The 2016 elections in America, where Donald Trump won defeating Hillary Clinton, marked a significant moment in the history of the country. Following the resistance against his win, primarily led by women, another historic moment will be witnessed on 3rd January 2019. On this day, 126 women, a record number of women are going to become a part of the 116th Congress in US. This is the highest number of women ever to be sworn in as a part of the Congress.
Such a surge in women representation was seen in 1992, hailed as the ‘Year of the Woman’ where the representation in Congress nearly doubled. The reason for this jump is narrowed down to the controversy of sexual assault allegations against a Supreme Court nominee. This incident is mirrored by allegations of misconduct and sexaul assulat against Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
With women leading the change, the 2018 elections have changed the face of the Congress in US. In 2016, around 300 women filed for election representation whereas in 2018, this number rose to 529, with half of them becoming official nominee of their party. Most of these women stood as a part of Democrats. A record 116 women have won from their respective parties and counting the 10 sitting Congress women, the total women representation in Congress stands at 126. Though a significant jump for women, men still form 76% of the Congress- a gender divide which still stands strong.
The winning women candidates come from all across the country, which signifies the presence of the change is not geographically restricted. Among the women who have won, there are many first-time winners. Ilhan Omar, who won from Minnesota, has become the first Muslim-American woman and also the first Somali-American to be elected to Congress. The first ever Native American woman in Congress, Deb Haaland, has won this year from New Mexico. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aged 29, is the youngest woman to be sworn into Congress.