This month, thousands of women marched around the country in the Third Annual Women’s March. Among them were some of the recently sworn in members of the 116th Congress. These incredibly talented and intelligent women joined the ranks of Congress and made history in the process. The New York Times photographed all 130 women that made history during the midterm elections and printed 27 different versions of the section. “How We Photographed 130 Women of Congress, One by One” by Katie Van Syckle recounts this process and why they decided to document history in such a unique way.
Meet a handful of these powerhouses!
Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American congresswoman and one of the first two Muslim congresswomen in history. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was only 12 years old after fleeing Civil War in Somalia. When she arrived in the United States, she didn’t speak any English...and last year she won District 60B in Minneapolis with 80% of the vote, unseating the longest-serving House Representative in the process.
Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is one of the first two Muslim congresswomen. In 2009 she made history by become the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature. During her campaign last year, her brother bought her a golf cart to aid in campaign efforts, and it helped her reach over 4,000 more people!
Sharice Davids is the first openly LGBTQ Kansan and one of the two Native American woman elected to congress. Davids, a Ho-Chunk Nation member and Cornell Law alumna, has a background in mixed martial arts, which she showcased in one of her campaign videos.
Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna tribe, is one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. She’s a 35th generation New Mexican, and she credits her mother and grandmother for her undeniable strength and grit.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She’s been a trending topic on Twitter at least once a week since she took the political landscape by storm last year. You can catch her on Instagram Live cooking and sharing her opinions on policies, or on Twitter defending her stances.
Jahana Hayes is Connecticut’s first black Congresswoman. She became a mother at age 17 and comes from an impoverished background. Despite the adversity she’s faced — or perhaps because of it — she has developed the strength to overcome many obstacles. She has a master’s degree and was named National Teacher of the Year in 2016.
Ayanna Pressley is Massachusetts’ first black Congresswoman. She began speaking out against systems of oppression at an early age, once leading a powerful race relations conversation at her private, predominantly white high school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In 2009, she became the first Black woman to serve on the Boston City Council, and last year, she unseated a 10-term congressman.
These are just a few of the amazing women serving in the U.S. government. If you’re looking for someone new to follow on Twitter, keep up with on Instagram, or be inspired by on a rainy day, these women are a safe bet!
Craving inspiration? Check out InHerSight's blog for more stories of amazing women making waves.
By Gwendolyn Elliott
Gwendolyn Elliott is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Social Media Manager at Mischief Management in New York City. @gwenrenee