By Lindsey Ingrey

The first “Year of the Woman” in 1992, was a response to the hearings surrounding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation. A woman named Anita Hill had come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against the Judge. Despite her testimony, Judge Thomas was confirmed. This lead to an unprecedented amount of women candidates running in the 1992 election as they felt marginalized and outraged over the results.

This year, 2018, is the second “Year of the Woman”, a response to President Trump’s election in 2016. Similarly to how they felt in 1992, women were incensed by Trump’s brazen comments about women and the allegations of assault. According to the Rutgers’ Center for Women in American Politics, 22 women have won their primaries so far (fifteen Democrats and seven Republicans), and 23 are still in the running (fifteen Democrats and eight Republicans). While most women are running as Democrats, a record amount, there are still a significant number of female Republican candidates. A high profile example of a woman candidate running for Congress can be found in New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old Latina and democratic socialist beat out House Democratic Caucus chair, Rep. Joe Crowley for the nomination. If elected in November, Ocasio-Cortez could become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

WomenCongress114th_1

This graph displays the number of women Representatives and Senators since 1970. For perspective, there are 435 members in the House and 100 in the Senate. (Graph from Rutgers’ Center for American Women in Politics)

If women candidates like Ocasio-Cortez and her contemporaries are elected in the November Midterm Elections, there would be a larger number of women senators and representatives, and therefore fairer representation of America based on population demographics, as today’s Congress has little ethnic or gender diversity.

Sources:

Caygle, Heather, et al. “Record-Breaking Number of Women Run for Office.”
POLITICO
, 8 Mar. 2018, www.politico.com/story/2018/03/08/women-rule-midterms-443267.

Henderson, Nia-Malika. “The Year of the Woman Is Here. But It’s Not Quite What You Think.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/06/27/politics/year-of-the-woman-politics/index.html.

Liptak, Kevin. “The FBI Did Investigate Anita Hill’s Accusation, and It Took 3 Days.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Sept. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/politics/anita-hill-clarence-thomas-allegations-timeline/index.html.

Nilsen, Ella. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Won a House Primary as a Write-in – for a District She Wasn’t Intending to Run In.” Vox, Vox, 11 July 2018, www.vox.com/2018/7/11/17560252/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-house-primary-new-york-15th-congressional-district-reform-party.

“Potential Candidate Summary – 2018.” CAWP, 9 Oct. 2018, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/potential-candidate-summary-2018.

“Republicans Are Missing out on the ‘Year of the Woman’.” ThinkProgress, 2018, www.thinkprogress.org/republican-women-disparity-midterm-elections-house-candidates-7b762c485dfb/.

“Women in the 114th Congress.” CAWP, 30 Sept. 2015, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/footnotes/women-114th-congress.

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