Disclaimer: This blog post is not to align with one party! It is written to simply acknowledge and celebrate the strides that have been made by women recently, specifically in the elections that took place on November 6th.
On November 6th, history was made in America. Or, perhaps we should say HERstory was made! If you haven’t heard yet, there are now 112 women in Congress - a record number in history. Women were poised to make significant electoral gains in this “Year of the Women” election. Not only do we have more women in the government now, but many diverse women in terms of background, age, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This is the first time in 100 years that women are making their mark in Congress stronger than ever before.
As we get into the depth of Election Day history, we want to note some significant statistics. In 1992, the first “Year of the Women,” 54 women were elected to Congress, making historic records. Since then, women have never held more than 84 of the 435 seats in the House. On Wednesday morning, it was declared that 96 women had officially been declared winners. Nine women won governors’ races. At least 12 women won Senate seats, which brought the total to 21 women. And the numbers are progressively increasing.
Women were diverse from candidates that were black, Latina, and Native American. Even the ages were remarkably diverse ranging from 29-years-old to 60-years-old. They also came from a variety of backgrounds from military veterans and teachers that had never run for office before. It’s clear that these candidates were ready to be the change for the better. Having younger women with fresh ideas are just as valuable as having older women who are experienced in their professions.
A record 33 of Election Day’s matchups for Congress were women versus women such as, for example, Democrat Donna Shalala went against Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida. Some significant candidates and winners include Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids as the first ever Native American women elected, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar as the first Muslim women, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer the youngest women in Congress at the age of 29.
Again, this is not about advocating for one party over the other. This is about one thing:
Women have been elected into office which ensures that there will be more diverse dialogue and advocation regarding critical needs and decisions that will affect them.
The women in this year’s race focused on key issues such as better health care, pledges to better protect the environment and to help stop the rising incivility and divisions among Americans to propel their campaigns. These are important factors that were shed a dim light by some male candidates. One thing to note is that even with the gains, it’s clear that women remain far from having equal representation in Congress. About one in five members of the 116th Congress will be women when it is sworn in next year as women constitute over 50 percent of the U.S. population. However, women were a significant force in taking names and flipping many districts from blue to red and vice versa due to the key issues presented.
Let’s not discredit the voters either. There was a significant increase in younger generations turning out to polls for early voting and on Election Day. This year, the election was plastered all over traditional media outlets, as well as social media. Celebrities and influencers were advocates for Election Day and the results showed it; Midterm elections had never seen such support across platforms before.
With the women empowerment movement at an all-time high, the time couldn’t be better. From the ‘Me Too’ campaigns to the unforgettable women’s march that occurred in NYC, our voices have created a roar that 2018 will remember for generations to come. The nation is slowly progressing to a new future. One full of unlimited possibilities and equality. The future is female and a huge congrats to all the wonderful women who made history, err ... HERstory, this week.