WASHINGTON — Less than one year after the MeToo movement rocked Capitol Hill, a record number of women were elected to Congress.
One-hundred-and-sixteen women were elected in November. One-hundred-and-twenty-six women will serve in the 116th Congress. They will comprise roughly a quarter of the legislative body.
Below is a snapshot:
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman to serve in Congress. The 29-year-old community organizer and self-professed Democratic socialist shocked pundits with her June primary victory over 10-term incumbent and then-House Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley (N.Y.).
Democrats Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. Tlaib, 42, is a attorney and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She is of Palestinian descent. Omar, 37, is a member of the Minnesota legislature. She was born in Somalia.
Democrats Sharice Davids (Kan.) and Deb Haaland (N.M.) will be the first Native-American women to serve in Congress. Davids, 38, is an attorney. Haaland, 57, is the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party.
Former National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes (D) will be the first African-American female member of the Connecticut congressional delegation. Hayes, 45, defeated Republican State Rep. Manny Santos. Hayes will succeed retiring Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D).
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) will be the first female to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate. Blackburn, 66, is a staunch conservative and has served in Congress since 2003. She defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen, swho previously served as Tennessee’s governor and Nashville’s mayor.
The female wave follows a year-and-a-half period that saw several male lawmakers resign after allegations of sexual harassment or improprieties surfaced. Those resignations included Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) as well as Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.).
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) was accused of sexual misconduct and did not seek re-election. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) was accused of sexual harassment. Scott was re-elected and is poised to chair the House Committee on Education and the Workforce when Congress changes hands next month. Both have denied the allegations.
Since that time Congress has passed legislation that requires members and their staff to undergo sexual harassment training. Legislation also has been passed that changes the way harassment complaints are handled.
Victims will no longer be subject to cooling-off periods after coming forward with a complaint, and members and their staff will no longer be able to settle complaints with the use of taxpayer money.