16 Women Added To Congress, After November Elections


Caption: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigns in New York in 2018

Clara Gomes, Editor

As a result of the midterm elections held Tuesday, November 6th, a record number of women across the country will be heading to Congress. Women have never held more than 84 seats, but as of this week with the addition of 16, there are now 100 women are in office. Democrats who helped their party take over the chamber, have been successful in their campaigns. Laura Kelley, democratic state senator of Kansas, whom has defeated Republican, Kris Kobach, Gretchen Whitmer, Stacy Abrams, and Jennifer Wexton are a few prominent women who have achieved seats in the chamber. 

Women legislators have been found to make a large difference in their districts. According to a study from UC Berkeley’s Sarah Anzia and University of Chicago’s Christopher Berry, female legislators were actually able to support their districts with $49 million more annually than their male counterparts could. Furthermore, other than the amount of money that women were able to bring back, it is also the reason behind their candidacy that draws in supporting voters. Kelly Dittmar, a political science professor and scholar at Rutgers University’s Center for Women in politics, claims that, when politicians are asked about why they decided to go into politics, more women would discuss specific policies they are passionate about, whereas men would reply by talking about how they want to be elected officials.

“I feel like if there are more women in Congress,” states freshman, Lindsey Donston, “then they will have more of a say about women in the workplace and they will help women because they empathize with them on a closer level.”

In a decisive primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Latina in New York, has defeated incumbent Joseph Crowley. Alexandria is the youngest women ever elected to Congress, the young woman receiving much praise and recognition for her leadership position.

But Ocasio-Cortez is not the only woman to have been the first of her kind during this year’s midterm elections. Other women, such as Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman, and Ilhan Omar, who went from Kenyan refugee to the U.S. politician, are now Congresswoman.

“I think that the new amount of women in Congress is a good thing because it shows how women are no longer overlooked when it comes to political issues in the country,” says SWHS freshman, Riley Castle. People are excited about the changes in diversity among representatives in Congress.