Dianne Feinstein, a trailblazer & pioneer in US politics, dies aged 90

Last week, Dianne Feinstein, the longest serving female US senator in history, died at the age of 90. Serving for more than three decades, Feinstein was the oldest member of the US senate.
03 October 2023
Photo: Celeste Sloman/The New York Times/Redux

Dianne Feinstein was a trailblazer for women in US politics, a statement from Ms Feinstein’s office read that she was “a force of nature who made an incredible impact on our country and her home state”. The statement further added that, “she left a legacy that was undeniable and extraordinary.” 

Electected San Francisco’s mayor in 1978, Ms Feinstein became the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, where she also led a years-long review of the CIA’s interrogation programme of foreign terrorists, a controversial interrogation in the wake of 9/11.

US President, Joe Biden, made a statement after her death, saying that Ms Feinstein, “made history in so many ways, and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations.”

Dianne Feinstein was a well known vocal advocate for gun control measures and as a supporter of the assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994, by then President Bill Clinton.

Ms Feinstein was a woman who made a lot of historical firsts, such as the first woman to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first female chair of the Senate Rules Committee. However, Ms Feinstein was more than aware of the challenges she faced as a woman in US politics. Speaking to CNN in 2017, she said that “being a woman in our society even today is difficult. I know it in the political arena.” “We went from two women senators when I ran for office in 1992 to 24 today – and I know that number will keep climbing.”