Women Continue to Make Strides in the Political Arena

When Hillary Clinton’s name appeared on voting ballots just a few weeks ago, it was the first time in our nation’s history that a woman secured the presidential nomination of a major party. It was about time! But in one of the most controversial and unpredicted elections America has ever seen, Clinton was unable to seize the presidency out from under her opponent, Donald Trump. While Hillary Clinton didn’t get her chance to crack the highest and hardest of glass ceilings on election night, other women in the political arena have recently continued to make huge strides. From Senate races to bids for U.S. representative to governor positions, women of all races, backgrounds, and sexual orientations shattered the glass ceiling into a million pieces when they secured their positions and were re-elected in the ever-changing, complex political arena of the United States. Meet the women who are breaking down gender barriers in politics and providing hope, diversity and balance to our seemingly divided nation:


1. Tammy Duckworth: U.S. Senate (Illinois) Two term congresswoman, Tammy Duckworth, beat out Republican opponent Mark Kirk to secure her role as senator for the state of Illinois. Not only is Duckworth the second Illinois woman to serve in the senate, but she is also the first female war veteran. In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. While in combat, she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. For her outstanding service, Duckworth was awarded a Purple Heart. Yet, Duckworth’s ability to bring a diverse viewpoint to the political sector goes beyond being a war veteran, as she comes from part Chinese and Thai descent. Tammy Duckworth is providing a voice to many underrepresented groups in the Senate and making strides for the Democrats.


2. Catherine Cortez-Masto: U.S. Senate (Nevada) Catherine Cortez-Masto followed in Clinton’s footsteps when she turned Nevada blue and secured her position as senator. Beating out Republican, Joe Heck, Cortez-Masto will be the first Latina to serve in the U.S. senate. Talk about a silver lining to get American through a nail-bitter of an election night! As the former attorney general of Nevada, Catherine will replace current Nevada senator, Harry Reid, following his retirement. Much like Duckworth, Catherine Cortez-Masto will bring her experiences as a Latina woman in this country to create a more unified nation.


3. Kamala Harris: U.S. Senate (California) As the second Black women to ever be elected to the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris is breaking down more than just the gender barriers in politics. As the current Attorney General of California, Harris brings a knowledgeable and experienced background to her position. Kamala Harris will also pass along the ideals of the Democratic Party while in the Senate.     


4. Kate Brown: Governor (Oregon) Yet another historic political moment occurred when Kate Brown was reelected as the first openly LGBTQ senator. As a bisexual woman, Brown gives a voice to individuals of all sexual orientations in political arena. Brown hopes to be a role model for the young people of the LGBTQ community who know that they too could have a future seat in the Senate.


5. Ilhan Omar: State Legislature (Minnesota) Before assuming her position as Minnesota’s newly elected state legislature, Ilhan Omar escaped Somalia’s civil war as a young child. After spending many years in a Kenyan refugee camp, Omar immigrated with her large family to make a home for themselves in America. This strong, former refugee will continue to bring a democratic perspective to the political realm of American society as state legislature.


6. Pramila Jayapal: U.S. House of Representatives (Washington State)  As the first Indian-American woman to be elected into office in the House of Representatives, Pramila Jayapal made history. As an outspoken Democrat, Jayapal isn’t afraid to take stand against the often-controversial ideas of president-elect Donald Trump. To be sure that the voices of all Americans are hard, Pramila Jayapal will continue to push political boundaries while holding a position in Washington’s House of Representatives.