By Cynthia Terrell on January 04, 2019
Ms. Pelosi, surrounded by her grandchildren and the children of other members of Congress, on her first day as speaker in 2007. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times Read the full story
To the left of the dais — the Democratic side — the typical sea of men’s suit jackets was balanced by pops of green, blue and white worn by women. Bald heads alternated with bobbed haircuts. Scanning the rows, the record number of women and lawmakers of Hispanic, Asian and African American heritage who will serve this term was clear.
To the right of the dais — the Republican side — older white men occupied nearly every seat. Visually, granddaughters provided most of the contrast.
Freshman Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) compared the scene to “an old movie.” A former state legislator, she enters Congress as one of four women representing Pennsylvania. Last term, there were none.
“It means a lot,” Dean said of the new women in the House. “I’m optimistic because I believe that what that kind of diversity will bring is problem-solving.”
Ultimately we must face the reality that the systems which oppress women and limit our access to power are not actually broken, but are working exactly as intended — and that it is our collective responsibility to build the world we deserve, not just women's.
We cannot celebrate another "Year of the Woman" and then wait 25 more years to make significant progress. We cannot wait for another wave of brave women to buck systems that attempt to silence us, only to fail yet again, to prevail. Power concedes nothing without demand. We need to demand more, and keep demanding this year and beyond.
- Pennsylvania Legislature reconvenes with record number of female lawmakers The Pennsylvania Legislature began session Tuesday with a record number of female lawmakers. Many of them took the oath of office for the first time during ceremonies marked with solemn traditions and family joy. The 63 women now serving in the House and Senate make up a quarter of the state’s 253 lawmakers during the 2019-20 legislative session.
- 2019 Portends Huge Opportunities for Democratic Gains in Virginia Should Boysko win, then there will be a special election to fill her seat in the House of Delegates, where the Democrats pulled within one seat of controlling the House by picking up 15 seats in November 2017. They’ve been buoyed by the pickup of four seats — all by women — in this November’s U.S. Congressional races, led by Wexton, to take control of seven of the state’s 11 Congressional seats. That was part of the party’s pickup of 40 House seats overall to win a majority for the upcoming U.S. Congress that convenes right after the new year.
- Top 10 Hartford Courant Stories Of 2018 No. 4: Women win office in record numbers The shift in gender balance this year, the wave of "boundary-breaking women" heading to Washington, D.C., will now shift the country's political narrative, said Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University. "The significance of these wins is bigger than just their identity," she said. "The real gain is what they bring to the table on issues like economic development, health care, education, reproductive rights and immigration."
- Michigan's 100th legislature gains women, scientists Women and scientists are making gains in the Michigan legislature in the new session starting January 1. Women are going from 34 seats to 42 in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, women gain seven seats, going from four to eleven. Each chamber is picking up at least three new members with a science, medical, or engineering background. Laurie Pohutsky is a microbiologist and the incoming Democratic representative from Livonia. She says her science knowledge will inform her work on issues like the environment and women's health. "Just someone to advocate for evidence-based policy I think is very, very important. So I'm really excited to have a chance to do that," says Pohutsky.
In Missouri, where Republicans enjoyed and retained veto-proof majorities for both chambers, Democrats only picked up one seat in the Senate in 2018.
Last year, women made up 23 percent of the Missouri General Assembly. This year, they will make up about 25 percent.
Mills is the first woman to occupy the governor’s office in a state with a long history of electing women to every other top post. In her speech, Mills paid tribute to other Maine women who broke free of conventional roles, from fly-fishing icon Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby to the late U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.
Mills said she has received many letters since winning the election in November, but one from an 8-year-old girl named Lucy resonated with her.
“‘Now I feel like I could become governor someday,'” Mills said Lucy wrote to her.