When the 116th Congress is sworn into office this winter, there will be a record 121 women and counting ready to take their seats. The 2018 midterm elections showed America countless firsts, giving voice to groups who previously lacked visibility at the highest level of political representation. We saw gains in racial, religious and sexual diversity across the board. 84 women of color ran for Congress or Governor, up 42% from previous elections and a massive shift in the demographics of U.S. Congress. A more diverse Congress is a Congress that represents a real America.
Sharice Davids, a member of the LGBTQ community, joined Deb Haaland among the first Native American women elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were the first Muslim women elected to Congress, ushering in a new era of religious diversity. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest member of Congress, followed closely by Abby Finkenauer. Sharice Davids, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are just a few of the names now enshrined in national history. While gender parity remains a distant reality, the diverse and well-qualified showing of female candidates in 2018 signifies a promising step forward in a time of political turmoil.