The Liberator

Blue wave brings new women to Congress

Megan Ramsey, Staff Writer

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One hundred seventeen women were elected or appointed to congress in 2019. Thirty six are new members. Six are on track to lead House committees in the new term. This is a monumental time in history, not only because we have so many new women in Congress, but because of what this diversity means for the future.

These women are already pushing for a change that will create a more equal and tolerant country. We now have a historically diverse group of representatives who will offer up new perspectives and points of view. These are the kinds of people I want representing me because I know that when they make policy decisions, they will have the best interest of all Americans in mind. This country can be so much better, and the election of so many women in Congress gives me back some of the hope I once lost.

The first woman elected to the House of Representatives was Jeannette Pickering Rankin in 1916. Following the 2018 midterms, there are now 102 women in the House and 25 in the U.S. Senate. While this is the kind of progress I want to see, there are a total of 435 representatives and 100 senators, the majority of whom are still white men. It is important to have more women in Congress because they represent the U.S. and will provide an important perspective when decisions are made on issues such as women’s rights that don’t affect men. America is a diverse country, and it is not in the best interest of all people (minorities ,women and even white men) for one select group acting from their specific perspective to hold the power to make decisions that can negatively impact the lives of the marginalized.

Having more women and people of color in Congress should be normalized. America is incredibly diverse and 50.8 percent of the U.S. is female, but only 23.7 percent of Congress is female. Congress is also overwhelmingly white. There are too many white men who have had control of the legislature and have misrepresented us for too long. I will not be satisfied until we’re all represented equally so legislation can finally be passed to move closer toward complete equality. Leaders that match the diversity of the country are critical to proper representation.

Democrats made history by electing 89 women to Congress. These trailblazing women have overcome the barriers of sexism and racism in their professional careers and deserve their positions. I believe that they’re in it for the betterment of society.

Among the 36 new women sworn into the House is Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest congresswoman in history. She was in the working class before becoming a Representative. She is a Democratic-Socialist and has embraced her radical label because as she explained, the only people who can cause change are radicals like the feminists in the 60s.

Senator Kamala Harris, the second black woman to be elected senator, was reelected. Harris also announced her 2020 campaign for President. She is a great candidate to directly challenge Trump and oppose his blatant sexism and racism. She is not afraid to speak truth to power. She works for people of color, immigrants, and refugees, and for the defense and advocacy of social justice.

The first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has returned to her position. In her time in congress, Pelosi has been a supporter of issues such as women’s rights and clean air. She has also helped pass groundbreaking legislation.

The first female Muslim congresswomen, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to the House of Representatives. After 181 years, a ban was lifted on head coverings as a preemptive move for Representative Omar’s term. House members like Omar, who wears a headscarf, can now wear head coverings for religious reasons. Tlaib started her term by exercising her freedom of speech providing her opinions on Trump, resulting in a petition created by a Florida city Commissioner to have her removed from Congress (who said she wouldn’t be surprised if Tlaib blew up Capitol Hill). While the commissioner was reprimanded, Tlaib’s treatment is representative of the xenophobia and type of rhetoric those breaking the glass ceiling in our government face. This is why America is beginning to symbolize bigotry in the age of Trump’s presidency.

The first Native American congresswomen, Representatives Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids, were sworn into office. Haaland advocates for Native Americans and supports working across the aisle. Davids is Kansas’ first openly LGBTQ+ representative. This is the first time Native American women are explicitly represented in Congress.

These women are fearless, and far-right conservatives should be afraid because the time of the patriarchy’s rule is coming to a close. We don’t need close-minded people representing us. We need people who are just and doing what’s best for the future of everyone, not their own interests. The blue wave in the house showed that this is what the people want.

Women like Harris are good examples of senators who are using their position for justice. Harris has stuck with her deep running push for social justice and has made real progress on the issues she cares about. Along with a few other senators, Harris introduced a bill to create a policy for federal prisons to provide tampons and pads to inmates. Now that we have the first Muslim congresswomen, the first Native American congresswomen, and the first black congresswoman, others will be inspired and look to them as role models. The more representation we have, the less constricted children will feel when they come up with their dreams for the future. They will be able to see people in positions of power who remind them of themselves and who came from a background like their own. It will no longer feel like public office is a place solely for the privileged upper-class elite.

The women in Congress are strong leaders. They’re tenacious. Pelosi doesn’t back down. Ocasio-Cortez shifts an attempted slander into something that makes her more relatable and likable. Omar and Tlaib come at a time when having the first Muslim women sworn into Congress is incredibly important because of the xenophobia in America. Muslims are being represented and they have role models that allow them to see themselves in positions of power. The first true Americans, the Native Americans, are taking the power they deserve in the land the colonizers stole.

At the State of the Union, congresswomen stood boldly in white, reminiscent of the suffragettes. This shows that they will be noticed and heard. They will continue making statements and fighting for the people.

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Blue wave brings new women to Congress