Terming it 'unprecedented', the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, UN Women has hailed the record number of women contesting the United States Congressional elections this week and described it as "critical'' for gender equality and sustainable development.
As many as 277 women contested the so-called mid-term elections for the US House of Representatives and Senate from both major parties Democrat and Republican - representing an array of ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, backgrounds and cultures, which UN Women, in a statement described as an "historic victory" and cause for celebration. ''With more women in decision-making positions in many countries, we see more inclusive decisions, and we find different solutions to long-standing problems,'' it read.
Underlining that there was a 75 per cent increase in women of colour seeking to hold office in the House or Senate, the statement said, "The new cohort of elected women will bring the total number in Congress to more than 100. This is a record." According to the statement, some of those making history include the first Native American women ever to win seats in the House; New Mexico Democrat Deb Haaland and Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids, who is also the first openly LGBT member of Congress from the state of Kansas.
The first Muslim women, Rashida Tlaib, Democrat and Ilhan Omar, Democrat, hailing from Michigan and Minnesota, respectively, also made history and celebrated victory on Tuesday night.
Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn became the state's first woman elected to the Senate.
Young New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (29) won her general election race, becoming the youngest women ever to be heading to Capitol Hill. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, became the first woman of color in her state's congressional delegation. This sort of inclusivity is "a vital human right and critical for the achievement of gender equality and sustainable development," the UN agency said.
The involvement of women in key political debates and decision-making that impacts them, means these issues "are paid greater attention."When girls growing up can see women in leadership roles, it raises their educational attainment and career aspirations, the agency said.
The Thursday statement cited the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aiming to leave no one behind, which includes a specific target of ensuring more inclusivity of women, from equal opportunities in leadership, to political and economic decisions.
"These are deeply desirable patters of growth and change," UN Women said.
UNI XC SB 1318
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