Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Profile

Nancy Pelosi

First Female Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

More From Nancy

In this video

Nancy Pelosi on getting into politics after five kids, breaking the marble ceiling, and her message to young women going into politics.

Nancy's Biography

Political Roots: Father and brother both served as Mayor of Baltimore.
Cause of Choice: St. Anthony’s Dining Room of San Francisco
Childhood Dream: To live a “normal, quiet life.”
Best Advice: “Be yourself. That's the most authentic person you are. Don't decide you have a role model you're going to imitate. Just... Go out there and be yourself.”

Nancy Pelosi is the Minority Leader in the United States House of Representatives. In 2007 she became the 60th Speaker of the House and the first female Speaker in American history, a position she held until 2011. She represents California’s 8th District as a member of the Democratic Party.
Pelosi was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1940 to an influential political family. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro II, was a US Congressman and the Mayor of Baltimore. Her brother, Thomas D’ Alesandro III, was also Mayor of Baltimore between 1967 an 1971.
Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. in 1962 with a degree in political science. She married her college sweetheart, Frank Pelosi, and had five children in six years between 1963 and 1969. Her political career began in earnest in 1969, when the family moved from New York to San Francisco, where her brother-in-law was a member of the City’s Board of Supervisors.
Over the next two decades, Pelosi worked her way up in California politics, eventually serving as Chair of the California Democratic Party and as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In 1985, she was narrowly defeated in a bid to become chairwoman of the DNC.
In 1987 Pelosi won a special election for the 8th District’s seat in the House, a seat that she has held ever since. She quickly became one of Congress’ strongest liberal voices on a variety of issues such as women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage, and staunchly opposing the War in Iraq. She was also one of the House’s most prolific members, serving at various times on the Appropriations Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and as the Minority WHIP and Minority Leader.
On January 3rd, 2007, Pelosi became the first woman, the first Italian-American, and the first Californian to be elected Speaker of the House. She served through 2011, when Democrats ceded control of the House following the 2010 midterm election. She continues as House Minority Leader.

Related Videos

Shirley Tilghman
Shirley Tilghman
Molecular Biologist & President, Princeton

In 2001, Shirley Tilghman became the first woman president of Princeton University, and only the second female president in the Ivy League. Her appointment capped her prodigious c...

Ruth Simmons
Ruth Simmons
First African-American Ivy League President, Brown

In 2001, Ruth Simmons made history when she became the first African-American president of an Ivy League university, as well as Brown University’s first female president. Pri...

Byllye Avery
Byllye Avery
Women's Health Advocate

For more than 30 years, Byllye Avery has been a health care activist dedicated to bettering the welfare of low-income African American women through self-help groups and advocacy n...

Brenda Butterworth-Carr
Brenda Butterworth-Carr
Commanding Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Brenda Butterworth-Carr's career in law enforcement began in 1987 when she joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a Native Special Constable. After she completed training,...