Historic Firsts and Achievements for Women in US Election

While Hillary Clinton may not have won the US election, there are some wonderful women who did make history on the day – and we want to celebrate their achievements!

Kamala Harris


Kamala Harris (California’s Attorney General) becomes the first black woman senator since 1999, and the first Indian-American to serve in the Senate. She’s only the second black woman ever to be elected to the US Senate.

Harris was elected California’s Attorney General in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.

There is media speculation that Harris could become a presidential candidate in 2020 running against Donald Trump.


Ilhan Omar


Ilhan Omar became the nation’s first Somali-American legislator, winning a spot in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The 34-year-old moved to the U.S. at the age of 12, after four years living in a Kenyan refugee camp following her escape from the Somali civil war.

She is an experienced policy analyst, progressive DFL activist, coalition builder and community educator. Most recently, she served as the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, where she empowered East African woman to take civic leadership roles in their community.


Kate Brown

Oregon Democrat Kate Brown became the first openly LGBT person to be elected. Gov. Brown is married to a man, but she identifies as a bisexual woman.

Brown won the election against Republican Bud Pierce, Independent Party nominee Cliff Thomason, Libertarian James Foster, and Constitution Party nominee Aaron Donald Auer, receiving 51% of all cast votes in the state.


Catherine Cortez Masto


Catherine Cortez Masto becomes the first Latina Senator in US history, winning in Nevada. She was previously the Nevada Attorney General from 2007-2015 and became well-known for her integrity and leadership on behalf of Nevada families, women, and seniors.

Prior to her service as Attorney General, Catherine worked as an Assistant County Manager for Clark County, Nevada. She also served as a federal criminal prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.


Tammy Duckworth


Tammy Duckworth, a bi-racial double-amputee who lost her legs serving in the Iraq War, wins one of Illinois’ spots in the US Senate.

Following her career as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, Tammy worked as an advocate for Veterans at both the state and federal level.

In 2009, President Obama nominated Tammy to be an Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. There, she headed the department’s effort to end Veteran homelessness and was a leader in initiatives for female Veterans. She also implemented innovative efforts such as creating the Office of Social Media and Online Communications and the Office for Tribal Government Relations.

Tammy was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, where she has been an active voice for Illinois families.


Pramila Jayapal


Pramila Jayapal, an immigrant from India, becomes the first South Asian woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives, winning in Washington state.

Pramila has spent the last twenty years working both internationally and domestically as a leading national advocate for women’s, immigrants’, civil, and human rights. She led one of the largest voter registration efforts in Washington State, helping over 23,000 new Americans to register to vote. In May 2013, Pramila was recognized as a White House “Champion of Change.”

In response to hate crimes and discrimination targeting the Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities following the tragic September 11 terrorist attacks, Jayapal founded Hate Free Zone, which later became OneAmerica and was dedicated to organizing and advocating for many diverse communities of color.

Under her leadership, OneAmerica grew from a one-person volunteer operation in 2001 to the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State ten years later, advocating for local, state, and federal policies that make for stronger communities, including the Dream Act, and helping thousands of immigrants become active and engaged American citizens.