Alexandria danced steps of needed change, Ilhan inspired a U.S. House rules change, Kyrsten’s sleeveless swearing in showed strength, Nancy’s age made her all the more brilliant, and I’m thanking our lucky stars the world is finally changing for the better with the evidence showing up in the U.S. House of Representatives.
We just elected a Congress with more women and more people of color than ever before in the entire history of our nation — and people are thankfully changing up Washington and building a democracy that mirrors our nation. It’s not just a fun moment. It’s a powerful moment.
Because who wants a world without women’s voices speaking truth to power, leading dances to freedom, laying ourselves bare for justice, and bringing our brilliance and wisdom to crafting solutions to urgent national problems?
Oh yeah, the current President.
This is the same President who just recently closed our government, leaving around 800,000 people unpaid as part of an epic-level temper tantrum designed to force Congress to fund his monument to racism and xenophobia, his wall. Yes, it’s also the same President under whose leadership children are being forcibly separated from their mothers and dying in the custody of the U.S. government.
And at a time when men in leadership are still trying to deny women’s bodily autonomy and sovereignty, whether it’s rolling back access to birth control, or even failing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act as just happened; none of us should be surprised by the absurd reaction by conservatives in particular to U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s dancing. So let’s turn it up! More dancing is needed. Not less. It’s time for a giant dance party to equity. I’m in. Hold on a moment while I break out my dancing shoes.
But that’s not all! What seems to be really scary to some — as in truly, madly scary — is women looking like who we really are as we lead, raise our voices, and represent our communities. Conservative twitter was a flutter as U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar inspired a rules change so she could wear her hijab during her swearing in to Congress. And U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema spurred a flurry of false faints across the nation with the sleeveless, uber feminine and glamorous outfit she wore as she swore on the U.S. Constitution to take office as the first openly bisexual woman in Congress. Gasp! A woman in pink was elected! Well I say: Thank you, U.S. Representative Omar for leading the way forward; and thank you also, U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, for showing my daughter, and my son too, that you can be fully you, love who you love, and lead. It’s about time.
Seeing the winds of change, of progress and parity, made manifest in these newly elected women is inspiring.
Don’t get me wrong. This inspiration isn’t only coming from the women who were just elected to Congress. We’re also witnessing the potency and vibrancy of the seasoned experts. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is proof that women, moms, and grand-moms get better, smarter, and more strategically brilliant with age. And she’s making it “rain glass” for all of us, on multiple levels, as she smashes through many layers of glass ceilings so we and our daughters will have easier paths forward, too. I know you’re busy, but pause with me to look at, and celebrate, her groundbreaking, stereotype-subverting leadership. Thank you, Madame Speaker.
We’re in an undeniable moment of women’s power rising.
And it’s both the diversity and the individuality of the women in Congress that makes this such a powerful moment. Studies show that our nation’s diversity—and people caring about one another—is what’s helped make us a strong, creative, and prosperous nation. One study found: “If a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.” Other studies have found that women are better legislators and pass more legislation that lifts families and our economy than men. Still others have pointed to a positive economic impact and better returns with women in leadership: a recent Harvard Business Review study reported that companies with the most “ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean” and those with the most women in management “were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.”
In other words, when women win, our nation wins --- and when we’re greater than fear, we all rise.
So, newly elected women: We’ve been waiting for you, we voted for you, we’re so glad you’re here, and we’re behind you all the way! And, experienced women in Congress: Think of us as the wind beneath your wings. We’re here for you. Now what’s the first dance song to inspire us all to keep fighting until we get true parity and fix inequality together?