Friday, November 16, 2018 | ePaper

US midterm election sees record number of women elected into Congress

  • Print


Native American and Muslim women will join Congress for the first time alongside the youngest Congresswomen.

AFP, New York :
The US election has swept a record number of women into Congress, fired up by disgust of Donald Trump, emboldened by the #MeToo movement and making the Democratic Party more diverse and younger than ever.
The class of 2019 includes the youngest congressional women in history, 29-year-olds Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and Abby Finkenauer from Iowa, as well as the first two Native American women, and the first two Muslim women, Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib and Somali-American Ilhan Omar.
With results still trickling in, at least 120 women will serve in Congress, a record 98 in the House of Representatives and 22 in the Senate, says the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
The previous House record was 85. The wins bump up female representation in the lower house to at least 23 percent, still dismal in the world rankings.
"The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America," said former president Barack Obama, praising the record number of women, a surge in minority lawmakers and record voter turnout. The vast majority of newly elected women are Democrats. They include veterans, a former CIA operative, a teacher who grew up the daughter of a drug addict, a one-time bartender and dozens of first-time candidates.
Many jumped into politics, outraged that Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, often considered the most qualified presidential candidate in history, while boasting of grope and accused of sexual misconduct.
Many were appalled by what they consider Trump administration abuses-attempts to roll back health care, restrict abortion rights, separate migrant families at the border and threaten environmental protections.
"Until this heartless administration is held accountable for their numerous injustices, we will not stop," tweeted Donna Shalala, a former Clinton cabinet minister who defeated a Republican woman in a Florida congressional seat by championing public education, health care and social security. Distinctive is the success of women of color. Connecticut and Massachusetts each elected their first African American women into Congress.
Another two Democrats made history as the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas, a deeply red state. Omar, elected from Minnesota, emigrated to the United States as a child after fleeing war-torn Somalia.
These are totally new voices "that have never been at the federal policy level and federal policy making table," says Kelly Dittmar, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University and a scholar at CAWP.
Women of color "see the benefits of being in office as outweighing the potential costs and challenges," she told AFP.
"Particularly, they see the cost of not being at the table as greater than the cost of mounting the challenges." Women were also elected governors in Iowa, Maine and South Dakota for the first time, as well as in the territory of Guam. Democrat women flipped Michigan and Kansas, defeating male Republican incumbents.
It means that women are better represented. Research shows that women are more likely to raise policies related to women's health and family than men.
Michigan governor elect Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday attributed her success and that of other women to outworking their opponents and "staying focused on the dinner table issues that really matter to families."
"Health care and clean drinking water in my state. Infrastructure. I know that resonated because it's the most obvious challenge we have as a state and we need a governor that will fix it," she told CNN.
Women are also harder working. A 2010 study by researchers from the universities of Stanford and Chicago found that female legislators brought back $49 million more for their districts per year than male counterparts.

More News For this Category

US could lose war against Russia or China, warns panel

US could lose war against Russia or China, warns panel

AP, Washington :The United States military has "lost its edge" and could potentially lose a war against Russia or China, a report by a bipartisan panel established by Congress

Yemeni govt backs UN peace talks but Hodeida still at risk

Yemeni govt backs UN peace talks but Hodeida still at risk

AFP, Hodeida (Yemen) :Yemen's president has supported a UN push for fresh talks to end almost four years of fighting in his war-torn country, but analysts warn even a

Israel Defence Minister resigns over Gaza ceasefire

Israel Defence Minister resigns over Gaza ceasefire

BBC Online :Israel's defence minister has resigned over the cabinet's decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza.Avigdor Lieberman denounced the move

News In Brief

S Korea dismantles guard posts with dynamite, excavatorsAP, South KoreaSouth Korea exploded a front-line guard post Thursday, sending plumes of thick, black smoke into the sky above the border

Theresa May wins Cabinet backing for Brexit deal

Theresa May wins Cabinet backing for Brexit deal

AFP, London :British Prime Minister Theresa May won the support of her bitterly divided cabinet on Wednesday for a draft divorce deal with the European Union that has put

Sri Lankan lawmakers fight in Parliament over PM dispute

Sri Lankan lawmakers fight in Parliament over PM dispute

AP, Colombo :Rival lawmakers exchanged blows in Sri Lanka's Parliament on Thursday as disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed the speaker had no authority to remove him from office

N Korea hiding missile bases, US researchers say

N Korea hiding missile bases, US researchers say

AFP, Washington :North Korea is operating at least 13 undeclared bases to hide mobile, nuclear-capable missiles, a new study asserted Monday, as progress stalls on US President Donald Trump's signature

News In Brief

China tells world to ignore ‘gossip’ about XinjiangReuters, Beijing The world should ignore "gossip" about China's Xinjiang region and trust authorities there, the government's top diplomat said on Tuesday, when

Nobody can stand in its way in Pacific island cooperation: China

Nobody can stand in its way in Pacific island cooperation: China

Reuters, Beijing :No country can block China's cooperation with island nations in the Pacific and the area is no country's sphere of influence, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday, ahead

Air pollution level becomes severe in New Delhi

Xinhua, New Delhi :The air pollution level in India's capital city New Delhi became severe Tuesday, officials said.According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index