“Year of the Woman” in U.S. politics

Across the country, the ongoing midterm elections in the United States have seen the highest levels of female political engagement ever recorded, leading many to label this the “Year of the Woman”. Many election records have already been broken; the highest number of women candidates for the Senate, the House of Representatives and gubernatorial positions have been won in the primaries. According to the NBC race-by-race analysis, approximately 30-40 women candidates are predicted to enter the House, thus increasing the number of seats taken by women to 100 for the first time in the U.S. history. By bringing discussion on women’s rights to the political table, women candidates have been able to earn great support among voters. Female voters have also made substantial donations to their cause, thereby further contributing to the overall encouraging tendency towards gender equality in U.S. politics.

Although the positive shifts in terms of women’s political participation are visible, a lot remains to be done. Women are still underrepresented at the local, state, and national level across the U.S. Moreover, women still face immense challenges, especially regarding their political participation. The gender gap in recruitment, as well as implicit and explicit biases, are just a few obstacles that prevent women from being a part of political processes. They continue to be largely absent from senior leadership positions, meaning that they lack the platform to tackle these obstacles. Such barriers are deeply embedded in political structures and cannot be solved by simply encouraging female participation.

Nevertheless, the visible increase of women’s political participation remains a positive trend that has the capacity to generate a more gender-sensitive vision in U.S. politics. Gender Concerns International recognizes the importance of female participation in the current midterm elections and hopes that this will stimulate greater gender parity in the U.S. in the future, as well as catalyze further constructive changes for the female electorate in the country.