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  • The 2018 midterms were huge for women candidates.

  • In Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn became the state's first woman senator.

  • Over in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley is the first African-American woman elected to

  • the House from any state in New England.

  • In Maine, voters chose Janet Mills to be the state's first woman governor.

  • Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to Congress.

  • A total of 273 women were on the ballot in the 2018 midterms, representing both parties.

  • Now compare that to the past five electionsthat's a big jump in women candidates

  • vying for office.

  • So, women must be pretty well represented in the US government now, right?

  • Not exactly.

  • The share of women in the House and Senate has increased over time....but it's still

  • well below the share of women in the US population.

  • If you dig deeper, Congress looks even less representative.

  • Women of color make up 18% of the US population.

  • But, before the 2018 midterms they accounted for just 7% of Congress.

  • And LGBT women make up 2.5% of the US population, but there are only two openly LGBT women in

  • Congress -- that's less than 1%

  • Even with the recent wins by women candidates in the 2018 midterms, there's still a long

  • way to go before they're fully represented.

  • This underrepresentation can have very real policy consequences.

  • Take a look at this chart showing what 2018 congressional candidates spent time talking

  • about.

  • Women were much more likely than men to discuss issueslike education, climate change,

  • and minimum wage.

  • There's even evidence that women make better lawmakers.

  • One study found that female lawmakers bring in 9% more federal spending for their constituents

  • than their male counterparts.

  • And that's on top of the fact that women lawmakers sponsor more bills than male legislators.

  • This success might actually help explain why women are less likely to run for office than

  • men in the first place.

  • Many women underestimate their qualifications and perceive gender bias among voters, which

  • discourages them from running.

  • Because of these extra hurdles, only the most talented and ambitious women seek office.

  • While there's still more room for growth for women to be accurately represented in

  • government, there's evidence to show that the more women are elected, the more they

  • inspire other women to run.

  • One study found that if a state elected a woman senator or governor, an average of seven

  • additional women would run for the state government in the following election cycle.

  • The women that were elected during the 2018 midterms will help inspire other women to

  • run for office in the future.

  • And as more women join government, their representation will become more and more normalized.

  • And eventually — a video like this won't even be necessary.

The 2018 midterms were huge for women candidates.

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