THE BLOG
02/06/2014 05:48 pm ET Updated Apr 08, 2014

Women Are Getting the Job Done

When Senator Barbara Mikulski first came to the Senate in 1987, it was a pretty lonely place for women. There was only one other female senator, and there wasn't even a women's bathroom near the Senate chamber. Now, just two decades later, there are a record 20 women senators and last year, for the first time in American history, we actually had a traffic jam in the women senators' bathroom!

A small way to measure progress, but progress all the same!

There's been a lot of buzz lately about the number of women in politics -- and with good reason. Not only do we have twenty women in the Senate, but 79 women in the House of Representatives, and scores more running for every level of public office all across the country.

The numbers say a lot about how far we've come. But the impact of women in politics is about so much more than the numbers. Women are focused on getting things done and bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to a political system that's crying out for change.

Just look at everything the women in the Senate have accomplished in just the past few years. The recent budget agreement with House Republicans that eliminated half the sequester cuts and steered us clear of further shutdowns? Those efforts were led in the Senate by Barbara Mikulski and Patty Murray, chairs of the Appropriations and Budget committees. Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, negotiated the bipartisan Farm Bill. Senator Barbara Boxer worked with Republican Senator Jim Inhofe to pass the transportation bill, and the Senate women -- Democrats and Republicans -- worked together to ward off attempts to weaken the Violence Against Women Act. Senator Susan Collins paved the way for a bipartisan group of senators (our group was half women) to find a solution to end last fall's shutdown. Senators Gillibrand and McCaskill took up the challenge to protect women in the military from sexual assault.

And as we head into the new year, we need to move the ball forward on everything from passing comprehensive immigration reform and a strong Farm Bill to strengthening our education system. Among others, minimum wage legislation, the unemployment insurance extension, the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill, flood insurance reform and workforce training should be on the agenda. This year I'm also leading a bipartisan bill to crack down on sex trafficking, and I know my women colleagues will be helping me with this effort.

During a time when Congress is synonymous with gridlock and obstructionism, the women are showing we can move past the partisanship, roll up our sleeves and get things done.

And we're not slowing down. Women aren't sitting back after they win an election. They're leaning in! In fact, 10 out of 24 Senate Committees have a woman as the chair or ranking member. It's truly an inspiration to be a part of such a hard-working and dedicated group of women, and I know my women colleagues feel the same way.

But the battle is not over. As we head into the midterm elections, we need to do everything we can to expand this great group of women. That's where the numbers come in: when I look at everything the women in the Senate have achieved, I want more women to join our ranks. If the past is an indication, when women are given a job to do in Congress, they get it done. That's why I'm chairing the EMILY's List Impact Series, a new program that aims to showcase what an important political force women continue to be, as well as inspire, encourage and empower many more women to join our ranks.

I also know that women aren't just making a difference here in Washington, but in neighborhoods all across the country. In every school, community center, city hall and state capitol, there are women who are making their voices heard and standing up for the people they serve -- women who aren't just demanding change, but finding ways to create it. They are making an impact, and along the way, they're inspiring others to do the same.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D - MN) chairs the Joint Economic Committee on the Senate side and previously chaired the DSCC Women's Senate Network. She will also be heading up the EMILY's List Impact Series starting this year.

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