Updated April 10, 2021
The Cabinet of the United States has had 36 female officers. You can see the full listing of female cabinet and cabinet-level appointees can be seen at Wikipedia List of Female US Cabinet Members.
Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in the Cabinet. She was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She has the distinction of being the longest serving person in that office. She served 12 years. Her most important role came in developing a policy for Social Security in 1935. Source: Wikipedia – Frances Perkins.
Oveta Culp Hobby became the second woman to serve in the Cabinet when she was named head of the then newly formed Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953. She had also served as the first director of the Women’s Army Corps. Source: Wikipedia – Oveta Culp Hobby.
The Education Department was split off from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1979. Patricia Robert Harris, the last head of the combined department, took the new role as the head of Health and Human Services. Before she became a Cabinet head, Ms. Harris had been the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In 1979, she became the first female appointed in two different Cabinet posts during the single administration. Harris was the first African American woman to serve in a Cabinet position. Source: Wikipedia – Patricia Roberts Harris.
When Condoleezza Rice, also a woman of color, was appointed Secretary of State in 2005, she became the highest-ranking woman in the United States presidential line of succession in history. Source: Wikipedia – Condoleezza Rice.
Aída M. Álvarez is a Puerto Rican businesswoman and was the first Latina woman to hold a United States Cabinet-level position, as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. She was appointed in 1997 during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Source: Wikipedia – Aida Alvarez.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, also Hispanic, served as the 24th Administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2014 to 2017. She was born in Mexico. Source: Wikipedia – Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Jovita Carranza also served as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2020 to 2021 and was the highest ranking Hispanic woman in the Trump administration. Source: Wikipedia – Jovita Carranza.
Hilda Solis became the first Hispanic woman to serve as a regular U.S. cabinet secretary when she became the Secretary of Labor in 2009. Source: Wikipedia – Hilda Solis.
Elaine Chao was the first Asian American woman to serve in the Cabinet. She served as Secretary of Labor in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2009 and then as Secretary of Transportation in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2021. Source: Wikipedia – Elaine Chao.
Deb Haaland is the first Native American woman Cabinet member. In March 2021, she was confirmed as the Secretary of Interior and is the first Native American to serve in that role. Source: Wikipedia – Deb Haaland.
Nikki Haley served in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018. She is the first woman of Indian-American descent to serve in a cabinet ranked position. Source: Wikipedia – Nikki Haley.
Katherine Chi Tai is an American attorney serving as the 19th United States Trade Representative since March 18, 2021. She is the first Asian-American and first woman of color to serve in the position. Source: Wikipedia – Katherine Tai.