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US Midterms: Women blaze a trail through American politics Open in fullscreen

Shams Al-Shakarchi

US Midterms: Women blaze a trail through American politics

Some of the women making history in the ranks of the US Congress [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 November, 2018

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It was a night of firsts for gender, race and religion, and a huge leap towards female and Muslim representation at the highest levels of US politics.
While midterm elections saw the Democrats win the US House of Representatives in a setback to President Donald Trump, the story of the night was the record-breaking number of women elected to Congress.

Most significantly, their success is a trailblazing leap towards more diverse representation in the highest levels of US politics.

Somali-American Ilhan Omar, who arrived in the US as a refugee when she was 12, and Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants in Detroit, are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. 

Read more: Arab and Muslim Americans are taking Midterms by storm - and that's a good thing

In her victory speech, Omar acknowledged the significance of her win: "I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name.

"The first woman of colour to represent our state in Congress, the first woman to wear a hijab, the first refugee ever elected to Congress and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress."

Democrat Ayanna Pressley became the first woman of colour from Massachusetts elected to Congress.

Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland, both Democrats, were the first Native American women to be elected.

The list doesn't end there. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia became the first Texas Latinas elected to Congress, and Letitia James became New York's first black Attorney-General, while Jahana Hayes became the first black Congresswoman representing Connecticut.

Two 29-year-old Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer are the youngest women ever to win House seats. 

And, though not a woman but in Colorado, another important milestone - Jared Polis became the first openly gay man elected as governor. 

The wins are especially significant under a polarising Trump administration, which has pushed an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim rhetoric since the president took office.

Many women, who ran in record numbers for Congress, were also fired up by Trump's treatment of women and the #MeToo movement.

Here are our favourite reactions to Wednesday's historic results:




Follow Shams Al-Shakarchi on Twitter: @shams_shakarchi

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