A New Congress: A look into the diversity in politics 100 years after the 19th Amendment

      Since the 116th Congress was sworn in this Jan., there has been a lot of talk about a woman wearing big hoop earrings and red lipstick waltzing around D.C. like she owns the place. Who is this woman and what is she doing on the Congress floor?

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest congresswomen to be elected in U.S. history. She forefronts a movement designed to bring equal representation to people of all sexes, classes, religions and ages; and she does it with style .

      She does not, however, do it alone. Ocasio-Cortez is flanked by representatives Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, the first Native American women elected to Congress; Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, and Jahana Hayer, a former single mom who grew up in the projects. It’s safe to say that this past Congressional election did not look like your average election.

      Ocasio-Cortez dedicated her campaign to supporting Medicare for all, affordable housing, bringing troops home from the Middle East, guaranteed federal jobs, banning assault weapons and so much more. She presented these ideas to her constituents with the grace and passion only a representative from the Bronx could.

      The citizens who voted Ocasio-Cortez into office did so because she spoke directly to them. From tweeting ideas on Twitter to hosting informal live videos on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez has a strong social media presence. She even made an appearance on Twitch, an online streaming service used primarily for broadcasting video games live. Ocasio-Cortez met her constituents where they were- and they responded by storming to the polls.

      Though Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez caught the attention of people nationwide, she is only one of 102 women (out of 435 representatives) sworn into the House of Representatives this past election. In June of 2019 it will be exactly one hundred years since women won the right to vote, and with over a hundred women in Congress, America has made leaps and bounds. We have not, however, reached equality for all citizens by a long shot.

      As we begin a time of hope and excitement for the women in Congress, it is important for us to remember how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. Simply getting women into positions of power is challenging enough in America, however, it is not the end goal. We must expect and encourage these women to make real, valuable advancements in issues of women’s rights.

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