PHOTO CREDIT: The Associated Press via ABC News
This may very well be the year that women make significant gains in holding public office. Although women account for more than half of the U.S. population, they represent just a fifth of all Congressmen, a quarter of state officials, and only about 20% of city mayors.
The number of women in office has been steady in recent years, but since the 2016 Presidential election, women have felt emboldened to take matters into their own hands. Events like last year's Women's March have inspired many women to run for office for the first-time.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there are now five seats open in Congress. One U.S. senator and four representatives have so far announced plans to retire or not seek re-election following allegations of sexual assault/harassment against them. In Arizona, seven women have already expressed interest in running for Congress during the special election scheduled this April.
In addition to the 60 congresswomen expected to run for re-election, there are 197 women running in primaries to challenge their current U.S. representative. This is a great step forward in helping to achieve gender equality and, at the very least, equal representation in our government.