If the retirements of Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) had us worried about a decreased female presence in the already women-light Senate, we can now breathe easier. The 113th Congress will have a record-breaking 20 women senators.
The newest female faces of the Senate: Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) [pictured right] and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The five women will be joining: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
While women are gaining ground in politics, the corporate world still lags. Women represent only 14.1 percent of Fortune 500 executive officers, and only 3.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, according to The Catalyst Pyramid of U.S. Women in Business. (Among the companies in Working Mother Media's NAFE Top 50 list, the percentage of female CEOs is 10 percent.) Stack these numbers against the stat that women make up 46.6 percent of the U.S. labor force, and, well, the Senate looks pretty good.
The hope is that the stronger female presence in Congress will help push to the forefront issues important to women and working families (paid parental leave, anyone?). As for any influence on the rise of women in Corporate America, we'll have to keep an eye on that, too.
Do you think the record-breaking number of women in the Senate will affect change for working moms and families, and for the balance of women in top corporate spots? Let us know in the comments below!