It’s always a great day to be a woman, but the results of the 2012 election just made it all the more amazing.
This coming January, there will be 81 women in Congress, more than our country’s history has ever seen. Included in this mix is newly elected Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin, who will be the first openly gay United States Senator ever.
This is excellent news for a nation whose gender gap in government has been pretty prodigious despite minor gains such as this most recent one. According to the official 2012 Gender Gap report put out by the World Economic Forum, the U.S.’ rank dropped from 17th to 22nd. With this recent increase in female representation in government however, this ranking is expected to improve.
Despite the small gains made with the results of this most recent election, there is still more work to be done. One of the biggest issues now facing women is not just representation, but equal representation in both major parties.
Many felt that the Republican Party’s campaign this year was a “war on women.” Their harsh policies on restricting abortions, limiting funding for Planned Parenthood and cutting down on insurance coverage of contraceptives were not well received by women nationwide. This was definitely reflected in the election results which show an overwhelming amount of women supported President Barack Obama at the polls.
It’s going to take a lot of work from the Republicans to demonstrate that they in fact support women and their choices, as well as selecting prospective women to represent them in government on a much bigger scale.
But for the women currently at the helm, there are those who believe that advocating for the rights of women should be the top priority of every female legislator’s list. However, others would argue that doing so would neglect the rights of all the other citizens that these women were elected to represent. It will be fascinating to see how these women balance the various roles they have as lawmakers and women.
With the increase of women in Congress there are many now looking to the possibility of a woman filling the big chair in the oval office in 2016. Women voters are very eager to see Hillary Clinton or another strong female politician run for president in the next election. A female president would inspire today’s young girls to consider careers in politics and public service. While at the same time, giving women an immense amount of political say in the streets of Washington and across the country.
The results of this election gives women a reason to celebrate, but it also gives all citizens a reason to work harder for more equality in government. This small win reinforces the fact that women have a long way to go in the name of gender equality in government. However, it also reinforces just how dedicated and determined women all across the country are to seeing this goal through to victorious end.