AP Photograph/J. Scott Applewhite
Girls will achieve no less than 14 seats within the 117th Congress, setting a brand new document for feminine illustration.
In 2018, the nation elected 127 ladies – and 48 ladies of coloration – to the Home and Senate. Subsequent Jan. 3, no less than 141 ladies, together with 51 ladies of coloration might be sworn in. Eight races involving ladies had but to be known as as of Nov. 16, that means this quantity might nonetheless develop.
Girls might be no less than 27% of the Home and 24% of the Senate. The Senate numbers don’t embody Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, or Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican concerned in a runoff that may happen after Congress is sworn in. Girls make up 50.52% of the U.S. inhabitants.
A powerful exhibiting by Republican ladies helped drive this pattern, with no less than 36 serving within the subsequent Congress, in comparison with 22 at present.
All through my 20-plus 12 months profession as a political science professor, I’ve studied ladies’s illustration in mayoral, congressional, gubernatorial and presidential elections.
Right here’s my have a look at the feminine demographics of Congress following the 2020 elections.
In it to win it
It’s usually stated that “When ladies run, ladies win,” and 2020 additionally noticed document numbers of girls operating in congressional elections.
In whole, 643 ladies had been candidates in congressional major elections, together with a document variety of Asian or Pacific Islander, Latina, Center Jap or North African and Native American ladies.
Black ladies additionally set a brand new document in 2020 with 117 coming into primaries for the Home and 13 for the U.S. Senate, in keeping with the Heart for American Girls and Politics.
Holding onto beneficial properties
Most of the ladies first elected to Congress in 2018 retained their seats.
All 4 members of “the Squad” had been reelected. These ladies – Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib – are Democratic ladies of coloration identified for his or her progressive insurance policies, together with the Inexperienced New Deal.
Additionally re-elected had been ladies first elected in 2018 like Illinois Democrat Lauren Underwood, winner in a predominantly white Republican district; Jahana Hayes, the primary Black lady to signify Connecticut; and Georgia’s Lucy McBath, Democratic winner in a district that had been held by Republicans for nearly 4 many years.
These re-elections show that their victories in 2018’s “pink wave” weren’t a fluke and that they’ve actual endurance in Congress.
In some 2020 congressional races, African American ladies ran towards one another – an indication of their robust participation. For instance, Florida’s Val Demings, Florida’s Frederica Wilson and Georgia’s Nikema Williams – who will succeed the late civil rights icon John Lewis – received their congressional races after defeating different Black ladies.
AP Photograph/Jeff Roberson, File
The freshman class within the Home of Representatives will embody no less than 26 ladies serving their first time period.
Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist, turned Missouri’s first Black congresswoman. She represents a district that features the cities of St. Louis and Ferguson, the location of the police killing of African American teenager Michael Brown in 2014. Ferguson additionally elected its first Black and first feminine mayor this 12 months.
Bush defeated African American U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay. Clay and his father represented the district for over 50 years.
Different ladies of coloration becoming a member of the Home for the primary time embody former Telemundo journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican who unseated Donna Shalala in Florida, and lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat from New Mexico.
Marilyn Strickland, the previous mayor of Tacoma, Washington, would be the first Korean American lady elected to Congress and the primary Black consultant from Washington State.
Some underdogs didn’t make it
So who misplaced?
Arkansas’ Joyce Elliott, a former instructor and veteran state legislator, got here up quick in her bid to grow to be the primary African American congressional member from Arkansas.
Florida’s Pam Keith, a navy veteran and lawyer, misplaced by a large margin to her Republican opponent.
Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the primary African American member of the North Carolina Supreme Courtroom whose federal judicial nomination by Barack Obama was blocked by Republicans, didn’t win a seat in Congress.
Additionally arising quick was Tennessee’s Marquita Bradshaw, a single mom and environmental activist who would have been Tennessee’s first Black feminine congressional member if she had received.
California’s Tamika Hamilton, Georgia’s Vivian Childs, Maryland’s Kimberly Klacik and Ohio’s Lavern Gore are all Republicans who ran in largely city Democratic districts, however none received on election evening. All Black feminine congresswomen – aside from Utah’s Mia Love, who served two phrases within the Home – have been Democrats, suggesting that the trail to victory is particularly steep for Black Republican ladies.
Candace Valenzuela would have grow to be the primary Afro Latina in Congress, however misplaced her race for Texas’ twenty fourth congressional district to Republican Beth Van Duyne, a former Trump administration official.
Though they misplaced, their candidacies trace that extra ladies of coloration will proceed to run for Congress as each Democrats and Republicans and may win subsequent time.
A white man’s authorities?
For many of its historical past, the members of each Homes of Congress have been white males.
The monotony started to interrupt in 1916 when Montana’s Jeannette Rankin received election as the primary feminine congresswoman. In 1964, Hawaii’s Patsy Mink turned the primary Asian American elected to congress. The primary Latina, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, was elected in 1989.
In 1968, the late Shirley Chisholm turned the primary Black lady to serve in Congress. 4 years later, two extra Black ladies arrived in Congress, Barbara Jordan of Texas and Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke of California.
Chisholm known as Black ladies “catalysts for change” in politics. Rep Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, as soon as tweeted, “I can’t be intimidated and I’m not going wherever.”
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Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality suggests Black ladies are discriminated towards due to the “intersection” of their racial, gender and sophistication identities. One result’s that they encounter disadvantages when operating for workplace.
Among the ladies I’ve talked about confronted disadvantages associated to their race, gender or class when operating towards well-funded incumbents. But, my work within the subject of girls and politics additionally means that the lengthy custom of Black feminine political management in America is gaining momentum. Regardless of some ladies’s losses, their illustration has, and can proceed to, improve in Congress.
Sharon Austin doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.