Election 2013: Record Number of Women to Serve in Congress

Massachusetts Special Election Winner Brings Total to 99

When Democrat Katherine Clark, winner of a special election to represent Massachusetts’ fifth district,  is sworn in on Thursday, December 12, women will hold a record 99 seats (76D, 23R) in Congress: 20 (16D, 4R) in the Senate and a new record 79 (60D, 19R) in the House. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, reports that  women will hold 18.5 percent of the seats in Congress, including 20 percent of Senate seats and 18.2 percent of House seats. (In addition, three Democratic serve as non-voting delegates from Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.)

Clark, a state senator from Melrose, defeated her Republican opponent, Frank J. Addivinola Jr., and two independent candidates to win the seat formerly held by Edward J. Markey, who won a special election to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry. Clark becomes the sixth woman ever to represent Massachusetts in Congress (1 Senate, 5 House), joining the two Bay State women currently serving, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Niki Tsongas.

“Since women are more than half the U.S. population, we’re always pleased to see the numbers in Congress grow,” said CAWP director Debbie Walsh. “However, while we’re edging close to 100 for the first time, we’re still far from parity.”


Daniel De Simone: ddesimone@eagleton.rutgers.edu; 760.703.0948