Donald Trump's upset win over Hillary Clinton has given us a lot to talk about. So much so that you may have missed the news that a record number of female minorities were elected to the Senate this year. As awesome as that sounds, consider the point Saturday Night Live recently raised about the historical moment.
While America won't be swearing in its first female president come January, Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost sought to celebrate what historical moments the 2016 election did bring us during SNL's post-election episode. After dropping the news that a record-breaking number of minority women had been elected to the Senate, Jost settled in for a short off-camera break as the women's names were listed onscreen. His break was short lived.
You see, the number of minority women set to serve in the Senate next year tops out at four. That's right, the record-breaking number is four. For a nation where African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics made up an estimated 36.5 percent of the population in 2015 that record seems a bit, dare I say, shameful?
What makes the record even more embarrassing is the fact that there has never been more than one female minority senator serving at the same time, according to the Christian Science Monitor. When the 115th Congress takes office next year, Sen. Mazie Hirono (the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate) will be joined by Tammy Duckworth of Illinois (the first Thai-American to serve in the Senate), Kamala Harris of California (the second African-American female to serve in the Senate), and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada (the first Latina to serve in the Senate), thus quadrupling the number of female minorities in the governing body.
Although I'm personally disappointed by how underrepresented women of color are in the Senate, I want to make it clear that these women's election victories are important and should be celebrated. Furthermore, I can only hope there will be hundreds of young minority girls watching these four women take their oath of office next year thinking, "that's going to be me someday." To say we need them is an understatement.
Overall women remain woefully underrepresented in Congress, having made no gains in the 2016 election. During the 114th Congress, 20 women served in the Senate and 84 served in the House. The 115th Congress will see 21 female senators and 83 female representatives to equal roughly 19 percent of Congressional leaders overall. According to the 2015 census, women make up roughly 50.8 percent of the country's total population.
So while it's great to see America's governing body is slowly, at a glacial pace, inching its way toward reflecting the diversity of its people, there's still clearly a long way to, for women of color especially.