As 2018 comes to a quick (and relieving) end, it's time to think towards the future. This year has been a tough one to say the least, but judging from the the results of the November midterm elections, it looks like we can expect some much needed change come 2019. Not only have the Democrats taken over the House of Representatives, but there's going to be a lot of new faces in the government. So, for those who are wondering how many incoming members of Congress are women? January can't get here soon enough.
The 2018 November midterm elections were historic for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest triumph was all the women elected to Congress for the upcoming year. Not only that, but the midterms saw a record number of firsts, including the first Native American congresswomen (Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland), first Muslim congresswomen (Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib), first black congresswoman from Massachusetts (Ayanna Pressley), first Latina congresswoman from Texas (Veronica Escobar), and the youngest woman to be elected to Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). So, with all that being said, there will be 42 women as incoming members of Congress for the next year, which is a big (and incredible) deal.
But that's not all — in addition to the incoming freshman members of Congress, a total 116 women were elected to Congress during the 2018 midterms, which serves as a significant jump from the 89 women who were elected in 2016. Add it to the number of women in the Senate still serving out terms, and that means 2019 will see a total of 126 women in the 116th Congress. You have to admit, the future does look promising.
Following the November midterm's historical results, some people have started to call 2018 "The Year Of The Woman part two." I don't know about y'all, but I hope this momentum continues into 2019 and beyond.
There's no denying that these new and diverse faces are bound to shake things up in Washington, D.C. However, it turns out that there are important changes are happening on Capitol Hill, too. According to a November report from Politico, there are plans to add changing tables in the congressional members-only bathrooms at the Capitol, due to the increasing number of moms with young children being elected to Congress. In addition, there's reportedly talks to possibly change voting schedules so that parents can video chat with their kids over dinner, help them with homework, and make it home three days a week.
It's encouraging to see women flooding into Capitol Hill, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to address policies that could impact women in the coming years. During the midterm elections, West Virginia and Alabama voted to pass anti-abortion initiatives that could seriously impact the future of women's reproductive rights. In West Virginia, voters passed Amendment One, ballot initiative which banned Medicaid from funding abortions except in the case of rape, incest, and threat to the mother's life. In Alabama, the Amendment Two initiative would "recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children," per the measure. So, if Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the United States in 1973, ends up being overturned, then that means that women in Alabama could be denied the right to an abortion effective immediately.
Alabama and West Virginia's ballot measures are just one example of how important it is that more women stand up and make their voices heard at Capitol Hill. Slay it, congresswomen.