Real change is coming.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on the 2018 campaign trail. (Flickr)
We’re still nearly two months away from the 2018 midterm elections and women have already made history.
With this year’s primary elections completed, women have officially won 256 primaries across the nation -- meaning they will be on the ballot in 234 U.S. House races and 22 U.S. Senate races.
However, CNN notes that many of the women that have been nominated are running in districts or states where the other party has the advantage, and a man, on the ballot.
For example, only 8 of the Republican women nominated to House seats are running in “solid Republican” districts and 63 women are running as Democrats in districts that are solidly for their party.
Still, it’s been a record shattering year for women all around: The Democrats are running 180 women for the House alone, surprassing their previous record of 120 during the “year of the women” in 1992.
Some people are calling this year’s candidates a “pink wave” but other women in office say it’s about so much more than that.
“This is not just a curiosity. It’s not an interesting number or statistic. It’s historic,” Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who was first elected in ‘92, said in a recent interview. “This year a lot of unspoken but tough walls, I think, have come tumbling down.”
It’s not all roses. Women still have a long way to go toward equal representation.
CNN estimates that if all the women running in House districts where they are favored win their elections, there will be a total gain of 6 women in the House, for 90 total. That’s still less than one quarter of the 435 members of Congress elected every two years.
The percentages are slightly better in the U.S. Senate, where 23 women currently hold office. But considering the most recent U.S. Census numbers show that women make up just over 50 percent of the total population, that’s still a far cry from anything near gender equality.
Still, as this report from NPR shows, the general trend continues to move upward when it comes to women running for office, and winning, in America. The trend has been far stronger for women running as Democrats, but it shows that women are making progress, even if the rate and results can and should be stronger.
So, before you cast a ballot this November, remember to vote for who you think is the best candidate to represent the needs of your and your community. But when it comes to making our country a fairer place for everyone, you could do worse than voting for one of the record number of women running for office this year. After all, they’ve already made history.