Women Rule! 2012 Truly the 'Year of the Woman'

We're not saying we told you so, but we expected women to be one of the biggest surprises on Election Day, and we're thrilled we were right!

We predicted it, wrote about it and boy were we excited to see it happen – a record number of women will now be representing us in Congress!

Elizabeth Warren, the middle class warrior, got the girl power party started with a victory over Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts early in the night. Then, we learned Senator Claire McCaskill would keep her seat in Missouri, sending Todd “legitimate rape” Akin off to the hinterlands (we hope!) But that’s not all – Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin becoming the first openly gay woman in the U.S. Senate, and another Tammy, Iraqi war vet Tammy Duckworth, will be representing Illinois in the House, after defeating the Republican incumbent.

Before Election Day, women made up just 17% of the seats in Congress. That number is going up, meaning we will have more women in Congress than ever before. In the Senate alone, at least 19 women -- a record -- will be part of what not too long ago was very much a boys club. (Before the first 'Year of the Woman' in 1992, there were just two women in the Senate!)

Wow. Wow. Wow.

And there was more history to be made. Women in New Hampshire elected the first-ever all female delegation, choosing a female governor and women for the state's two congressional seats. They join the two women who currently represent the Granite State in the Senate, creating a true girls club in New Hampshire. Could more states follow their lead?

Women also made their voices heard in the presidential contest. President Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney came from the support of minorities, young voters and women. Romney faced a 12 point gender gap with the president according to exit polls. Had he done more to close that gap, he might have been the one claiming victory on election night. Women also helped defeat Senate candidates who spouted beliefs that were incomprehensible to so many of us such as Rep. Akin’s comments that there is something called “legitimate rape” and Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Indiana who said that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape it is “something that God intended.”

Women spoke loudly. Now will the Republicans listen.

Surely, they’ll need to if they want to mount a serious play for the White House in 2016. There is going to be plenty of soul-searching in the party, and some of that will no doubt include the inability of Mitt Romney to truly connect and reach women. Mitt, maybe Paul Ryan wasn’t the best choice for your running mate. Maybe you should have considered a woman. What a concept!

Women will also be watching President Obama who hasn’t won a mandate but has been given a second chance, according to an analysis by one of the best political reporters in the business, Ron Fournier of the National Journal. Women want him to finish what he started on the economy and jobs, on affordable health care and education, on social security reform, tax fairness, and reproductive rights.

Women will also be watching the new women in the Senate and the House, hoping they will find a way to work with both parties to get something done.

We’re still a bitterly divided nation and there are huge challenges ahead but for now, women of both parites nationwide should be celebrating. Women before us fought for the right to be heard, and on this Election Day, we were not only heard, we dominated.  

Watch Elizabeth Warren's jubilant victory speech when she said to her supporters, "This victory belongs to you!"


Kelly Wallace
, a former political reporter for CNN, is chief correspondent of iVillage. You can follow Kelly's political tweets on Twitter (
@kellywallacetv).

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