Here’s how women made history in Election 2016

While the number of women in the U.S. Congress is not expected to change significantlyonce all the votes are counted from last month’s election, several women will make history by joining that body. The U.S. Senate will add Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator; Tammy Duckworth, the first female senator to have seen combat and only the second Asian-American senator; and Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American senator and the second African-American woman to serve in the Senate. The House of Representatives will also welcome Pramila Jayapal and Stephanie Murphy, female members of South-Asian descent.

Other election victors include Kate Brown, Oregon’s new governor, and Ilhan Omar, elected to Minnesota’s state legislature. Mrs. Omar, who spent four years at a Kenyan refugee camp before migrating to the United States, will be the country’s first Somali-American lawmaker. Describing her win, she said, “This was a victory for that 8-year-old in that refugee camp…. This was a victory for every person that’s been told they have limits on their dreams.”

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, women will make up less than 20 percent of the next Congress, with 21 of the 100 Senate seats and 83 of the House’s 435 seats. While these latest additions will not erase the gender disparity, they are welcome and a step in the right direction. At a time when many see Hillary Clinton’s loss as a setback for women in politics, these women, all Democrats, serve as symbols of hope within the party. In coming elections, we hope to see more women leaders emerge—on both sides of the aisle.

Henry George
4 months 3 weeks ago
We are told that we should not discriminate due to gender, racial background, nation of origin. Fine. Treat each person equally but then why does America want us to vote more women, members of ethnic minorities into Congress ? Shouldn't America just wish that we vote in the best qualified and most Christian politician ? As for Kamala Harris - well her father was an immigrant from Jamaica - so her ancestors on her father's side - are not "African-Americans" but "Jamaican - Americans" if these monikers matter - which they should not - as God made us all.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A rally hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for a Nebraska Democrat prompted a flurry of questions about the party's pro-choice orthodoxy.
Michael O'LoughlinApril 24, 2017
Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello waves to supporters at a rally on April 20.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
The expulsion of pro-life candidates may doom the Democrats to minority status.
Robert David SullivanApril 24, 2017
Miroslava Breach Velducea. Photo courtesy of Patricia Mayorga.
Four attacks on reporters in such a short timespan have shocked Mexico, already a country press freedom organizations say is one the most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere for journalists.
Jan-Albert HootsenApril 24, 2017
At Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew, a shrine to modern martyrs, Pope Francis presided over an evening prayer service April 22, honoring Christians killed under Nazism, communism, dictatorships and terrorism.