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Midterm Elections Were Groundbreaking For Women in Politics

History has been made in the United States. More women than ever before have won seats in Congress.

Some races have yet to be officially called as of November 12th, but so far 112 women have won in the House of Representatives and Senate. The previous record for women elected in the midterms was 107. In total, 277 women ran for Congress and governor.

Following the 2016 election, a record-breaking number of women expressed interest in participating in politics. Emily’s List saw outreach from 42,000 women this election cycle. In 2016, only 920 women expressed interest.

So, who are some of the women in this record-breaking number?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made history by being the youngest woman to be elected to congress. At 29, Ocasio-Cortez won the race for New York’s 14th Congressional District. A Democrat, she based her platform on justice-system reform, a single-payer healthcare system, and free public education nationwide.

Ayanna Pressley has made history, too. She is the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts after beating 10-year incumbent Michael E. Capuano. Pressley’s slogan, “Change can’t wait,” mirrors her goals for what she will accomplish in her new position. Pressley is seeking immigration reform, equality for women within the workplace, and investing in the rebuilding of infrastructure.

Rashida Tlaib, who came to the United States at 14 from Somalia, won in Michigan. Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar have become the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Tlaib’s platform was based on an increased minimum wage, more funding for public schools, and healthcare for all.

This victory isn’t just symbolic, either. It is sure to bring about change across the country. With more women in Congress, there will be more equal representation. Issues that have seldom been discussed over the last few years will be brought to the table.

Multiple studies have found that when women hold positions of political power, they raise more policies for women’s health issues than men in the same positions.

Additionally, a study conducted by Sarah Anzia of UC Berkeley and Christopher Berry of University of Chicago showed that women legislators bring $49 million more to their respective districts compared to men in the same position. Women in politics know how to get the job done.

Kelly Dittmar, political science professor at Rutgers University’s Center for Women in Politics, stated, “We can’t predict X, Y, Z policy will pass, but we can safely say that there will be issues brought to the table that have otherwise not been there. Having more diverse perspectives among the women in office will ensure that more women in the electorate are better represented.”

It’s safe to say change is coming within the United States. With more women in politics, women around the country will be better represented and issues that have gone undiscussed will finally be addressed.

Women made history this past Election Day, but they will surely do it over and over again within their new positions in Washington.

Featured Image by Marco Oriolesi on Unsplash

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