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Women break barriers in House and Senate

    By Chanel Kawasaki. November 25, 2012 - 4:22 pm

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (left) and Sen. Mazie Hirono. Photo:

It was Ladies Day at the voting booth on Nov. 6, when Hawai‘i elected its first female U.S. Senator and two female U.S. Representatives.

With 61.6 percent of the vote, Mazie Hirono won the U.S. Senate election. From Hawaii’s two congressional districts, Colleen Hanabusa won District 1 with 53.5 percent of the vote, and Tulsi Gabbard won District 2 with 76.8 percent.

The religions and races of these women also made headlines.

Gabbard made history for being the first practicing Hindu to be elected to the U.S. Congress and Hirono by being not only the first Buddhist, but also the first Asian-American.

“Hawaii, again, is serving as a model of diversity by electing ethnic and religious minorities as well as women,” said Serena Hashimoto, who teaches a Sex, Gender, and Communication course at HPU.

Before 1917, there were no women in the U.S. Congress, but now, nearly 100 years later, one out of every five members of Congress is female, a record-breaking number for the U.S.

As the International Business Times reported:

“Twenty women will now serve in the 100-member Senate and at least 81 of the 435 seats in the House will be represented by women. And there are several firsts: A number of congressional districts and Senate seats will now have its first female representative, while the upper chamber is about to welcome its first openly gay female senator.”

With the numbers steadily rising as the years progress, the female representation in Congress successfully breaks records.

The sudden increase is hoped to break the image of a dominantly male government and lead the U.S. into a more diverse, gender-equal future.