The weight of a woman’s word

Newly elected female senators should remain outspoken when they go to Washington.

Daily Editorial Board

This election, voters sent a record number of women to Washington, making the 113th Congress consist of 20 women in the Senate, the most ever seated in U.S. history. As we pause to reflect on a historic election season, one that includes the election of the first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., we also urge newly elected members to carry the excitement of their races into their congressional careers.

On Nov. 6, Americans voted on the direction they wanted to take the country, and it’s a path that includes ever-increasing equality for women. Numerous gaffes concerning rape and abortion from conservative male politicians only helped propel these women — Democrat and Republican alike — to Congress, and we hope the fight doesn’t end there. It is important for these new senators and their constituents to infuse the Senate floor with the passion of their campaigns and to remain uncompromising on issues like health care and pay equity that impact women across the nation.

Development of bipartisan relationships is also important for increased communication and compromise, factors that have been lacking in Congress for the past two years. Women will play a key role in encouraging discussion about controversial social issues, and while fostering bipartisanship is a noble goal, it should not come at the expense of a senator’s silence. Women who have been elected to public office can no longer keep their heads down and hope to forge relationships with their male counterparts by being polite or discreet about the weighty issues they wish to tackle. Strategy is important, but action and outspokenness is what America voted for, and after what we’ve heard during this election cycle, it’s what the women of America deserve.