Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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 elections — that'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 issues — like 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.