With the end of 2018 fast approaching, we should take the time to think about all that this year has brought and look forward to all that 2019 will bring. While there were many hardships, we closed the year out with a huge victory for women in the primaries. Furthermore, there were more women of color elected than ever before, and our government has become the most inclusive that it has ever been.
Looking forward to 2019 and 2020, I am excited to be able to vote in the election that marks the centennial of women’s suffrage. While we have come a long way since then, there remains a long way to go in terms of inclusivity. I look forward to 2019’s being the year of inclusivity among all women, not just white women. As more young women are able to vote and participate in politics, we progress toward having an increasing number of women of color participate—therefore, we progress toward having the most diverse and representative democracy possible.
2019 will begin with a huge milestone, as there will be 126 women serving in Congress—more women than ever before. We will also have the most women of color—38—serving than ever before. The first two Native Americans will serve: Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids. The first two muslim women, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, will also serve. Stacey Abrams was the first black woman to be a major-party gubernatorial nominee in history. There were nine female governors elected, which will set a record for simultaneous service.
While these achievements should be celebrated, there are still many ceilings intact—most notably, the wage gap and lack of diversity in all fields. Women graduate from college at higher percentages than men do today, yet women still earn less money and hold fewer executive positions. Women of color continue to deal with some of the workplace’s most entrenched hurdles such as pay inequities and near invisibility in top leadership roles. In 2018, the median salary for women was roughly 22 percent lower than the median salary for men. Black women earn 63 cents to every dollar made by white men, while these figures are 57 cents for Native American women, and 54 cents for Latina women.
As we look forward to 2019 and 2020, let’s remember how much progress still needs to be made while savoring how far we have come.