In 2020, more women ran for national office in America than in any other year in history. Most prominently, Kamala Harris became Vice-President. With Nancy Pelosi already having previously broken through the glass ceiling to become Speaker of the House, this is the first time in history that the two people next in the line of succession to the presidency are women.
Women holding seats in Congress rose from 127 in 2019 to 142 in 2021, including a record 30 women of color, two Muslim women, and two LGBTQ members. With the elevation of Kathy Hochul as successor to a disgraced Andrew Cuomo in New York, there are now nine women governors around the country, tying a record first set in 2004.
Still, women in policy-making positions are greatly outnumbered by men. The incremental nature of women’s emergence in positions of leadership is underscored by the the number of firsts represented by current women lawmakers: first female, Black, and South Asian Vice-President; first female Speaker of the House; first female Muslims in Congress; first disabled woman in Congress; first women mayors and other municipal officials in some cities; first women governors and senators from some states; and first Black women in many leadership positions. (Read about 36 Black women who changed American history.)
While the balance of women to men in politics is still heavily weighted with white men, the emergence of women is important. Studies show that women leaders are likely to be more focused on family, health, and education; more likely to be peacemakers and coalition builders; and more likely to increase citizen trust in government. In this perilous time, these qualities have particular value. (Good habits start young: These are 50 famous women who were once Girl Scouts.)
To create a list of women lawmakers you should know, 24/7 Wall St. gathered information from the webpages of elected officials and various other online sources, including Biography and On the Issues. We limited our choices to currently elected officials at various levels of government, excluding former lawmakers and political influencers.
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