News / USA

Record Number of Women Elected to US Congress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by women House Democrats, announces during a news conference on Capitol Hill that she wants to remain as the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Nov. 14, 2012.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by women House Democrats, announces during a news conference on Capitol Hill that she wants to remain as the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Nov. 14, 2012.
Cindy Saine
A record number of women were elected last week to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.  When the new Congress convenes in January, there will be about 80 female members of the House, and 20 female members of the Senate - most of them Democrats.  

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Wednesday, where she stood surrounded by a large group of women - current and newly elected members of the House.  She pointed out that for the first time in history of the House, Democratic women and minorities outnumber their white male counterparts.

"The most diverse caucus in the history of the world - the first time that a parliamentary body would have a party who had a majority of women and minorities," Pelosi said.

Pelosi said the fact that so many Democratic women won seats in the November elections was a factor in her decision on whether to step down as Democratic leader, which she announced surrounded by colleagues she called her "sisters."

"And I have made a decision to submit my name, to my colleagues, to once again serve as the House Democratic Leader," she said.

Pelosi served two terms as speaker of the House, the first woman in the United States to serve as speaker, and she oversaw passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation.

In the new Senate, 20 percent of the 100 lawmakers will be women - 16 Democrats and four Republicans.  And once all of the ballots are counted, as many as 19 Republican women could be sworn in into the House in January.

One of the newly elected members of the House, Democrat Lois Frankel of Florida says she believes women govern differently than men because of their role as the primary caregivers for children and elderly parents.

"I think we do bring a different perspective because, for many of us like myself, we have raised our family and mixed it with work," she said.

Jess McIntosh is a spokesperson for Emily's List, an organization that works to elect Democratic women to Congress.  She says studies show that women in positions of power are more likely to compromise, which could be crucial with a potential budget crisis facing the United States.

"In this time when politics is so polarizing and it is so hard to find consensus, I think having women who tend to be really good collaborators in the legislature is only going to be a good thing for the country," McIntosh said.

Political scientist Jennifer Lawless of American University in Washington says she is happy that women are being empowered in Congress.  But she says there is room for progress because women make up 50 percent of the population and are still under-represented in federal elective offices.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid