One of the first real jobs I had when I branched into the world of social media, was for an organization the focused on supporting and encouraging women candidates running for office at all levels of office. From school boards to Senate and Gubernatorial races across the nation. I had the opportunity to interview many women running for all those different offices as well. The main goal was always to reach that magical 50% political representation, or at least get closer to it. As I read study after study and interviewed woman after woman I began to realize why equal gender representation was so important for our country.
Every time a young SheHero sees another woman in power, her dreams get a little bigger. Not only will her dreams get bigger, but the chances of making those dreams come true will get easier.
Last week we saw a record number of women were off the sidelines and running for Congress. 184 women were on the ballot on Tuesday. Women's representation in Congress rose from under 17% to almost 19% with a record 81 women elected to the House (and counting) plus 20 elected to the U.S. Senate.
A number of historic firsts for SheHeroes also happened, that will surely inspire a new generation of SheHeroes. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii became the first Asian-American woman -- and the first Buddhist -- Senator. Tammy Baldwin is now the U.S. Senate's first openly gay member. SheHeroes should note that Hirono in Hawaii, Baldwin in Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota are all the first women to serve in the U.S. Senate from their respective states.
In New Hampshire Democratic Congresswomen-elect Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter will join Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in becoming the nation's first all-female congressional delegation.
This is really good news, especially when looking at a study released by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago which showed evidence that female politicians accomplish more then their male counterparts. We are thrilled to see the official research proving what we, along with the many other organization encouraging more women to run for office, have been saying since Susanna Madora Salter became the first female elected official in the United States back in 1887.
According to the study, which followed female lawmakers from 1984 through 2004, on the average women introduced more bills, gained more co-sponsors, and brought more money home to their districts. It also found that roughly nine percent more discretionary spending was found among female politicians. The research suggested that women tend to be more ambitious in accomplishing their goals due to the increased obstacles many of them overcome to get their seats in congress.
Women in congress put three more bills per congressional term on average more than then male congressmen. This means not only are a generation of SheHeroes going to be inspired by all the women in office, but their lives are going to better because of the work those women are going to do.