In the upcoming session of the U.S. Senate, more women than ever before will take part in federal lawmaking.
Following this year’s election, the number of female Senators rose from 17 to 20, the highest number in history.
Nine of those 20 Senators were not up for re-election this year. These include Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire; Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California; Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine; Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina; Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Lousiana; Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington; Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire; and Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland. Mikulski is in her fifth term, making her the longest serving female Senator in history.
Of the five who were newly elected this year, there were a number of firsts. One example is newly elected Maize Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii. Senator-elect Hirono will be serving as the first Asian-American woman to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin will join the upper-chamber as the first openly-gay person to be elected to U.S. Senate.
Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, a Republican, who was the first female Senator Nebraska has elected since 1954. Fischer upset popular incumbent, Democrat Bob Kerrey.
North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat, will be serving as North Dakota’s first-ever elected female.
Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, became the states first woman elected to U.S. Senate after defeating incumbent Republican Scott Brown.
The remaining six seats occupied by women resulted from re-election.
Democrat Dianne Feinstein was elected to serve her 4th term as a Senator from California.
Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, will also return to Washington. McCaskill defeated her Republican opponent Todd Akin to secure a second-term in the U.S. Senate.
Others who will be serving additional terms are Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesotta; Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan; Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York; and Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state.
The U.S House of Representatives will also be well represented by women in the upcoming year. Although several elections are still awaiting the final results, at least 81 women will serve in the 435-seat House, an increase of eight from the previous session.
New Hampshire will also see the first all-female delegation in history, for both U.S. House and Senate. Governor-elect Maggie Hassan will govern the state beginning in 2013. She is the only female Democratic Governor in the country.
As women become more involved in politics, the value of women’s education becomes increasingly clear.
One of Stephens’ own, Senator Virginia Shehee, became the first woman elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 1975.
Another noteworthy Stephens alumnae is 1978 graduate Emily J. Reynolds, who served from 2003-2007 as Secretary of the United States Senate.
Ellen Brandom currently serves in the Missouri House of Representatives and has recently defeated in her bid for state Senate. Both she and her mother attended Stephens.
Among other women’s college graduates is Madeleine Albright, a graduate of Wellesley, who became the first female Secretary of State, under the Clinton Administration.
Geraldine Ferraro, a 1956 Marymount Manhattan College graduate, was the first woman to represent a major U.S. political party as Vice President in the 1984 election. Ferraro and running mate Walter Mondale were defeated by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Nancy Pelosi, a Trinity College graduate, became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.
Several prominent political bloggers and strategists expect Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a favorite among the frontrunners to run for the President in 2016. Clinton is an alumnae of Wellesley College, a women’s college located in Massachusetts.
Only time will tell whether this is actually the case. Nonetheless, it is apparent from local elections all the way up to the federal level, that women are making their voices heard.