred M. Harris 1937-1939 first woman on council
SOURCE: Globe review of city records

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mrochele