THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS HAD A PROBLEM with getting a representation that accurately reflects America in its highest legislative body. The current Senate is comprised of only 20 women Senators out of 100. The racial breakdown is even more severe: the Senate is 94% white, while only 62% of America is white. This has been changing more and more in recent years — this is technically the most diverse Congress in history — but it’s still a pretty poor representation of America as a whole.
But then, just yesterday, all of that changed. Because just yesterday, the Senate was made up entirely of women.
The reason, of course, was the massive weekend blizzard which crippled much of the east coast, including Washington, DC. As such, most of the Senators were not able to make it into work. But the ones that did were all female. Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski addressed the floor, saying, “”As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber and the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female. Now this was not orchestrated in any way shape of form, we came in this morning, looked around, and thought, ‘Something is different this morning.’ Different in a good way, I might add.”
She added, “Something is genuinely different, and I think it is genuinely fabulous.”
It calls to mind the famous Ruth Bader Ginsberg quote, “I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the court]? And I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”
We might have to go a little longer before getting an all-women Supreme Court, but it has now happened for the Senate. Also in the room was Maine Republican Susan Collins, and Murkowski noted that they both came from states that know how to handle winter weather. “Perhaps it just speaks to the hardiness of women,” she added, “Put on your boots and put your hat on and get out, slog through the mess that is out there.”