For years women have been outnumbered by men in the political field. Although men still hold the majority in Congress, women are making groundbreaking progress toward leveling the playing field. Following the 2018 Midterm election, women in Congress set several records. There are now more women holding seats than ever before, especially seats representing minorities that had not had a voice in the past. Not only were records surpassed, but these female politicians have shown young women that they can do anything a man can, and then some.
In the most recent election, 110 women were elected seats to the United States Senate. The seats consisted of 81 Democrats and 29 Republicans, with women making up over 20 percent of voting representatives. Representing the minorities, there are 19 black women, 10 Latina, nine Asian American/Pacific Islander, as well as one multiracial woman. Before this year, there had only been 26 other women of color to ever serve in Congress.
Along with a record number of female representatives taking seat, there were many firsts to take note of. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is the first Muslim woman to become a member of Congress, Sharice Davids of Kansas is the first Native-American woman, and Marsha Blackburn and Martha McSally of Tennessee and Arizona were both the first female senators of their respective states.
Janet Mills (Maine), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), and Kristi Noem (South Dakota) were the first women elected to be governor in their states. Ayanna Pressley is the first black woman to serve for Massachusetts, while Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne both defeated male incumbents to become the first female members of the House from Iowa. Veronica Escobar is the first latina woman to serve in Texas, and lastly, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Congress.
Photo: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Long have women been perceived as searching for their political voice. It is not so much that the voice isn’t there, but that it has been underrepresented and disrespected. Women are finally being heard and political changes are most definitely underway. In the next few years, tremendous changes are anticipated regarding the wage gap, abortion and cost of feminine hygiene products.