After Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 attempted to shatter “the highest and hardest glass ceiling” in 2016, becoming the first woman in history to run for president as a major party candidate, she urged women to keep fighting. And in the 2018 midterm elections, women across the country—and across Wellesley’s alumnae network—answered the call.
The 2018 midterm elections were a watershed moment for U.S. women in politics. A record-breaking number ran for seats in Congress during the 2018 midterm elections (255, according to the Brookings Institution); 116 won their seats. As of January 3, women make up nearly a quarter of Congress—not quite parity, but an important step in adding more diverse voices to the conversations driving changes in law and public policy.
The newly convened 116th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, with record numbers of African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and LBGTQ members as well as the first Muslim and Native American women elected to Congress. They campaigned on issues of equity and access, including improved voting access, greater transparency in the election process, social and reproductive justice, and better employment and educational opportunities.
Wellesley is proud to count seven alumnae among those newly sworn in as elected government officials. They include veteran legislators, often the first women to have held office in their districts, as well as first-timers. Harriette Chandler ’59, Massachusetts state senator, and Edith Tucker ’94, New Hampshire State Representative, were both re-elected. Diana DiZoglio ’11, a former Massachusetts state representative, was sworn in as a state senator; and Jocelyn Benson ’99 took the oath of office as Michigan’s first Democratic secretary of state in 24 years. Emily Randall ’08 won a close race for Washington State senate. Liz Miranda ’02 and Lindsay Sabadosa ’02 are new members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Of the 11 women in the Massachusetts state senate, two are Wellesley alumnae, and three alumnae hold seats in the House of Representatives. “We have our own informal Wellesley caucus here in the [Massachusetts] State House—five women leaders who I hope will inspire future Wellesley women to run and serve,” said Chandler.