Written by Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member
On Wednesday, November 6th, the youngest woman ever was elected to serve as a representative in Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worked as a campaign organizer for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, and she catapulted onto the political scene herself when she beat Joseph Crowley (who has won the vote 10 elections in a row) in the summer primaries. Against all odds, she beat Crowley in the primary just a short while after she quit bartending, a job she was working to help support her family. Now, at age 29 Ocasio-Cortez is representing the 14th district of New York and won by a massive margin, earning 78% of the vote.
Although Ocasio-Cortez has an amazing story, that is not where the successes stop for women in politics this election. Historically, there have never been more than 84 women in the House of Representatives at one time. This term, 96 out of 435 seats are filled by women. Furthermore, the diversity of the women elected to gobernal and congressional positions was huge, including the first Native American Congresswomen, first Muslim Congresswomen, the first female governors and first female governors or representative of color in many states.
The advancements of women in this midterm election are astronomical. We, as a society, are giving more power to women and minorities, and this is so important. Admittedly, an increase in 10 seats out of 435 in the House of Representatives is only a 2.2% increase in female power, however this is a trend that we can keep going. We can keep empowering women in politics by electing them and giving them the opportunity to represent us on a statewide, if not national, scale. The more women we get into political positions, the more female influence enters the choices that govern our lives.
Much like STEM, politics is a largely male-dominated field.
We have to help support our political sisters to keep seeing changes like this in the elections. In my mind, this election was all about shattering the glass ceiling and that is what I want to encourage you all to do. Go out and do something that has never been done before, be the next one making international headlines and accomplish what you have been told is impossible. All of you are stars, make sure to show the world just how bright you can shine.