While the results of the 2018 midterm elections will undoubtably prove to disrupt the political status quo in a myriad of ways, one very obvious difference can be observed simply by looking at the incoming freshmen class of U.S. Representatives, Senators, and Governors. Political offices have traditionally been male-dominated, yet this year a record-breaking number of women were elected to these positions.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, almost 100 women anticipate being sworn in this upcoming January in our nation’s capitol. And while the gains made by women in the Senate are more modest, they are still of great import, with 14 women being sworn in. This brings the upcoming total number of women both the Senate and the House to 121, which is approximately 23% of all seats. (1) While both houses of Congress have a ways to go before reaching truly equal representation of women constituents, the increase from 20% of all seats being held by women currently is undeniably momentous.
While the sheer increase in numbers alone is significant, there are individual women who, in winning their elections, shattered other ceilings as well. For example, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Native American women to be elected to Congress, and both Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be the first Muslim women to win an election. Both Tennessee and Arizona are sending a woman to Congress for the first time ever, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will become the youngest woman ever sent to Congress, at only 29 years old. (2)
Ultimately, in the coming years, women across the nation can look forward to living under the highest ever level of representation in American History, and that is something to celebrate indeed.
(1) Kurtzleben, Danielle. “A Record Number Of Women Will Serve In Congress (With Potentially More To Come).” NPR, NPR, 7 Nov. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/11/07/665019211/a-record-number-of-women-will-serve-in-congress-with-potentially-more-to-come.
(2) Watkins, Eli. “Women and LGBT Candidates Make History in 2018 Midterms.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Nov. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/historic-firsts-midterms/index.html.