A Big Year For Women In Congress

Last week’s midterms caused some anxiety, celebration, and yes, some disappointments on both sides of the aisle. However, regardless of party alignment, it is widely agreed that these elections were a huge win for women.

This year’s midterms have been called “the year of the women”, and for no small reason: Women, specifically minority women, are being represented more than ever. Massachusetts and Connecticut elected their first black woman to congress. Tennessee elected its first woman ever to the senate.  New Mexico and Kansas elected the first Native American women in Congress: Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, respectively. This isn’t Kansas’ only first, as Davids will also be the first openly gay member of Congress from the state.

Across the board, women are making strides for representation and re-shaping Congress to reflect all of America rather than a select few. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands out in this respect, being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The New York congresswoman ran for Congress championing the abolition of ICE, Medicare for all, and common-sense gun legislation among other hot ticket issues. She has recently made the news not just because of her platform and her record-setting youth, but also because she reportedly will not be able to afford a D.C apartment until she begins earning her new salary. Her statement on this drew large support from millennials who feel like she is someone they can relate to.

Rashida Tlaib is another notable winner. She is one of the two first Muslim women in congress, the other being Illhan Omar in Minnesota. She ran opposed in Michigan, and among her priorities were securing a fifteen dollar minimum wage, closing the wage gap and protecting unions.

Illhan Omar is no stranger to breaking glass ceilings; in 2016, she “became the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country”, according to the Washington Post. She immigrated to the United States when she was only twelve years old, and she now has a plethora of legislative accomplishments to her name. Omar’s priorities also include healthcare for all, in addition to amending the criminal justice system and making changes in the political and economics spheres fight climate change.

It is safe to say that Congress is starting to look a lot more like the country it creates its laws for. Although there is still a  ton of work left to do in terms of advancing gender equality, as well as the many other issues that have been historically underrepresented, the women making history in this election give us hope that we can look forward to a brighter future for our government.