They’re here: the midterms, and these ten women remind us why equality and compassion remain the most important marks on the ballot. From champions of healthcare reform to advocates of the Me Too movement, these congresswomen have worked tirelessly to create a better nation for years to come. Don’t miss out on your chance to read up and learn about the women that make the world turn (and, most importantly, don’t forget to vote for some of them in the upcoming election).
Here are ten powerful Congresswomen making a difference for equality.
1. Senator Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris entered the national political scene when she won the 2017 California Senator’s election. More recently, Harris has taken on the roles of passionate advocate for the Me Too movement and leader in the Anti-Lynching Law along with Corey Booker. “Kamala Harris is my personal fav because she’s a boss a** lady. She has only been in the Senate since 2017, and she’s made such a big name for herself. She has really come to be a major representative for the Democrats,” William & Mary sophomore Louisa Wren said. Not only does she carry herself with class and work hard to secure equal rights for all, but her Twitter is pretty awesome too (just saying).
2. Senator Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth entered the national scene in 2017 as a junior Senator of Illinois. She promotes conductive immigration policies that allow undocumented immigrants pathways to citizenship, and has vocally expressed her opinions on the Syrian refugee crisis showing strong support for allowing up to 100,000 refuges into the United States. As a veteran, she also has a lot to say on the U.S.’s involvement in foreign policy—specifically in the Iraq War. “Duckworth is really good at highlighting how Republicans who claim to be pro-military/veterans are really draft dodgers while she served as a veteran herself,” William & Mary senior Josh Kluger said. A compassionate veteran who uses her voice to further equality in America? Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty bada**.
3. Senator Lisa Murkowski
Tonight I spoke on the Senate floor on my decision to oppose the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Posted by Lisa Murkowski on Friday, October 5, 2018
Lisa Murkowski has served as the Alaskan senior Senator since 2002, and with such a long history in our government, it comes as no surprise that she made the list. She supports pro-choice measures to abortion, and in 2013 came out in support of same–sex marriage. “She is the only GOP senator to vote against Kavanaugh which I think is really brave. Women so often hurt feminism by the ways they treat other women, and women voting for Kavanaugh just shows us how much partisan loyalty is rewarded over solidarity with your minority,” James Madison University junior Carli Woodyear said. Sticking up for women’s rights definitely qualifies Murkowski as a woman who knows equality and stands to fight for it.
4. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand has played the politics game for a while now. She began as the appointed Senator to New York. After running in a special election to keep her seat in 2010, she became a tried and true member of the Senate for years to come. “As senator of New York, Gillibrand has worked tirelessly to promote the ideals she espouses: those of equality, no matter the gender, creed or sexuality,” University of Michigan junior Jared Schacter said. She stands up against sexual assault, specifically in the military, and holds strong opinions on pro-choice options for abortion. She also favored the legalization of same-sex marriage.
5. Senator Elizabeth Warren
For decades, through redlining, our government locked many African American families out of the American dream of owning a home. There’s never been anything done to make things right. But I’ve got a bill that would do that – while also bringing down housing costs for everyone. The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act.
Posted by Elizabeth Warren on Monday, October 29, 2018
Elizabeth Warren created a name for herself by earning the title as first female senator from Massachusetts. She was first appointed to the committee for aging, banking, housing and education and labor. Her passion for these topics is not lost through her policies and voting record.“Elizabeth Warren has always been a champion of progressive reforms, including fixing income inequality. I think that’s one of the most pervasive and important issues that congresswomen and men can focus on,” Ohio State University junior Pooja Chaudhry said. Her positions on healthcare and income inequality have become especially notable.
6. Senator Claire McCaskill
Where to begin with Senator McCaskill: she supported the DREAM Act in Congress, has proposed bills to create more conducive voting and has been a strong advocate for the Me Too movement. And as the first female senator from Missouri, she definitely has a lot to be proud of. “McCaskill out-skilled an incumbent man, Bob Holden, in 2004 for the governorship of Missouri and has been red hot in her feminine success navigating the U.S. Congress ever since. Making tangible gains for women in Congress starting in 2012, McCaskill is becoming a true force to be reckoned with,” William & Mary senior Warren Sloop said. Fun fact, McCaskill has also scored a 100 percent lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood for her positions on healthcare.
7. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi has been a household name for about ten years. She’s the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, represents most of San Francisco and still runs the show at 78 years old. Talk about impressive. She pushed primarily for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and has been credited with convincing President Obama to continue work on the project even when its success seemed bleak. She has also criticized the detainment centers at the southern border and, upon visiting, called for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen. All in all, Pelosi really shows us what the definition of “powerful woman” is all about.
8. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
While many of the powerful women on this list hail from California or the East Coast, Sheila Jackson Lee comes from down south—specifically Texas’ 18th district. Some of the amazing achievements throughout her tenure include: support of the Affordable Care Act, support of pathways to legalization for undocumented immigrants and holding the title of the Congressional Black Caucus whip. She has been an integral part of Texas’ educational advancements by donating money to such efforts as Upward Bound Program, University of Houston’s Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Research Center and the Houston’s Children’s Museum. With years of experience under her belt, and an impressive portfolio of supported donations, laws and policies, it’s safe to say that Lee represents much more than simply a southern belle: she represents strong leadership.
9. Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Another California congresswoman, Maxine Waters has stood up for equality left and right. She most notably pushes for African American rights, even going so far as to criticize Obama for his insufficient support of the black community. She also proposed the “Stop Very Unscrupulous Loan Transfers from Underprivileged Countries from Rich Exploitive Funds Act.” Yeah, it’s a mouthful; just call it Stop VULTURE Funds Act for short. And she opposes mandatory minimum prison sentencing, an act that has been credited with putting a disproportionate amount of people of color in prison for longer sentences. All of this equates to essentially one amazing woman, who isn’t afraid to stick up for equality—even to the president of the United States.
10. Congresswoman Susan Davis
Not talking about abortions doesn't prevent them, it only increases the rate of unsafe abortions. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar couldn't answer why this counterproductive policy is in place, given how detrimental it is to women's overall health. #GlobalGagRule
Posted by Congresswoman Susan Davis on Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Susan Davis has served in the House of Representatives since 2001, and has represented California’s 53rd district in issues such as the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the National Institute of Health. Through those platforms she has stood up for LGBTQ rights and affordable healthcare. If you want even more info on her super amazing fight for women’s issues and issues of equality, check out her interview with College Magazine’s 50by2050 team (seriously, it’s worth the read).