‘To all the little girls who are watching this: never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance in the world to pursue your dreams.’ Hillary Clinton’s powerful words during her concession speech yesterday was something that many women needed to hear.
The world had woken up to a new kind of politics. A new President who has - amongst other things - verbally attacked women (comparing them to ‘slobs’ and ‘pigs’) and boastful in his grotesquely anti-feminist views.
Hillary Clinton may not have become the first ever female to move into the Oval Office, but it was still a historic night for seven women in US politics - with the first ever Latina elected to the Senate and the first Somalian-American Muslim woman legislator elected. A silver lining for those whose dreams had been shattered.
Here are the new female faces in American politics that won last night, helping to break that ‘inevitable glass ceiling’…
Catherine Cortez Masto
Title? Senator of Nevada
Who is she? Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. Formerly Nevada’s Attorney General [from 2007-2015], her grandfather immigrated to the US from Mexico and is one of four women of colour to gain a seat in 2016. She will continue in her quest to close the gender pay gap and has criticised Donald Trump’s dream to build a wall between US and Mexico.
Soundbite… ‘I want you to know this isn't my win, it is our win. We did this together,’ Catherine said in her victory speech. ‘The multi-coloured fabric of Nevada, the diversity here, is our strength and I can see from your faces that we are going to continue to be strong and continue to fight for our families, for our future - here in Nevada and across this country.’
Twitter handle… @CatherineForNV
Title? US legislator
Who is she? Ilhan Omar became the first Somalian-American Muslim woman legislator. The 34-year-old fled the Somali civil war in 1990, spending 4 years in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the US when she was 14 years old. She is director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network, which helps to empower all women and to build a more inclusive society. In her new role as US legislator, she will help to write and pass laws in America.
Soundbite...‘Tonight, we are celebrating this win, our win. But our work won’t stop,' she said after her victory. ‘We will continue to build a more prosperous and equitable district, state and nation where each and every one of us has opportunities to thrive and move forward together.’
Twitter handle… @IlhanMN
Title? Senator of Washington State
Who is she? She became the first ever Indian-American woman elected to Congress, winning Seattle's 7th Congressional District. A friend and supporter of Bernie Sanders, Jayapal immigrated to the United States when she was 16 years old and worked as a civil rights activist,founding advocacy group OneAmerica.
Soundbite...‘Thank you for your support, faith and confidence and for standing up for the values of our country – values that welcomed me as a 16-year-old immigrant and let me serve as the next Congresswoman from the 7th Congressional District.’
Twitter handle... @PramilaJayapal
Title? Senator of Illinois
Who is she? Tammy became the first Thai-American woman to become a senator and the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Born in Bangkok, Duckworth is a retired war veteran, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm in the Iraq War 12 years ago. She has a Masters degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
Soundbite…‘This nation didn’t give up on me when I was at my most vulnerable, needing the most help. I believe in an America that doesn’t give up on anyone who hasn’t given up on themselves.’
Twitter handle… @RepDuckworth
Title? Governor of Oregon
Who is she? Kate is the first openly bisexual person to be elected as Governor. The Democratic politician won an estimated 51% of the vote compared to 44% for Republican rival Bud Pierce.
Soundbite… ‘If I can be a role model for one young person that decides that their life is worth living because there's someone like them in the world, it's worth it.’
Twitter handle… @KateBrownForOR
Title? Senator of California
Who is she? Harris is the first Indian-American and the second black woman ever elected US senator. A daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, she was elected California's Attorney General in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. She endorsed both Barack Obama and Joe Biden and urged voters ‘do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed,’ after Donald Trump’s victory.
Soundbite… ‘It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.’
Twitter handle… @KamalaHarris
Title? Member-elect to the House of Representatives
Who is she? 38-year-old Democrat Stephanie Murphy is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress. Murphy and her family immigrated to the United States when she was just one - her parents fled by boat and were rescued by the US navy from the sea. Previously she's served as a national security specialist in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
**Soundbite… **‘We owe it to our new president & our nation to come together, put families first, and move our nation forward.’
Twitter handle… @SMurphyCongress