Even with a few races yet to be concluded, one clear winner emerged from the latest US election: representation. Specifically, female representation. Nearly 4,000 women ran in federal and state races—an unprecedented number.
In the House, 102 women have already been confirmed, with seven more still in the running. In the Senate, 23 women will serve (the same number as now), and one more might join them—24 would set a new record. The potential is for near-25% female representation in Congress—not nearly enough, granted, but nevertheless outstanding. Plus there will be at least nine female governors (possibly 10, depending on the result of Georgia’s election).
Meanwhile, of the 138 elected or appointed men who were accused of sexual harassment in the last election cycle, more than 100 have left office, overwhelmingly in the wake of #MeToo. Of them, three were voted out this past election. Two lost to women.
Among the women emerging victorious this week are Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland, the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar (a refugee from Somalia) are the first two Muslim women to be elected to the House. Angie Craig will be the first openly gay mother to join Congress.
It isn’t just America where such progress is being seen. In New Zealand this year, prime minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth while in office. And in London this week, 120 female politicians from around the world gathered in the House of Commons to mark 100 years since women won the right to vote—and run for office—in the UK. They came from Gambia, Afghanistan, and over 80 other countries.
The accomplishments of such women are more than incremental gains for their respective parties. They are the evidence of change. Political progress toward equality is as incremental as it is relentless. One battle at a time, the war is being won.
This was published in the weekend edition of the Quartz Daily Brief, a news summary tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe and Africa, or the Americas. Sign up for it here.