Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election was heartbreaking to many voters all over the nation, especially women. Considering the already dim numbers of female politicians and elected officials, the future may seem bleak for women wanting to see equal representation in government. However, there were a number of important and historic elections of females in November. Here are 13 women who will inspire you and serve as hopeful reminders that the future for women in government is indeed bright.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American and former Somali refugee, made history by winning a seat in the Minnesota House. This makes her the first Somali-American legislator in the country.
Kamala Harris of California was elected as a U.S. Senator from California, making her the first black senator from California and just the second black woman to ever be elected to the Senate.
Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida won re-election, securing her place as the Republicans’ most senior woman in the house. Ros-Lehtinen became the first Latina ever elected to Congress in 1989.
Democrat Zena Stephens beat out Ray Beck in Jefferson County, Texas to become the first African-American woman to be elected sheriff in the state.
Kate Brown was officially elected Governor of Oregon, making her the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the office in the country (because her predecessor resigned, she has already served in the position for over a year).
Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee Iraq war veteran, defeated incumbent Mark Kirk to become the first Thai-American in the Senate. This is especially significant considering just weeks before Kirk had notoriously (and wrongly) insulted Duckworth’s statements that her family has served in the military since the Revolutionary War.
Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware made history as the first African-American woman (also the first woman overall) to serve in Congress from Delaware.
Catherine Cortez Masto, former Nevada Attorney General, made history by becoming the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. She will take the place of Senate minority leader Harry Reid to represent the state of Nevada.
Attica Scott was elected to the state house in Kentucky, making her the state’s first black female legislator in 20 years.
Affie Ellis, a Republican from Wyoming, became the first Native American woman elected to the Wyoming Legislature.
Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a former Washington State Senator, won her election in Seattle’s 7th Congressional District, making her the first Indian-American woman ever elected to Congress.
Democrat Stephanie Murphy upset 12-term republican incumbent John L. Mica of Florida’s 7th Congressional District, making her the first Vietnamese-American female member of Congress.
Republican Mia Love of Utah, who became the first black female Republican in Congress in 2014, won re-election for her seat in the House.
Although current demographics may suggest otherwise, women are ready to run. And, regardless of the election’s results, Hillary Clinton’s growing lead in the popular vote has proven that women can run and be successful. Hopefully, all the amazing women that ran in 2016, whether they won or lost, will encourage more women to run for elected office, and help close the gender gap in politics once and for all.