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Seizing Our Seat at the Table: Women and the 2018 Midterm Elections

The 2018 midterm elections resulted in unprecedented victories for women candidates. As this article from Forbes notes, following a year of intense interest by women to run for office, the 116th United States House session will convene as one of the most diverse groups of elected officials that Congress has ever seen. In fact, as many as 100 women may be seated as Congressional representatives in 2019, which will be the most female elected officials every seated in that legislative body. Three big victories emerged from the 2018 election season: more women donated to campaigns, more women ran for office, and more women won. Only time will tell if more women in office will translate to creating meaningful change, but there’s no doubt that more representation is a step in the right direction to addressing the gender inequality that plagues our society.

Watching the election results roll in and seeing female candidates successfully claim their seat at the table was truly inspiring and made me proud to be a woman. Here are a few of the most inspiring stories that came from the 2018 midterm elections. Can’t wait to see the impact these women make on our country during their time in office.

  • Democrats Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, according CNN and their respective campaigns. Davids identifies as a lesbian, making her the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas as well. She will enter Congress having previously worked as a lawyer and a former mixed martial arts fighter.
  • Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party will become the first Muslim women in Congress. Omar, in addition to being one of the first Muslim women in Congress, will also be the first Somali-American member. She came to the US more than two decades ago as a refugee. As Lin Manuel Miranda says in Hamilton, “immigrants, we get the job done!”
  • Texas sends first Hispanic woman to Congress. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia won a Houston-area district. This almost makes up for the heartbreak Texas delivered by not electing Beto to the Senate (seriously, get it together Texans).
  • Michigan elected an unprecedented number of women. The roles of governor, senator, attorney general, and secretary of state have all been filled by women for the first time ever, with Gretchen Whitmer becoming the second woman to fill the role of governor in the state’s history.
  • Congress welcomed its youngest woman ever. Following her overwhelming win in the primary, 29-year-old New York Democrat and Bronx native Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat the previous record of age 30 on the platform of “democratic socialism.” The state also elected Democrat Letitia James as attorney general, making her both the first woman and the first African American to hold the role.