Twenty-four women will be sworn into office today – five new Senators and 19 Congresswomen. To see the full list, check out our Zeen “Welcome Women.” With the addition of these women, the 113th Congress now has 20 women Senators and 81 Congresswomen, record numbers for both legislative bodies. Still, these women together with their colleagues make up just 20 percent of Congress.
We’re making progress, but the goal is a 50/50 split. Our congress should reflect our population. Plus there are other benefits to electing more women into office. Studies show, female politicians secure more dollars for their districts than their male counterparts. Also, “the number of women in leadership positions correlates with the adoption of specific women’s health policies, such as reconstructive breast surgery and extended maternity stays,” according to a report from American University.
And so we are grateful to these women for their service and to Margaret Chase Smith, who on this day in 1949, began her tenure in the Senate, following nine years in the House of Representatives. She was the first woman to serve in both legislative bodies.