Despite not shattering the highest glass ceiling, women in Minnesota still made history this election. Out of the 134 members of the House elected last month, 48 are women– the largest number in history. Of the new women members of the House, 3 are GOP and 8 are DFL. This brings the overall number of DFL women in the House up to 37, compared to the GOP’s 27 women.
Increasing numbers of women in the legislature are obviously a good thing for everyone, considering 50% of the population is female. While the makeup of the House will now be just 36% women, this is a step in the right direction. Women have slowly been making gains in state government since the election of the first female representatives in 1922 (just two years after women gained the right to vote). Unfortunately, the Minnesota Senate experienced a loss in female members this election, and the legislature as a whole has fewer female members.
Despite these setbacks, women in Minnesota should be excited about the progress our state is making toward equal gender representation at the legislature. While newly elected GOP majorities in the House and Senate make it unlikely policies to improve gender equity like equal pay will become a reality, women should keep running for office, keep speaking up, and keep fighting for a better future for everyone.