Behind the Ballot: Women win big in midterms

Pennsylvania has never had four women serving in Congress, and a woman hasn’t represented the state since 2014.

That’s changed. The success of women could be found across the country. From the first Muslims and Native American women elected to Congress to Tennessee’s first female senator and South Dakota’s first woman governor. The fairer sex proved to be a tough and formidable opponent on election night.

“Here and across the country we made history,” said now-congresswoman Susan Wild at her campaign headquarters on election night.

Lehigh Valley’s Susan Wild is one of four women statewide and more than 100 across the country who are projected to win seats in Congress, a record number.

“Women led the way to victory with at least 30 new women coming to the Congress,” said majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

This includes Chrissy Houlahan taking Ryan Costello’s seat.

“I think the rainbow wave is about hope. It’s about seeing something different,” said Kate Richmond, psychologist and director of women and gender studies at Muhlenberg College.

Democrat State Representative Mary Jo Daley, co-founder of Emerge Pennsylvania, an organization dedicated to mentoring, recruiting and creating opportunities for women to get involved in the political process, says the rise of women is, in large part, in opposition to Donald Trump.

Richmond says effects of these midterms could be similar to the climate after the Anita Hill case, which saw an unprecedented number of women heading to law school.

“There is no question that this sends a clear message to the girls who are sitting in elementary school and high school wondering can they could make a difference in this country? I think right now the answer is closer to yes than ever before,” said Richmond.

And it could start with the likes of Muhlenberg freshman Alex Goldman.

Goldman was asked if seeing the increase of women in Congress makes her want to run for political office.

“I don’t know about that, but it makes me more passionate and want to be more invested in our government,” she said.