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Cracking the Congressional Glass Ceiling

After seeing a record number of women elected to congress in the midterm elections, two women have further cracked the durable and stubborn congressional glass ceiling.

Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, and Rep. Kay Granger, a Texas Republican, will lead the House Appropriations Committee. For the first time in history, two women will chair an essential, permanent House committee. The House Appropriations Committee is responsible for controlling spending; it is central in dictating congressional power. Members have immense influential power over government finances and funding and thus hold very coveted positions. Together, Granger and Lowey will run one of the most powerful committees in Congress. They will lead discussions regarding the funding for the next fiscal year as well as conduct negotiations surrounding a two-year agreement, in an attempt to avoid a reduction in spending.  

It is worth noting, prior to 1977, there were two instances in which women did actually hold temporary positions in limited House committees. Two women led the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop (which was disbanded in 1977). Further, in 2015, two women led a select panel charged with investigating Planned Parenthood. These facts clue the public into the homogenous and misogynistic history of our government.

Lowey is the first female chair alongside Granger who is the first female ranking republican in the house. In selecting Granger to the Appropriations Committee, Republicans sent a powerful message: they are making efforts to advance women in the House. As the number of Democratic women in the House increased by twenty-eight, Republicans saw a decrease in female representatives by ten. The GOP fell behind among female voters in the midterms. Therefore, Granger’s selection is significant.  

Both women are extremely accomplished legislators. Lowey has worked to strengthen first responders’ resources and training and improve access to health care and education, among other successes. Some of Granger’s achievements have surrounded supporting national security, global stability and global health.

Granger and Lowey are collaborating in an extremely turbulent, partisan political climate. With the 2020 election looming, Granger and Lowey have formed an unlikely yet strong partnership. Even though Lowey votes very liberally while Granger is vehemently conservative, the two women have been predominant in the current border security conversation. Lowey and Granger reported that they would have developed a bipartisan agreement much sooner had they both been central from the beginning. They were successful in developing an agreement that appeased both the Democratic and Republican stipulations: 1.375 billion dollars provided for funding a physical barrier along the America-Mexico border that could not include a concrete wall. CNN reported that when addressing her work with Granger, Lowey stated “we're going to show how well two women can get things done."

Lowey and Granger are spearheading women’s representation in government. In an interview with CNN, Granger said, “I never want to be elected because I’m a woman. I never want to be excluded because I’m a woman. I went into it that way, saying I can do the best job. I have the best experience. I had the broadest experience. I'd served on eight of the subcommittees, the 12 subcommittees.” Their nominations resemble progress, a fracture in the glass ceiling. There is an incredibly long road ahead towards equal voice and opportunity, yet every demolition begins with an initial crack.   










An aspiring journalist.
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