11/9/12

Election Brings Record Gains for Women

The 2012 election added a new chapter to a story that began in 1992, when four women, including Californians Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, were elected to the U.S. Senate.

This January, 78 women will be sworn into the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress, the highest number in the chamber's history.

Women also won five Senate races this year, meaning that 61 women, about two-thirds of the Democratic Caucus will be female. The caucus will also include 43 African Americans, 27 Hispanics, 10 Asian Americans and 6 LGBTs.

When Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Democrat Mazie Hirono take office in January, they will become, respectively, the first female senators from Massachusetts and Hawai. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who retired four-term governor Tommy Thompson, will be both the first female and the first openly gay senator from Wisconsin.

In almost every race won by a Democratic woman, the Republicans' repellent social agenda is seen as having played an important role in getting out the woman vote.

Membership in Emily’s List, which works to elect pro-choice women, has quintupled over the past two years, raising $51.2 million dollars to fight the "war on women". The organization coined the phrase in 2011, when the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and tried to outlaw abortion and de-fund Planned Parenthood. (Remember Sandra Fluke?)

GOP Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who made staggeringly insensitive remarks about rape and pregnancy in the run-up to this year's election, felt women's wrath at the polls.

Democratic men also made gains on women's issues. Democrat Chris Murphy trounced Republican Linda McMahon among women voters convinced that McMahon, although she claimed to be pro-choice, would vote with the Republicans to restrict women's health care.

Seen against this backdrop, Andrew Gounardes' and Mark Murphy's losses in Tuesday's election are especially poignant.  Unlike their Republican opponents, Democrats Gounardes and Murphy have credibility on women's issues. With Marty Golden returning to the State Senate and Michael Grimm to the U.S. Congress, Bay Ridge women can count themselves unrepresented in either chamber.

Women voters -- at least those independent enough to choose their own candidates -- must address the fact that Grimm and Golden have faced no political consequences for failing to represent half of their constituency.

The article from Politico.

More from the National Partnership.

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