Here Are 6 Women Who Made History On Election Night
The list includes our country's first Latina senator and our second black female senator.
The results of the presidential election aside (and that’s a big aside, granted), Tuesday’s election still ended in a number of historic firsts for women. Let’s take a look at who won.
1. Kamala Harris
Harris (above) is only the second black woman ever elected to the Senate. The Californian is the first black female senator in 17 years. She was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father, and she has been the Attorney General of California since 2011.
2. Tammy Duckworth
Perhaps the most inspirational of all of today’s stories. Tammy Duckworth is a biracial double-amputee and veteran—and now a United States Senator from Illinois.
Duckworth lost both legs as well as partial use of her right arm in Iraq in November of 2004 when her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. For those injuries sustained in battle, she was awarded the Purple Heart. Upon her recovery she became an advocate for veterans, and in 2009, President Obama nominated her to be an Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. On Facebook, she said:
Twelve years ago this Saturday, a rocket-propelled grenade ripped through the cockpit of the helicopter I was co-piloting over Iraq. I survived only because my buddies refused to leave me behind. Every day since I woke up at Walter Reed, I try to be worthy of my crew and of the miraculous second chance they gave me. And just as I try to be worthy of the sacrifice they made for me, I will go to work in the Senate looking to honor the sacrifice of all Americans who are facing challenges of their own. After all, this nation didn’t give up on me when I was at my lowest moment, and I believe in an America that doesn’t give up on anyone who hasn’t given up on themselves.
3. Ilhan Omar
Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar put her personal stamp on history by becoming the first Somali-American legislator in the U.S. She is 34 and arrived in the U.S. 22 years ago as a war refugee after spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp. On Facebook, she commented earlier this morning;
I am proud to have been elected by my neighbors in District 60B as their new representative to the Minnesota House. You are Minnesota at its finest. You represent what we, as Americans, should strive to be: united in our diversity. I am also sick with worry as a result of the overall outcome of this election and the deep divide within our nation but I need you. And we need each other. We must find ways to move forward together.
4. Catherine Cortez Masto
Masto made history by becoming the very first Latina senator in U.S. history. She is a former Nevada Attorney General, and the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant. She will be taking the seat of the retiring Senator and Democratic minority leader Harry Reid. She will join Senators Ted Cruz, Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio as Senate Latinos.
I’m proud to be Nevada’s 1st female and our nation’s 1st Latina senator. It’s about time our government mirrors the diversity of our nation.
— CatherineCortezMasto (@CatherineForNV) November 9, 2016
5. Pramila Jayapal
The India-born Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress.
The Representative from Seattle immigrated to the U.S. at 16 years of age to attend college. Jayapal worked as a civil rights activist and the director of a pro-immigration advocacy group before joining the Washington State Senate in 2015.
6. Kate Brown
Oregon has elected Kate Brown as the first openly LGBTQ+ governor in the country. She became active in politics, when, as a lawyer, she found out she was being paid less than a male in the same position, and feared losing her job due to her relationship status at the time. As she told Oregon Live:
I vowed I would do everything in my power to make sure that no one — no one in this state — would have to face that level of fear or face that level of discrimination.